Juvenile Justice Information Exchange: Grassley Demands DOJ Respond to Fraud Allegations

This week, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to respond to whistleblowers’ claims that the agency fraudulently paid millions of dollars in grant money to states that unlawfully incarcerated foster children and other nonviolent “vulnerable minors.” A recent GAP press release detailed whistleblower disclosures by former DOJ criminal investigator Jill Semmerling, who alleged improper funding to Wisconsin and that the DOJ’s Office of Inspector General obstructed an investigation of the misconduct.

Key Quote: In October 2014, the nonprofit, Washington-based Government Accountability Project (GAP) announced that the U.S. Office of Special Counsel  had ordered an investigation into allegations that OJJDP had improperly continued federal funding to Wisconsin in violation of the JJDPA.

Tom Devine, GAP’s legal director and an attorney representing whistleblower Jill Semmerling, told JJIE that young offenders and foster children had been incarcerated with adult inmates in Wisconsin in violation of the JJDPA. Devine also alleged that OJJDP failed to investigate evidence that the state’s records were falsified so it would appear to be in compliance with the law.

USA Today: Justice Demands Equal Treatment – Opposing View

GAP National Security & Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack authored this op-ed discussing the disparity over the government’s use of the Espionage Act against those who allegedly leaked classified information. While national security whistleblowers like GAP clients John Kiriakou and Thomas Drake faced Espionage Act charges after exposing government wrongdoing in the public interest, only now in the case of a high-level official – former CIA director David Petraeus – “has the Justice Department paused before using the ill-fitting law.” Radack explains why Petraeus, who allegedly leaked classified information to his mistress and biographer, shouldn’t receive special treatment.

Key Quote: The Espionage Act has been wielded only against lower-level officials who have exposed government ineptitude, incompetence or illegality, while senior officials who leak classified information on a daily basis get a pass, promotions and book deals.

The bipartisan crowd of Washington insiders calling for leniency for Petraeus is the same group calling for the harshest possible punishment for Edward Snowden, a whistle-blower whose revelations clearly served the public interest. No such claim can be made about Petraeus’ alleged leaks to his biographer.

Related Article: FireDogLake

Bellona: U.S. EPA Proposes Amendments to Oil Dispersant Use as Health Issues In Gulf Worsen

Five years after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the EPA is considering changes to current regulations for dispersant use in oil spill cleanups. GAP’s report, Deadly Dispersants in the Gulf: Are Public Health and Environmental Tragedies the New Norm for Oil Spill Cleanups?, detailed whistleblowers’ accounts of the devastating long-term effects on human and environmental health stemming from BP and the federal government’s widespread use of the dispersant Corexit after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Key Quote: Shanna Devine, the legislative coordinator for the Government Accountability Project (GAP), America’s preeminent whisteblower protection organization, presented grim health figures during the conference call that suggest the proposed EPA changes may be too little to late for the Gulf community’s health.

According to her group’s investigations, 100 percent of BP spill cleanup workers and others affected by the spill that submitted blood samples tested positive for high levels of chemicals found in Corexit and oil.