Reflections on National Whistleblower Appreciation Day

July 29th, 2020

A silver whistle, reflecting light, rests on the red and white stripes of the American flag. With Covid-19, we are in a new time and a new space for celebrating the role of whistleblowers in our communities, our nation and our world. We have often heard that whistleblowers are critical for preventing the waste, fraud and abuse that limit the effectiveness of government agencies and take money out of taxpayer’s pockets . . . but this year, more than ever, the work of whistleblowers hits closer to home.

All of us are potential victims of a virus that knows no bounds; all of us are potential victims when companies fail to provide personal protective equipment that is actually effective; all of us are deeply impacted by the economic impact of sheltering in place; and all of us suffer when trillions of dollars are improperly spent or go to persons and entities that do not need the money or improperly spend those dollars.

Now, more than ever, every one of us owes a debt to whistleblowers who, in these times, challenge the waste, fraud and abuse that threaten our literal lives, our country, and the very fabric of our existence.

We celebrate the nurses who insist they have the PPE necessary to care for the sick and remain safe at the same time; we celebrate the employees who report to the government when their companies claim PPP money that is designated for businesses truly in need; and we celebrate those who challenge government agencies when they fail to serve their mission in these times of crisis.

The passing of John Lewis reminds us all of the power of those who cause “good trouble.” And—as we celebrate the legacy of John Lewis, and all of those whistleblowers in our midst—let us commit ourselves to supporting those who cause “good trouble” on behalf of the well-being all of us who live in this “one house.”

Susan Coler, Halunen Law, July 30, 2020.