National Whistleblower Day commemorates the bold vision of our Founding Fathers and their uncompromising support for whistleblowers.
This year marks the 243rd anniversary of America’s first whistleblower law, passed unanimously on July 30th, 1778 during the height of the American Revolution. The law was passed after ten whistleblowers reported wrongdoing and abuses committed by a superior officer in the Continental Navy.
This is an important moment in American history that should be celebrated. Every year since 2013, the United States Senate has unanimously recognized July 30th as National Whistleblower Appreciation Day in honor of this rich history and the important contributions whistleblowers have made in preserving American democracy and the rule of law. And beginning in 2015, the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) has held an annual celebration on July 30th to honor and celebrate the great contributions of whistleblowers.
Since then, thousands of whistleblowers, advocates, and supporters have celebrated National Whistleblower Day. Whistleblowers such as Sherron Watkins, Toni Savage, Bradley Birkenfeld, Frederic Whitehurst, Jane Turner, Linda Tripp and Aaron Westrick have been joined by leaders from both political parties, who have set aside their differences and celebrated the historic contributions whistleblowers have made over the years.
It is critical that we see this tradition continued and expanded. That’s why this year we’re asking both chambers of Congress and President Biden to permanently designate July 30th as National Whistleblower Day.
This is the single most important action that federal government can take to acknowledge the importance of whistleblowing and change the culture of retaliation against whistleblowers that persists.
“That it is the duty of all persons in the service of the United States, as well as all other inhabitants thereof, to give the earliest information of wrongdoing to Congress or other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by any officers or persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge.”
First U.S. whistleblower law, unanimously passed on July 30, 1778 by the Continental Congress
The Importance of Federal Recognition of National Whistleblower Day
The United States Senate has unanimously recognized July 30th as National Whistleblower Appreciation Day each year since 2013. Their resolution requires:
- Each executive agency to recognize National Whistleblower Day by informing employees, contractors, and members of the public about the legal right of a United States citizen to ‘‘blow the whistle’’
- Each executive agency to acknowledge the contributions of whistleblowers to combating fraud, abuses of authority, threats to the environment and the public health and safety and other violations of law.
It is critical to see this tradition continued and expanded. We should honor the courageous contributions of past whistleblowers and require the top leadership of our federal agencies to educate their employees and the public about the continued need to root out waste, fraud, and abuse.
In addition to asking both chambers of Congress to permanently designate July 30th as National Whistleblower Day, the National Whistleblower Center has asked President Biden to issue an Executive Order acknowledging the occasion.
The National Whistleblower Center also reached out to each executive agency to offer our support with any National Whistleblower Day celebrations, including through the provision of educational resources and digital promotion of events and materials.
In recent years, the Department of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, the Office of the Special Counsel, and the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency have hosted or participated in programming commemorating National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.
We hope to see each agency participate this year. Widespread recognition of the importance of whistleblowing from the federal government could change the culture of retaliation against whistleblowers that persists.
National Whistleblower Day 2021
National Whistleblower Center will again be hosting its annual celebration for National Whistleblower Day on July 30th. This year’s celebration will be an all-day virtual event featuring a wide range of speeches from whistleblowers, policymakers, and advocates as well as a series of panels on pressing whistleblower issues.
Speakers include Senators Grassley, Wyden, Ernst, and Duckworth, along with Representatives Rice and Garamendi. From the federal agencies, Inspectors General Horowitz and Storch will speak as well as Special Counsel Kerner. Former SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson and former Inspector General Michael Atkinson will also feature. Whistleblowers including Jane Turner, Sara Thompson, Kimberly Young-McLear, and Brad Birkenfeld will all participate as well.
The full program for National Whistleblower Day 2021 will be announced soon, but you can RSVP now to guarantee a spot.
Once you RSVP, you’ll be first in line to receive major news on event programming and other exciting news about this year’s event. In the meantime, you can revisit photos and videos from past events here.