250 Good Government Groups, and all OEN Readers Urged to Attend!
“Ending the Dark Ages: Turning on the Lights Together.”
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(Washington, D.C.) – Today more than 40 public interest groups, announced a March 8th – March 11th National Whistleblower Assembly in Washington, D.C., with the theme: “Ending the Dark Ages: Turning on the Lights Together.”
Individual groups that have agreed to co-sponsor the event are the Government Accountability Project (GAP), the International Association of Whistleblowers (IAW), the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) and the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law (UDC-DCSL). Its cornerstone objectives are –
1) matchmaking for solidarity and ongoing working relationships between whistleblowers and the those who should benefit from their dissent, such as NGO’s, investigative journalists and government investigators;
2) lobbying Congress to upgrade its rhetorical commitments for stronger whistleblower protection into reality, from completion of legislation pending nine years to overhaul the Whistleblower Protection Act, to comprehensive corporate rights expanding on five precedents in the last Congress;
3) street law so that whistleblowers learn how to use and act on their rights under new whistleblower laws; and
4) a living history forum where whistleblowers can make a record of why they risked their careers to defend the public, and what happened.
More than 250 citizen organizations have banded together to demand sweeping “best practices” whistleblower rights. This working conference will be the climax of free-speech advocacy in the workplace during the new Administration and new Congress.
In light of the recent economic collapse, an unprecedented breakdown of our civil liberties, and band-aid solutions to real national security threats, the need for honest watchdogs has never been greater. As the public’s eyes and ears, whistleblowers are the human factor that is the Achilles’ heel against bureaucratic corruption sustained by secrecy.
The week's events will highlight and share lessons learned from whistleblowers’ important work. Theme-based workshops will facilitate a constructive dialogue to break the pattern of isolation between NGOs and whistleblowers, covering a diverse range of topics from mortgage fraud, medical fraud, and scientific freedom, to a mentoring program for whistleblowers.
This united front will also help lock-in bi-partisan commitments to hold all public servants accountable. "In an election year, congressional votes represent a very significant breakthrough for whistleblower rights," stated Michael McCray, co-chair of the IAW. "With the exception of a few hold-outs from the Bush White House, everyone agrees that government accountability is a good idea." Legal director Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project, a non-partisan support group coordinating DC-based organizing efforts added, “As the eyewitnesses to reality, whistleblowers are the foundation for any change the public can believe in. This conference will be a foundation for President Obama to act on his campaign pledge of best practice whistleblower rights enforced by full access to court.”
In one of its first official acts, President Obama put his Transition Team’s policy statement on the White House website :