On July 30, 2015, seven United States Senators will come together for the first time to publicly celebrate and recognize our nation’s whistleblowers. Among those being recognized tomorrow – and who will be present in the Senate – is Goodwin Weber PLLC attorney David P. Weber. The celebration, hosted by the National Whistleblower Center, is being held on National Whistleblower Day in commemoration of the Founding Fathers’ passing the first ever whistleblower law on July 30, 1778, as well as the crucial role whistleblowers play in defending our nation from waste, fraud and abuse. The two Keynote Speakers for the event are Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ron Wyden of Oregon, who serve as the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus. Joining them to speak are Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Mark Kirk of Illinois, and Tom Carper of Delaware, also members of the Whistleblower Protection Caucus.
Our revolutionary founders acted swiftly when they learned that two whistleblowers, Richard Marven and Samuel Shaw, had exposed misconduct by the highest-ranking U.S. naval official and were being prosecuted, as a “reward,” in the nascent State of Rhode Island. Marven and Shaw alleged that Commodore Esek Hopkins, the Commander in Chief of the Continental Navy, had ordered the torture of British Prisoners of War. In response to this whistleblowing, Congress voted to spend Continental Congress monies from the brand-new government’s treasury to ensure that the whistleblowers had lawyers to defend them. They additionally voted to release all of the naval records documenting the whistleblowers’ concerns. The accused – Commodore Esek Hopkins – was sacked as Commander of the Continental Navy for misconduct.
The Founding Fathers’ message was clear, and the vote unanimous, when they resolved: “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 to Congress or any other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by any persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge.”
Goodwin Weber PLLC attorney David P. Weber did his duty in 2012, and reported misconduct to Congress and the U.S. Courts about substantial misconduct at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the Bernard L. Madoff and R. Allen Stanford investigations, and national security concerns involving the Russian Federal Security Service and the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army. At the time, Weber was serving as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Assistant Inspector General for Investigations. Like many whistleblowers before him, Weber suffered the immediate punishments rendered to all who raise their hands: smears, leaks, public embarrassment, firing, and the loss of income. Unlike most whistleblowers, however, Weber won. His allegations were repeatedly proven true in 2013 and again in 2014. His name was cleared by another Office of Inspector General in 2012. In 2014, the Obama administration itself admitted that his espionage reports were accurate – and that the stock exchanges were hacked both by the Chinese military and Russian intelligence. In 2013, the courts ordered him reinstated, his record was cleared, and he was paid the third-largest federal employee whistleblower settlement in U.S. government history.
Rather than return to work for the U.S. government, however, Weber decided to stay in private practice, and represent others who try to do the right thing. In addition, Weber has since started teaching at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, at the University of Maryland, College Park. Weber presently serves as a Lecturer in the Accounting and Information Assurance Department, as the Academic Director of Smith’s new graduate certificate programs in fraud, and an Executive Education Fellow in Smith’s Office of Executive Education. In Fall 2015, Weber will be teaching two undergraduate classes in ethics, a graduate class in ethics, and Smith’s first class on fraud in the online MBA program, ranked fourth in the nation.
If you are a federal, state or private employee who needs legal representation – especially if you are trying to report wrongdoing or misconduct – please contact Goodwin Weber PLLC for a free consultation. With attorneys admitted to practice law in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC and New York, we are available to meet with you at a mutually convenient place or time. Our goal is to help Americans tackle honesty without fear.