Senator Seeks GAO Review of Whistleblower Protection Agency

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) Committee Chairman, Ron Johnson (R-WI), sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting an in-depth examination of the Office of Special Counsel’s (OSC) procedures and oversight mechanisms.

Following a unanimous vote by HSGAC to approve a second term for Carolyn Lerner as head of the OSC – which is tasked with enforcing whistleblower protections and maintaining the merit system –  Johnson fired off the request.

“With the increase in whistleblower disclosures in recent years, and the passage of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act in 2012, the time is ripe for GAO to examine the process and procedures of the OSC,” Johnson wrote in his letter.

Among his requests, Johnson asked GAO to inspect OSC’s processes for reviewing and referring complaints of prohibited personnel practices in addition to OSC’s success rate with regards to protecting whistleblowers.

Johnson also asked the auditors to look into “whether there are adequate safeguards in place for proper oversight of the OSC.”  

The Inspector General’s office at the National Science Foundation provides independent investigative services for OSC when OSC employees – including all senior executives and political appointees, except the top two agency heads – have complaints about management or are accused of misconduct.

In response, OSC spokesman Nick Schwellenbach said, “We look forward to working with GAO to build on the record-setting accomplishments and positive outcomes for whistleblowers that OSC has obtained over the past several years. Last year, OSC secured 278 favorable actions for whistleblowers and other federal employees – a more than 300 percent increase from the level five years ago. During this same time, our caseload has increased 50 percent. We are working closely with Chairman Johnson on reauthorization legislation that will strengthen OSC’s authorities and further improve our processes.”

Posted in General News

Tags: GAO, Government Accountability Office, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, OSC, Office of Special Counsel, whistleblower




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