Whistleblowing In Washington: A Brief History of Unveiling Truths on Capitol Hill

Cesareo Manansala
November 1, 2023

Where do whistleblowers go to address unethical or illegal activities of great national importance? Before America’s highest governing bodies, of course

Washington, DC has had a long, storied history with the whistleblower. For decades, individuals with burning needs to unveil injustices of great national importance have testified on Capitol Hill. It has become common practice for whistleblowers to meet before America’s most important governing bodies and let their voices be heard to alert the whole world of their causes.

 Here are a few recent significant whistleblower cases that were presented before America’s highest governing bodies, some of which are still ongoing:

Bunnie Greenhouse Blows The Whistle On Billion Dollar Defense Department Contract: Bunnatine “Bunnie” Greenhouse, a former high-ranking Chief Contracting

Officer for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, believed that a major corporation was benefiting from a collection of well-connecting contracts which cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars’ worth of waste, fraud, and abuse following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. The corporation was Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR), a subsidiary of energy giant Halliburton. Greenhouse would testify before Congress, alleging that the Department of Defense was illegally steering contracts to Halliburton to the tune of $7 billion. She filed a mixed lawsuit against the Department of Defense and the Army Corp of Engineers. In July 2011, Greenhouse would agree to a settlement of $970,000. (Whistleblower exposes $7 billion no-bid Defense Department contract)

Facebook Whistleblower Testifies Before Senate Subcommittee: Frances Haugen, a data scientist and former employee of Facebook (now known as Meta), disclosed tens of thousands of the social media giant’s internal documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Wall Street Journal in 2021, leading to the special report known as the “Facebook Papers.”. Haugen would also testify before the United States Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, where she detailed her findings that the Facebook platform was aware of harmful societal impacts, but was turning a blind eye to them and persisted in profit prioritization instead.  (Here are 4 key points from the Facebook whistleblower's testimony on Capitol Hill 

IRS Whistleblowers Against Hunter Biden Criminal Investigation: In 2023, a pair of IRS whistleblowers involved in investigating Hunter Biden’s criminal activities told lawmakers that the Justice Department is stalling the investigation by eroding evidence of alleged tax crimes. (Top IRS official latest witness to dispute allegations from whistleblower on Hunter Biden tax case)

 Of course, not all major whistleblower cases have caught national attention. Typically many have remained within local, regional, and state jurisdictions and were settled there, without having been transferred to Washington:

Colorado Mental Health Hospital Demotion: An administrative law judge with the Colorado State Personnel Board ruling that a manager in the Pueblo-based Colorado Mental Health Hospital violated that state’s whistleblower protection law for demoting a subordinate after reporting a patient’s concerns about a previous incident (Nurse manager at Pueblo mental hospital violated whistleblower act by demoting employee

New Mexico CYFD Whistleblowers Unveil Unethical Message Erasing App: Two workers with the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD) accused the organization of using a special messaging app that can delete crucial messages within 24 hours, an accusation which led to their termination. The two workers - a married couple - filed suit against the CYFD, resulting in the New Mexico state government paying thousands of dollars to the couple per their whistleblowing settlement (State to pay thousands to former CYFD workers in whistleblower settlement

Naturally, we at Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival are not marginalizing these state whistleblower cases. On the contrary: we always applaud these whistleblowers for taking a stand and battling what they considered unjust and immoral practices. 

Speak Truth to Power

You can help give more power and voice to whistleblowers by supporting the Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival. You will be helping to highlight civil and human rights violations across the globe. Call us at (870) 543-0024 or email us at mccray.michael@gmail.com.

Contact us