My 5-10 Year Plan to Defend Federal Whistleblowers
As some of you may know, I am a federal whistleblower and an attorney who focuses on whistleblower issues. I joined the FAA in 2009 and was fired less than a year later in what I allege is retaliation for whistleblowing. The Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal agency that protects whistleblowers, found my allegations to have merit. The case is currently under investigation.
Since that time, I started blogging about this that and the other, raising hell among whistleblowers and advocates for anti-democratic conduct by veal pen NGOs (what Chris Hedges would call the bourgeois liberal betrayal of the people they claim to champion). I wasn’t particularly radicalized before this experience, but this has been my reality. Some of you may have seen this ruckus on fdl. There’s been some quiet progress on that front, primarily because Edward Snowden raised the stakes and clarified the mission for many people. Whatever, this post isn’t about that.
What this is about is my plan going forward. Whether I win my case or not, I’m not going back to the government, as I would always have a bullseye on my back (the bureaucracy never forgets). I started a law practice representing federal whistleblowers. It’s in the early stages but I’m hopeful. My hope is to build the practice to the point that I get both corporate and federal whistleblowers. The corporate whistleblowers would bring in high dollar winnings, which I would then use to bankroll a legal services corp./law school clinic to help the federal employee whistleblowers. The forum for that is the Merit Systems Protection Board (hence my handle), where justice is hard to come by (less than 2-3% of appellants win on the merits each year). My anecdotal view so far is that agencies and the non-independent hearing examiners exploit appellants’ ignorance of the rules. This is where the legal services corp./clinic can come in handy, where for low cost or even free representation, many abuses would be deterred and whistleblowers would get a meaningful day in court. An added benefit is that this would train new generations of employment lawyers who could hit the ground running. Another is that the org would then use all its collective knowledge to reform whistleblower laws in a genuine, inclusive and hard-hitting fashion.
I’ve been here long enough to know that there are different forms of setting up these entities. I would definitely want to practice what I preach and create a truly democratic and horizontal institution. If anyone has any suggestions for books or websites, please let me know where I can seek inspiration.