What an amazing day today actually is! What you say? It’s not my birthday! It’s not the 4th of July! It’s not even National Send your Grandma a Hallmark Card Day! What is today? Today is National Whistleblower Day! I am sure you count the days each year for this fantastic holiday. Ok, maybe I am a bit over the top on the day itself. It isn’t really a national holiday. Let me explain: On July 30, 1778 the American government (at that time is was the Continental Congress) passed the first whistleblower law. The idea of whistleblowers comes from old English kings’ rule, but the Founding Fathers of our great nation knew that there was great value in whistleblowers. They understood that corrupt government officials, greedy corporate suppliers, dishonest service providers, all make up for waste, fraud and abuse. This was true in the time of George Washington, and it is still true today. The government is so big, it can’t protect itself from those who take advantage of it. That, hopefully, is not an abstract concept, because what it really means is that corporations taking advantage of the government are really just stealing your tax dollars!
The first case involved two of the highest ranking Naval officers who were exposed by a whistleblower (called a relator today) for misconduct. Remember, at this time the US government was a loose coalition of states. These Naval officers were prosecuted by the State of Rhode Island. The Rhode Island state government agreed in a vote to provide money from their treasury (remember that money was really tight those days as taxes were so low) to the whistleblowers to ensure these courageous men who disclosed the fraud had money to pay a lawyer to defend them against prosecution by the Naval officers. The legislature also had possession of the navy’s records detailing the fraud, and they agreed to release all those records to the court. In response to this case the first real attempt at a whistleblower law was passed. The message to the public and the military was the same: You have a DUTY to report FRAUD against the government. We cannot have a fair government of the people if the people do not help. Their obligation is the report when the government is the victim of fraud, waste and abuse.
You may say, “Mr. LaBovick, how did you get such a rich historical lesson out of the annuals of the Congressional Record of 1778?” And to that I say,“Thank Stephen Kohn, Esq. the Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center and one of the finest constitutional historian lawyers around.” He labored hours to show that the Founding Fathers had contemplated the need for a Qui Tam/False Claims Act law. From that point forward Senator Charles Grassley took the ball, and on July 30, 2013 the US Senate finally enacted National Whistleblowwer Appreciation Day!
Senate Resolution 202: Designating July 30, 2013 as “National Whistleblower Appreciation Day”
Mr. Grassley (for himself and Mr. Levin) submitted the following resolution, which was considered and agreed to:
Whereas, in 1777, before the passage of the Bill of Rights, 10 sailors and marines blew the whistle on fraud and misconduct harmful to the United States;
Whereas the Founding Fathers unanimously supported the whistleblowers in words and deeds, including releasing government records and providing monetary assistance for reasonable legal expenses necessary to prevent retaliation;
Whereas, on July 30, 1778, in demonstration of their full support for whistleblowers, the members of the Continental Congress unanimously enacted the first whistleblower legislation in the United States that read: “Resolved, That it is the duty of all persons in the service of the United States, as well as all other the inhabitants thereof, to give the earliest information to Congress or other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by any officers or persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge” (legislation of July 30, 1778, reprinted in Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, ed. Government Printing Office (Washington, DC, 1908), 11:732);
Whereas whistleblowers risk their careers, jobs, and reputations by reporting waste, fraud, and abuse to the proper authorities;
Whereas, when providing proper authorities with lawful disclosures, whistleblowers save taxpayers in the United States billions of dollars each year and serve the public interest by ensuring that the United States remains an ethical and safe place; and
Whereas it is the public policy of the United States to encourage, in accordance with Federal law (including the Constitution, rules, and regulations) and consistent with the protection of classified information (including sources and methods of detection), honest and good faith reporting of misconduct, fraud, misdemeanors, and other crimes to the appropriate authority at the earliest time possible:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate–
(1) designates July 30, 2013, as “National Whistleblower Appreciation Day”; and
(2) ensures that the Federal Government implements the intent of the Founding Fathers, as reflected in the legislation enacted on July 30, 1778, by encouraging each executive agency to recognize National Whistleblower Appreciation Day by–(A) informing employees, contractors working on behalf of United States taxpayers, and members of the public about the legal rights of citizens of the United States to blow the whistle; and (B) acknowledging the contributions of whistleblowers to combating waste, fraud, abuse, and violations of laws and regulations in the United States.
So, today I say thank you relators! Thank you whistleblowers! Thank you employment attorneys (especially my referral attorneys!) THANK YOU! We honor your sacrifice and your courage. We are here to fight the war on fraud with you!
If you or a loved one know of fraud, waste or abuse against the government, including tax fraud, Medicare abuse, off-label drug prescriptions, contractor/procurement fraud, student loan fraud from the schools, nursing home fraud against Medicare, or any other whistleblower case, please call us for a free and 100% confidential consultation.
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