The International Association of Whistleblowers (IAW) and 40 national and international coalitions of good government, open government, and civil rights advocates as well as hundreds of individual whistleblowers from across the globe announce an assembly at the Washington DC Capitol to be held May 11-18, 2008.
The week's events are designed to highlight the important work of whistleblowers - 'truth-tellers' - who seek protections for people risking their lives and/or careers to expose those who abuse the public trust. Public interest watchdog coalitions view the week as an opportunity to build on the momentum created after the Senate approved S. 274, legislation to restore and strengthen the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) for federal government workers, and obtain bipartisan support and ultimately the adoption of Senate Bill 2041, the False Claims Act Corrections Act of 2007. Congressional passage of more than ten other bills that would serve to protect truth-tellers are pending in Congress.
'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 in the White House, everyone agrees that government accountability is a good idea.'
'We have not seen the promised land yet,' added Dr. James Murtagh, IAW co-chair. 'Every truth-teller in the nation must be protected- both in the private and public sectors. We must protect the public interest, especially when health, safety, environment, and democracy itself are at stake.'
Tom Devine, Legal director of the Government Accountability Project (GAP), will be joined by James Holzrichter and Dr. Janet Chandler, the whistleblowers of the year. Mr. Holzrichter, who won one of the most important cases ever against a defense contractor, stated 'A Whistleblower is not who I am it is what I did, who and what I am is First a husband, then a father, a grandfather and finally a man who has had the opportunity to meet and work with some remarkable people of integrity during my journey to get here.' Dr. Janet Chandler (a Supreme Court Victor) agreed: 'I believe that we as individuals and citizens can raise questions, voice concerns, step forward, create a conscience and make a difference.'
IAW advisor Jeffrey Wigand (aka 'The Insider') noted: 'Whistle blowers emerge from all corporate entities as a direct result of the categorical imperative and virtue ethics, making a commitment to do whatever it takes to protect each individual and each citizen in a democracy.'
'Whistleblowing is patriotic, and the people demand protection. This must be the critical issue of this election year' declared IAW secretary Betsy Combier. 'We need clean hands in medicine,' and as Martin Luther King said: 'Of all the forms of injustice, discrimination in health care is the most cruel.' Kevin McDonough added: 'The benefits to the US Treasury and Tax Payers far exceeds the cost of having to listen to the warnings of Whistle Blowers.'
When in private practice as a young lawyer, Barack Obama represented Dr. Janet Chandler, contributing to her pivotal supreme court whistleblower victory. The IAW has invited the presidential candidates to attend so that all three candidate may make clear whether they support protections for truth-tellers.
Speakers from last year's event included Steven Kohn of the National Whistleblower Center (NWBC), Joan Claybrook of Public Citizen, Reverend Walter Fauntroy, former congressman and Chairman of the No FEAR Institute. Senator Grassley was awarded a lifetime achievement award. Mr. Devine and Mr. Wigand jointly testified before Congressional chairwoman Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), and the House Subcommittee on Workforce.
On Monday May 12, 2008, the International Assembly of Whistleblowers will launch a series of panels beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the Senate office building. During the week, speakers include some of the best known whistleblowers in US history, including John Schillng, (one of the winners of the 1.7 Billion dollar Qui Tam suit against Hospital Corporation of America, HCA). Michael Behn, famed TAF attorney of the year, will be a key note speaker. Chairing panels are medical doctors who have stood up for integrity and for quality patient care; civil rights activist Matthew Fogg; Judicial reform activist Zena Crenshaw; and many well-known others.
Sessions will be open to the public. Jeff Condit, director of the VA Whistleblower Coalition (VA-WBC) is hosting a booksigning and reception on Monday, May 12 at The Warehouse Theater 1017 7th Street NW (across from the Convention Center), and will feature entertainment by the guitar duo, David Johnson and Kevin McDonough, 'The Senior Lifeguards.' Other events open to the public include a Whistleblower Movie night, an Open Mike night, and a gala Integrity reception. Dr. Don Soeken, expert witness on more than 80 whistleblower cases, will host a retreat and other events.
The agenda is posted at:
We urge the public, the media, and Congress to support these important events.