Whistleblower Week in Washington: Panel on “Scientific Integrity & Individual Conscience”

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CSW Director Rick Piltz will participate on a panel on “Scientific Integrity & Individual Conscience” to help kick off “Whistleblower Week in Washington,” May 14-18, a week of activities designed to promote protections for government and corporate whistleblowers. This is billed as the largest gathering of whistleblowers and related public interest groups in U.S. history.  We invite you to attend the events.

Whistleblower Week in Washington is sponsored by:
Government Accountability Project (GAP)
Union of Concerned Scientists
Make It Safe Coalition

See GAP’s announcement and check the GAP home page for an update.

Our panel (see below for additional events on May 14):
12:30pm – 2:00pm:  Luncheon Panel on Scientific Integrity & Individual Conscience
Russell Senate Office Building Caucus Room, SR 325
1st & C Streets, N.E.
Washington, DC

“Thousands of scientists, including numerous Nobel laureates and senior scientists, who have advised Republican and Democratic presidents dating back fifty years, have signed a statement condemning political interference in science and calling for reforms that restore scientific integrity to federal policy making. This panel will consider the ways corporate, ideological, and political interests have undermined science, and the role of individuals of conscience in standing up for scientific integrity.”

Facilitator: 
Mark Cohen, GAP Food and Drug Safety Director

Panelists: 
Jeffrey Wigand, Tobacco Industry whistleblower, subject of the movie “The Insider”
Susan Wood, former Director, FDA Office of Women’s Health          
Rick Piltz, former Senior Associate, U.S. Climate Change Science Program
Francesca Grifo, Director, Scientific Integrity Program, Union of Concerned Scientists

An RSVP is not required to attend any of the events on Monday, May 14, but we encourage you to contact Adam Miles at (202) 408-0034, ext. 132 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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if you plan to attend, so we can plan accordingly.

Additional events:

10:30am – 11:30am:  Whistleblower Protection Legislation – The Need for Reform
Russell Senate Office Building Caucus Room, SR 325

A series of court rulings since 1994 has made it impossible for whistleblowers to protect themselves when they speak out to protect the public. Last Congress, the Senate unanimously approved legislation that would overturn these hostile decisions and overhaul the broken WPA. This Congress, on March 14, 2007, the House passed H.R. 985, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007. This panel will discuss the need for these reforms and the prospects of enacting them during this Congress.

Facilitator:             
Tom Devine, GAP Legal Director

Keynote:               
Joan Claybrook, President, Public Citizen

Panelists:             
Staff, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of the Federal Workforce
Staff, Office of Representative Todd Platts
Bogdan Dzakovic, Former FAA Red Team leader, aviation security whistleblower
Dr. David Graham, Food and Drug Administration, Vioxx Whistleblower (invited)

11:30am – 12:30pm:  Congressional Oversight of the FBI
Russell Senate Office Building Caucus Room, SR 325

Whistleblowers have long played an important role in Congressional oversight of the FBI. This is increasingly the case after September 11, with frequent breakdowns in communication threatening U.S. national and homeland security. This panel will consider the efforts made by Former Special Agents Rowley and German to break through the institutional walls at the Bureau, and the changes that are still necessary to confront bureaucratic threats to national security.

Facilitator:             
Steve Kohn, President, National Whistleblower Center

Keynote:               
Senator Charles Grassley

Panelists:             
Coleen Rowley, TIME Person of the Year, former FBI Special Agent
Michael German, ACLU, Former FBI Special Agent

2:00pm – 3:00pm: False Claims Act: Successes & Challenges Ahead
Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 342
1st & C Streets, N.E.

Since the False Claims Act (FCA) was amended nearly twenty years ago, whistleblowers have played a pivotal role in returning nearly $20 billion in stolen funds to the U.S. Treasury. The remarkable success of the Act is largely because of the unique public-private partnership established under the Act, which not only encourages whistleblowers to report misconduct, but actually empowers them to investigate and prosecute “fraudfeasors” on behalf of the federal government. States have also taken notice of this success and over thirty of them have either passed their own FCA or are currently considering similar legislation. This panel will highlight the success of state and federal FCAs and will provide a glimpse behind the public-private mechanism driving this success.

Facilitator:             
Joseph E.B. White, Legal Education Director, Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund

Panelists:             
Stephen D. Altman, Stephen D. Altman, PLLC, Washington D.C., former Assistant Director of DOJ Commercial Litigation Branch
Janet Chandler, Ph.D., whistleblower in landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision
Robert L. Vogel, Vogel & Slade, LLP, Washington, D.C., False Claims Act Qui Tam Attorney

3:00pm – 4:00pm: Oversight of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel
Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 342

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) recently announced it is conducting a wide-ranging investigation into possible improper political activity by members of the White House, including Karl Rove.  The investigation is being initiated at the same time that a White House entity, called the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency, is completing its own investigation of Special Counsel Scott Bloch.  This panel will consider the merits of both investigations and discuss what government employees should expect when they turn to OSC after being retaliated against for blowing the whistle. 

Facilitator:             
Adam Miles, GAP Legislative Representative

Panelists:             
Debbie Katz, Katz, Marshal and Banks
Natresha Dawson, Office of Special Counsel (OSC) whistleblower
Gabe Bruno, Former FAA Manager
Beth Daley, Director of Investigations, Project on Government Oversight
Representative from OSC (invited)

5:00pm – 6:00pm: Reception and Book-Signing
The Warehouse Theater
1017 7th Street NW (across from the Convention Center)

Please join us for a reception honoring the achievements of whistleblowers, courtesy of the Debbie Kringle Memorial Fund. Appetizers and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Cocktails may be purchased from the bar. Linda Lewis, Director of Whistleblowers USA, will be hosting a book-signing during this reception. Please see the attached “www book signing flyer” for more information and contacts.

6:00pm – 9:00pm: Screening of “The Insider” featuring Jeff Wigand
The Warehouse Theater
1017 7th Street NW (across from the Convention Center)

Based on a true story, The Insider chronicles the events that led former tobacco executive Jeff Wigand to appear in a “60 Minutes” exposé on cigarette addiction. Jeff Wigand will introduce the film and hold a Q&A session at the film’s conclusion. This event is co-sponsored by the Patient Quality Care Project (PQCP) of the Liberty Coalition.

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