Resolution Celebrates the Continental Congress’ Historic
Enactment of America’s First Whistleblower Law on July 30, 1778
Washington, D.C. July 29, 2013. Today United States Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced a resolution into the U.S. Senate calling for July 30, 2013 to be celebrated as “National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.” Over one year ago the NWC’s Board of Director’s urged the U.S. government to set aside July 30th in commemoration of America’s first whistleblower protection law, enacted unanimously at the height of the Revolutionary War by the Continental Congress on July 30, 1778.
A copy of the Continental Congress’ enactment, the history behind Congress’ enactment and a copy of the Senate resolution are linked below.
In a statement issued today, NWC Executive Director Stephen M. Kohn stated:
“We strongly commend Republican Senator Chuck Grassley and Democratic Senator Carl Levin for putting partisan differences aside and advocating unanimous approval by the U.S. Senate of ‘National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.’ The Senate Resolution calls attention to the fact that our nation’s Founding Fathers strongly supported whistleblowing, even in time of war, and even when the whistleblower allegations threatened to embarrass high-ranking officials. The action of our Founding Fathers sets a benchmark for evaluating how our current leaders treat whistleblowers.”
On July 30, 1778, after learning that two sailors were subjected to severe retaliation after blowing the whistle on the top ranking naval commander, the Continental Congress enacted American’s first whistleblower protection law, unanimously declaring that it was the “duty” of every person in “service of the United States” and every “inhabitant” of the newly independent nation to report “misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors” to the “Congress or any other proper authority.” In the same resolution the Founding Fathers voted to spend U.S. Treasury funds to ensure that the whistleblowers could obtain legal representation to defend themselves against the retaliation.
The history behind the Founding Fathers’ support of whistleblowers was buried in the records of the Continental Congress for over 200 years, and was only rediscovered as part of the research behind the book, The Whistleblower’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What’s Right and Protecting Yourself (3rd Ed. 2013, Lyons Press).
July 30, 1778 Resolution of the Continental Congress
Whistleblower’s Handbook Chapter describing history behind the 1778 law
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Mary Jane Wilmoth (202) 342-6980, email@example.com or Constance Graves (202) 342-1902