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President Trump Creates Whistleblower Office at VA

Washington, D.C. – WEBWIRE

Last week President Donald Trump signed an executive order establishing a whistleblower office at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA has been embroiled in controversy since news broke in 2014 that veterans had died while on waiting lists for appointments at the VA Hospital in Phoenix. 

The executive order, “Improving Accountability and Whistleblower Protection,” establishes an office, which will report directly to Secretary David Shulkin, to investigate allegations of misconduct, including whistleblower retaliation.

“With the creation of this office, we are sending a strong message: Those who fail our veterans will be held, for the first time, accountable,” President Trump stated. However, some whistleblower advocates are being cautious. “A great idea -- but it must be made to work,” commented attorney Stephen M. Kohn, who has represented whistleblowers for over thirty years.

Kohn expressed concern that the President has yet to make appointments to two federal agencies critical to the protection of whistleblowers. He explained: 

”The real story will be who Trump appoints to the Office of Special Counsel and the Merit Systems Protection Board.  These are the two existing federal agencies with the legal authority to protect whistleblowers.  The Special Counsel is supposed to be an advocate for whistleblowers.  This has rarely been the case, as Presidents have historically disliked whistleblowers.  

“The MSPB is the legal arm empowered to hear lawsuits filed by whistleblowers, and has the authority to order reinstatement and back pay.  Currently the Board has only one member, and lacks a quorum to take even the paltriest steps to protect whistleblowers. 

”We will know where the Trump administration truly stands on whistleblower protections for federal employees when he makes his appointments to these two critical federal agencies.“

”The whistleblower community should demand that the new VA office, the Special Counsel and the MSPB be led by real champions for whistleblowers -- people who will fight for justice and demand accountability"


 Whistleblower Protection
 Veterans Affairs
 VA Whistleblower
 Whistleblower Office

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