Developments at the GAO: On September 29, 2017, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report concerning the status of Department of Defense (DoD) whistleblower protections for government contractors.
DoD’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) administers three important programs for whistleblower protection. First, under two statutes (10 U.S.C. § 2409 and 41 U.S.C. § 4712), DoD OIG has authority over whistleblower reprisal complaints from employees of DoD contractors and grantees. Second, employees of certain non-appropriated fund DoD entities who fall outside the jurisdiction of the Whistleblower Protection Act complaints system administered by the Office of Special Counsel and the Merit Systems Protection Board file their whistleblower reprisal complaints with DoD OIG under 10 U.S.C. § 1587. Third, DoD OIG has authority over whistleblower reprisal complaints from DoD intelligence employees and over complaints of whistleblower reprisal claims concerning denials of security clearances, under PPD-19 and its related legislation, 50 U.S.C. § 3234.
GAO was asked to assess DoD OIG’s processing of complaints within its jurisdiction. GAO reported that, although DoD OIG had improved timeliness for certain categories of complaints, overall DoD OIG was still failing to meet timeliness goals in these whistleblower programs 83%-84% of the time in FY2013-FY2015. GAO reported that, during the FY2013-FY2015 period, less than 10% of complaints were fully investigated. Overall complaint numbers were increasing, rising over 25% from FY2015 to FY2016. GAO also reported certain instances of DoD OIG declining to investigate complaints in a manner inconsistent with DoD OIG intake policy. GAO also discussed issues in how DoD OIG was conducting oversight of complaints under PPD-19 by other Defense intelligence component IG offices.
If you are a current or former DoD employee, or current or former of a DoD contractor, subcontractor or grantee, and you believe that you are being retaliated against because of protected whistleblowing, please feel free to contact Passman & Kaplan to request an initial consultation.