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Attacks on Ukraine Whistleblower Negatively Affect Federal Employees’ Perception of Safety

A bipartisan survey conducted by Government Business Council, the research branch of Government Executive, polled 691 federal government employees on how the impeachment has affected their careers. The results, released in December 2019, reveal that half of the federal employees surveyed feel the discourse surrounding the intelligence community whistleblower who sparked the impeachment proceedings against President Trump has negatively impacted their safety.

In response to the survey, 19 percent of respondents are “much less” likely to report wrongdoing to the appropriate authorities based on President Trump’s attacks on the intelligence community whistleblower. Another 15 percent said they would be “somewhat less” likely to report wrongdoing.

According to Government Executive, one-third of federal employees are concerned about impeachment’s impact on morale.

The rhetoric stemming from reaction to the whistleblower’s formal complaint, and the specific attacks on the whistleblower and the “deep state” are negatively impacting federal workers’ perception of their safety. More than half of the respondents feel that the rhetoric surrounding the whistleblower had either “eroded” or “strongly eroded” public perception of civil service employees.

Whistleblowers are essential to the detection of fraud, corruption, and workplace malfeasance. Protecting whistleblowers and creating a positive culture of safe reporting is key to increasing the number of disclosures made by those who witness crimes in the workplace. The continuous attacks on the intelligence community whistleblower and the affect it has had on federal employees, seen in the survey, is a dangerous development. In order to safeguard our public institutions, we need to protect the number one detector of wrongdoing: the whistleblower.

Copyright Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, LLP 2020. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 16


About this Author

Stephen Kohn Whistleblower Attorney Kohn & Kohn Law
Founding Partner

Stephen M. Kohn is a partner in the whistleblower law firm Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Whistleblower Center. He has represented whistleblowers since 1984, setting numerous precedents and winning landmark cases on behalf of corporate, government, qui tam, tax fraud and SEC whistleblowers. He was peer-review rated by the National Law Journal as one of the 50-top plaintiff’s lawyers in the United States, the only whistleblower rights lawyer to achieve this distinction.