On March 31, I posted a blog entitled “House Investigation Reveals Commerce IG’s Pattern of Retaliation Against Whistleblowers,” reporting the findings of a two-year investigation by the House Subcommittee on Investigations & Oversight Committee on Science, Space & Technology. The investigation found that Department of Commerce’s Inspector General Todd Zinser and his closest staff had “over a period of many years engaged in efforts to identify and retaliate against whistleblowers in his office.”
On March 26, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, Ranking Member, delivered a floor statement that laid out the findings of the investigation. Subsequently, on March 31, Rep. Johnson sent a letter to President Obama stating, “I am convinced that in order to establish an effective and ethically sound office, a wholesale change in the top leadership of the Commerce Office of Inspector General is critically needed.”
On April 9, the National Whistleblower Center joined together with other whistleblower advocacy groups calling on the President to remove Zinser from his position. In a letter sent to the White House, the National Whistleblower Center, the Project on Government Oversight, and the Government Accountability raised concerns over the serious allegations revealed by Rep. Johnson and the Committee against Zinser.
“Through his actions both before his appointment as IG and since, Mr. Zinser has proven that he is not fit for the position,” the letter said. “IGs are supposed to root out fraud, waste, and abuse—a job they would not be able to do without whistleblowers. If there is anyone in government who should understand the importance of utilizing and protecting whistleblowers, it is an IG. This is why it is particularly worrisome that there have been multiple allegations and investigations of Mr. Zinser’s own retaliation against whistleblowers.”
Rep. Johnson’s Letter to Obama
Rep. Johnson’s full floor statement on Commerce IG Todd Zinser (Starting on page 48)