National Law Review: Attacks on Ukraine Whistleblower Negatively Affect Federal Employees' Perception of Safety

by Stephen M. Kohn
Original Version Read Here
National Law Review: Attacks on Ukraine Whistleblower Negatively Affect Federal Employees’ Perception of Safety

A bipartisan survey conducted by Government Business Council, the research branch of Government Executive, polled 691 federal government employees on how the impeachment has affected their careers. The results, released in December 2019, reveal that half of the federal employees surveyed feel the discourse surrounding the intelligence community whistleblower who sparked the impeachment proceedings against President Trump has negatively impacted their safety.

In response to the survey, 19 percent of respondents are “much less” likely to report wrongdoing to the appropriate authorities based on President Trump’s attacks on the intelligence community whistleblower. Another 15 percent said they would be “somewhat less” likely to report wrongdoing.

According to Government Executive, one-third of federal employees are concerned about impeachment’s impact on morale.

The rhetoric stemming from reaction to the whistleblower’s formal complaint, and the specific attacks on the whistleblower and the “deep state” are negatively impacting federal workers’ perception of their safety. More than half of the respondents feel that the rhetoric surrounding the whistleblower had either “eroded” or “strongly eroded” public perception of civil service employees.

Whistleblowers are essential to the detection of fraud, corruption, and workplace malfeasance. Protecting whistleblowers and creating a positive culture of safe reporting is key to increasing the number of disclosures made by those who witness crimes in the workplace. The continuous attacks on the intelligence community whistleblower and the affect it has had on federal employees, seen in the survey, is a dangerous development. In order to safeguard our public institutions, we need to protect the number one detector of wrongdoing: the whistleblower.

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