Federal agencies have many employees. Keeping something secret is next to impossible. When something underhand is going on at work, someone usually knows about it. Yet, time and time again, people let wrongdoings continue unchecked.
Why do people not report problems?
Taxpayers such as you fund federal agencies. It figures that it is in your interests to speak up when something improper is happening. Yet, most people do not. They are afraid to. They fear colleagues or superiors may take retaliatory action against them.
The 1989 Whistleblower Protection Act encourages federal employees to speak up. It promises protection if you do so. It covers reporting the following:
- Abusing authority
- Mismanaging or wasting funds
- Breaking rules or laws
- Endangering people
Congress introduced further legislation in 2012 to expand the protection coverage. It also now gives protection to anyone reporting those who censor data to carry out any of the offenses listed above. It increases the penalties against anyone found guilty of retaliating against you because you blew the whistle.
What is in it for me if I report something?
Aside from the fact that you are doing what is right, there may be financial bonuses available. The Qui Tam program offers a percentage of the money recovered if you report fraud.
There will always be people who want to abuse their position, break the rules or gain extra money by illegal means. If no-one is ever willing to speak up and report these things, they will continue and prosper to the detriment of you and other honest citizens. If you have something to report, seek legal advice. Before continuing you need to ensure the law guarantees you whistleblower protection.