Meet Whistleblowers

There are deep-seated animosities against whistleblowers in both the public and private sectors. Whistleblowers risk their reputations and careers, and sometimes even put their lives in jeopardy when they report wrongdoing. Whistleblowers deserve to be recognized and honored. For this reason, the National Whistleblower Center has made the creation of a permeant National Whistleblower Day one of its priorities.

Here is a list of a few of the whistleblowers who have courageously spoken out about fraud, waste and abuse of power despite the personal risks.

Jane Turner

Turner successful fought her removal, and won a historic victory for all FBI whistleblowers before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit [link].  She challenged her retaliation in federal court, and won a unanimous jury verdict in her favor, obtaining the largest compensatory damage award permitted under the law for federal employees.  Jane […]

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Dr. Frederic Whitehurst

Dr. Frederic Whitehurst is a former FBI scientist who “blew the whistle” on misconduct within the FBI crime lab, resulting in extensive reforms being made. He was America’s first successful FBI whistleblower. His case exposed forensic fraud in the FBI crime lab and subjected it to outside oversight for the first time. In 1997, Kohn, […]

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Harry Barkо

Mr. Barko brought an action alleging National Defense Fraud – violations of the False Claims Act by Halliburton Company and its subcontractors. Halliburton and the other defendants asked the court to dismiss the action against them. On July 8, 2013, the U.S. District Court District of Columbia ruled that Barko “provided a detailed description of […]

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Will Kramer

Will Kramer was an occupational health and safety consultant when he documented deeply disturbing conditions and improper handling of hazardous waste at several plants that recondition industrial plastic containers and steel drums. The plants are owned by a publicly traded multinational corporation, Greif Inc. Kramer reported potential health, safety, environmental and securities violations to government […]

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Bradley Birkenfeld

The award was obtained by attorneys from the law firm of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto after three years of litigation before the IRS Whistleblower Office and recognized Mr. Birkenfeld’s numerous contributions to the public interest. Mr. Birkenfeld was the first international banker to blow the whistle on illegal off shore accounts held in Switzerland by U.S. Citizens. His […]

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James Bobreski

In 1999, he raised concerns about faulty chlorine gas alarms and the unlawful storage of over 100 tons of liquid chlorine. Mr. Bobreski observed that alarms to detect the leakage of chlorine gas had been disabled. Leaks of chlorine gas from debilitated tanker cars and rusty pipes were common, alarms were frequently triggered, so plant […]

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Mary Bozoyan

A veteran math teacher, Mary Bozoyan, publically criticized the principal of William Cullen Bryant High School in Queens, NY in a grade-fixing scandal and was swiftly retaliated against. Bozoyan’s allegations against the principal included illegally changing grades, falsifying records, stealing school funds, covering up sexual affairs between staff and students, and hiding a hazing incident. […]

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Dr. Janet Chandler

Chandler brought a successful False Claims Act lawsuit against Cook County Hospital for forging data and failing to comply with federal human research regulations in a federally funded drug abuse study. As a young attorney President Obama worked on Dr. Chandler’s case. The Supreme Court upheld Dr. Chandler’s lawsuit.

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Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

Dr. Coleman-Adebayo led the charge against racial discrimination and whistleblower retaliation at the Environmental Protection Agency. Her campaign resulted in the passage of the NO-FEAR Act.

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Richard Convertino

He was severely retaliated against and lost his career. In an unprecedented act of vengeance, the DOJ indicted him for obstruction of justice. A jury of his peers found him not guilty on all counts.

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Cynthia Cooper and Sherron Watkins

Cynthia Cooper and Sherron Watkins exposed corporate misconduct in the infamous Enron and WorldCom scandals paving the way for the enactment of the SOX corporate reform law. Sherron Watkins is the Enron vice president who wrote a letter to chairman Kenneth Lay in the summer of 2001 warning him that the company’s methods of accounting […]

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Julia Davis

Specific intelligence alerts designated 4th of July, 2004 as a “Date to Watch” of paramount importance, when Al Qaeda leaders were purportedly planning to penetrate porous U.S./Mexico land borders. Julia detected and reported improperly processed entries of 23 aliens from terrorist countries into the U.S. on 4th of July. Documents retrieved from Bin Laden’s compound […]

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Brian Donlon

Brian Donlon blew the whistle on academic fraud in the Montgomery County Maryland Public School System. The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled on July 12, 2018that public school teachers are not covered under the Maryland Whistleblower Act. Sparked by Donlon’s case the Maryland General Assembly passed the Public School Employee Whistleblower Act  in April of 2017, unfortunately the […]

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Sibel Edmonds

She has been featured on CBS 60 Minutes, CNN, MSNBC, and NPR, and in the New York Times, Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Glamour, and others. Her book, ‘Shooting the Messenger’ co-authored with Professor William Weaver, is forthcoming from Kansas University Press. PEN American Center awarded Ms. Edmonds the 2006 PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award for […]

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Daniel Ellsberg

Ellsberg was charged under the Espionage Act of 1917 along with other charges of theft and conspiracy, carrying a total maximum sentence of 115 years. Due to governmental misconduct and illegal evidence gathering the charges were later dropped. Ellsberg’s disclosures are credited as a major factor in ending the war.

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Vera English

Vera English was a pioneer nuclear whistleblower in the 1980s, whose victory in the U.S. Supreme Court (English v. General Electric) set precedent that permitted whistleblowers to obtain relief under state laws. GE fought Ms. English for over 10 years, pushing her to near bankruptcy. Ms. English told her story in the video “How to Blow […]

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Dr. Jonathan Fishbein

He was fired from his position as Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office for Policy in Clinical Research Operations after exposing misconduct in AIDS drug safety clinical trials. Dr. Fishbein won his whistleblower case and was reinstated setting a national precedent protecting government doctors from retaliation.

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Ernie Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald was illegally fired by President Nixon. Mr. Fitzgerald’s landmark federal whistleblower case resulted in his reinstatement. He was instrumental in the enactment of the Civil Reform Act of 1978 and his disclosures effectually led to the passage of amendments to the False Claims Act in 1986.

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Bunnatine Greenhouse

After a prolonged and highly contentious legal battle, her attorneys forced the Army Corps to fully settle the case, agreeing to provide Ms. Greenhouse full compensation for all of the damages she suffered and agreeing to pay her attorney’s fees and costs. Ms. Greenhouse’s disclosures resulted in major reforms prohibiting no-bid contracts. There has been […]

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Kiki Ikossi

This decision, together with two prior Court of Appeals decisions, Butler v. West and Evano v. Reno, form a trilogy of cases that produce a roadmap that should that should enable federal employees the right to join a federal Whistleblower Protection Act claim together with a Title VII discrimination claim and proceed to federal court on the entire […]

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Paul Jayko

He attempted to investigate the cause of a cancer cluster plaguing the Marion Ohio Public Schools that were built on a former Army toxic waste dump site. Jayko’s responsibilities were gradually removed, he was cut off from information and excluded from meetings, and he received a notice from the personnel department informing him of a […]

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Robert Kobus

However, this all changed because of his protected disclosure in October 2005. The acts of retaliation by the FBI have caused Mr. Kobus and his family to endure over 9 years of humiliation and stress. Mr. Kobus remains steadfast in his mission to seek reforms within the FBI to ensure no other employees are retaliated […]

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Dr. David Lewis

As a senior-level (GS-15) research microbiologist for EPA’s Office of Research & Development, Dr. Lewis used DNA-fingerprinting in the late 1990s to study the effects of global climate change on the breakdown of pesticides by bacteria. This research, which he published in Nature, was awarded EPA’s Science Achievement Award. EPA officials who developed the Agency’s […]

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Marrita Murphy

Marrita Murphy challenged the unfair taxation of compensation and damages awarded to illegally fired whistleblowers.  Although she was initially successful, the court of appeals buckled under pressure from the government and reversed its decision.  The campaign to end unfair taxation continues. Murphy was blacklisted by her industry after blowing the whistle on the NY Air […]

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Joe Macktal

Joe Macktal was a journeyman electrician who worked for Halliburton Brown & Root (HB&R) building the Comanche Peak nuclear plant. After exposing serious safety defects at the plant, lawyers for HB&R coerced Mr. Macktal into signing a settlement agreement that prohibited him from telling the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) about his safety concerns. Macktal complained […]

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William Marcus

Dr. William Marcus was an internationally respected as a Board Certified Toxicologist his testimony was a key factor in numerous toxic tort cases for finding liability of major chemical companies.These companies worked secretly with managers at the EPA to discredit Dr. Marcus. The chemical companies and their supporters within the EPA eventually invented numerous allegations […]

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Michael McCray, Esq. CPA (inactive)

Michael McCray blew the whistle on $40 Million of waste, fraud and abuse during the Clinton Administration at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He subsequently engaged in judicial reform efforts by filing a judicial complaint that contributed to the early of retirement of disgraced Federal District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson (U.S. vs. Microsoft); and he […]

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Robert Ranghelli

Articles related to Ranghelli’s case: Family Asks Fairfax Prosecutor to Investigate Funeral Home ‘I Never Could Have Imagined’ VA funeral home accused of atrocious conditions

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Marcel Reid

Marcel Reid’s whistleblowing forced ACORN to stop misusing public funds and return to their core decentralized mission. Afterwards, she went on to join the National Board of Directors of Pacifica Radio and have Pacifica become the first national media organization to vote to support whistleblowers. Reid also became the first Whistleblower Liaison in Major Media. […]

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Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson reported his employer Bristol-Myers Squibb for illegal marketing drugs which resulted in increased Medicare and Medicaid costs. Richardson, and other whistleblowers, filed qui tam actions against the drug maker. In September of 2007 the Department of Justice announced a settlement in which Bristol-Myers Squibb agreed to pay $515 million to resolve the allegations. […]

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John Roberts

Despite having obtained permission for making these public disclosures, Mr. Roberts was swiftly retaliated against, immediately after the broadcast.  A Department of Justice Office of Inspector General investigation confirmed the illegal retaliation (part 1 and part 2 of the report), and for the first time in FBI history a senior level manager (an Assistant Director) was removed from […]

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Coleen Rowley

Coleen Rowley grew up in a small town in northeast Iowa. She obtained a B.A. degree in French from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa and then attended the College of Law at the University of Iowa. She graduated with honors in 1980 and passed the Iowa Bar Exam that summer. In January of 1981, Ms. […]

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William Sanjour

One of the lead whistleblowers in the Reagan Administration EPA scandals, Mr. Sanjour consistently advocated for public access to environmental information. Mr. Sanjour served in the EPA under four U.S. presidents. Although controversial when it was decided the precedent setting Sanjour decision is now widely accepted and has been cited to favorably by judges such […]

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Dr. Tommie “Toni” Savage

Although Dr. Savage’s performance appraisals over her 20-year career ranked her as an extraordinary performer whose “Integrity” was “beyond reproach,” and after she was recently promoted and awarded the “Director of Contracting Professional Award for Integrity,” her career came crashing down when she blew the whistle on the gross and obvious Ranges Program fraud that […]

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Andrew Scollick

Andrew Scollick blew the whistle on a multi-million dollar scheme to systematically deny service-disabled small business veterans contracts as a result of two contracting firms working in conjunction with two of the largest surety bonding companies, Hanover Insurance Company and Hudson Insurance Company, to obtain Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) set-aside contracts from Veteran Administration […]

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Karen Silkwood

She joined the union and became an activist on behalf of issues of health and safety at the plant as a member of the union’s negotiating team, the first woman to have that position at Kerr-McGee. In November, 1974, she died in a mysterious car accident on the way to provide documentation of safety violations to a New […]

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Linda Tripp

White House whistleblower Linda Tripp successfully challenged the Department of Defense when it illegally released confidential information from her security clearance file. The illegally released file was an act of retaliation for her role in presidential impeachment proceedings. The DOD Office of Inspector General found the leak of information to be illegal. In defense of […]

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Russell Tice

In December 2005, Mr. Tice helped spark a national controversy over claims that the NSA was engaged in unlawful and unconstitutional wiretaps on American citizens. He later admitted that he was one of the sources that were used in the New York Times’ reporting on the wiretap activity in December 2005. Mr. Tice received national […]

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David P. Weber

His allegations were featured in a Rolling Stone Magazine article “SEC Rocked By Lurid Sex-and-Corruption Lawsuit.” A September 2012 report by the U.S. Postal Service’s Inspector General found that Weber’s allegations had merit. In June 2013, the SEC agreed to settle the lawsuit paying Weber 0,000. The SEC also retracted its retaliatory allegations against him to clean […]

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Lieutenant Colonel Darrel Vandeveld

After his resignation, Lt. Col. Vandeveld was ordered by a commission judge to testify as a defense witness in Jawad’s case.  His testimony exposed many of the serious violations occurring at Guantanamo, including abusive interrogations, evidence withheld from the defense, judicial incompetence, and confessions coerced through torture.  Immediately following his testimony, Lt. Col. Vandeveld was […]

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Roger Wensil

Mr. Wensil was fired after blowing the whistle on the illegal sale of drugs and the systemic quality failures taking place at the Savannah River Plant, which provided weapons-grade plutonium for U.S. government. His case exposed the fact that whistleblowers at nuclear plants had no legal protection from retaliation. Mr. Wensil’s case was the impetus […]

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Dr. Aaron Westrick

Dr. Westrick is the subject of a one hour documentary featuring highlights of his case and the scandal behind the sale of faulty Zylon vest. The CBS show “Whistleblower” featuring Dr. Westrick aired Friday, August 17, 2018 and is  online at: https://www.cbs.com/shows/whistleblower/ Whistleblower attorneys Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto represented Dr. Westrick in a False Claims qui tam complaint filed […]

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Sheila White

In 1999 Sheila White challenged her employer, Burlington Northern & Santa Fe (BNSF), a giant in the railway transportation industry, by filing charges of discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace against BNSF in the Western Tennessee. District Court (White v. Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway). The U. S. Supreme Court issued its […]

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Jeffrey Wigand

Dr. Jeffrey Wigand exposed safety problems related to the tobacco industry. In 1995, Dr. Wigand achieved national prominence when he became the tobacco industry’s highest ranking former executive to address public health and smoking issues. He blew the whistle on the industry’s disregard for the public’s health and safety during an interview with 60 MINUTES and during a […]

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