Congress is once again calling on whistleblowers for help investigating a federal agency, this time the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Citing safety issues emerging after two crashes of the Boeing 737 MAX airplane, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on Friday put out a call for FAA whistleblowers. They were directed to a new whistleblower webpage set up to collect information.
The move marks the second time in about a month that a member of Congress has called on whistleblowers to come forward. In February, Rep. Maxine Waters issued an open letter to potential whistleblowers at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).The California Democrat asked agency employees who witness waste, fraud, abuse to contact her office.
Anyone thinking about becoming a whistleblower should speak to a whistleblower attorney first, said John Kostyack, director of the National Whistleblower Center
“Given the complex set of laws and procedures governing whistleblowing, and given the risk of retaliation for speaking out, whistleblowers should get assistance with protecting confidentiality and anonymity and potentially receiving financial rewards for assisting law enforcement with addressing wrongdoing and recovering civil and criminal penalties,” Kostyack said.
The transportation committee website allows employees to submit anonymously. The website reads:
“Whistleblowers have identified wasteful spending, mismanagement by government officials and private entities, improved the safety of airlines and other modes of transportation, helped to ensure the integrity of critical projects, and saved lives. If you have information to share regarding concerns about programs, projects, conflicts-of-interest or incidents that fall within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure please contact us.”
So, how can federal employees blow the whistle? Congress wants them to know that the is an option for those who are reluctant to report via inside channels. The FAA already has whistleblower site for both airline employees and for its own employees.
The Office of Audit and Evaluation (AAE) receives and evaluates disclosures from current FAA employees concerning:
- Actions relating to a possible violation of the FAA’s statute (49 U.S.C. subtitle VII) or an FAA regulation or order has been violated;
- Acts or omissions that pose a high level of risk to aviation safety has been committed; and
- Gross misconduct of agency employees involving a matter of aviation safety has been enacted.
All individuals are entitled to contact this office without fear of reprisal. Retaliation against individuals who do so is prohibited and will become a separate matter for investigation by our office.