Tag: Whistleblowers

VA Officials Illegally Accessing Medical Records Of Whistleblowers In Order To Harass And Discredit Them

Shock Testimony: VA Officials Retaliate Against Whistleblowers By Illegally Accessing Their Medical Records – The Blaze

.

.
An official at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel said Monday that Department of Veterans Affairs officials are known to be retaliating against VA whistleblowers by illegally going through their medical records, in an apparent attempt to harass and discredit these whistleblowers.

This surprising testimony from Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner was delivered at a House Veterans Affairs subcommittee hearing, which was called to discuss the problems whistleblowers face when they try to expose the ongoing failure of the VA to provide medical care to veterans.

In Lerner’s prepared testimony, she explained that many VA officials who try to reveal these problems are veterans themselves who are also seeking care at the VA. She said in some cases, VA officials try to retaliate by examining the medical records of these officials, and said this still happens – she called it an “ongoing concern.”

“In several cases, the medical records of whistleblowers have been accessed and information in those records has apparently been used to attempt to discredit the whistleblowers,” she said.

“We will aggressively pursue relief for whistleblowers in these and other cases where the facts and circumstances support corrective action,” she said.

One example of a veteran who believes his medical records were inappropriately accessed is Brandon Coleman, a Marine Corps veteran who sustained injuries to his right foot while he served. Coleman works at the VA system in Phoenix, and told TheBlaze he became a whistleblower after it became clear that someone illegally went into his medical records.

He said after he started publicizing the failures of his own office to properly treat veterans with suicidal tendencies, his own mental health was questioned by his superiors. As of this year, the VA has threatened to reduce his disability rating.

“I feel strongly that this proposal to reduce my benefits is nothing more than an additional retaliation against me because I came forward as a whistleblower,” he wrote in a March letter he gave to TheBlaze.

Coleman also added that his most recent attempts to ask who else might have gone though his medical records have been met with silence from the VA. Coleman has asked Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to look into his case.

The problem of VA officials illegally going into the medical files of their employees is one that has been noted before, but is also one that the VA was supposed to have been on the road to fixing by now. In 2010, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that a VA official was convinced that her superiors illegally went through her medical records, which led to comments at work about her psychological care.

That report found more than 14,000 privacy violations at the Pittsburgh center.

The Monday hearing indicated that the VA’s retaliation against whistleblowers continues, even though these stories have been around for years.

“I reiterate today… that the department has had and continues to have problems ensuring that whistleblower disclosures receive prompt and effective attention, and that whistleblowers themselves are protected from retaliation,” Meghan Flanz, director of the VA’s Office of Accountability Review, told the subcommittee Monday.

Lerner of the OSC said complaints of whistleblower retaliation are on the rise. She said her office hears complaints across the federal government, but said 40 percent of them now come from the VA.

“[T]he number of new whistleblower cases from VA employees remains overwhelming,” she said. “These cases include disclosures to OSC of waste, fraud, abuse, and threats to the health and safety of veterans, and also claims of retaliation for reporting such concerns.”

Both Flanz and Lerner told the committee that it will take a while to change the “culture” of the VA. But lawmakers have routinely dismissed that answer, and have called on VA Secretary Bob McDonald to start holding officials accountable for failing to provide health care service to veterans, or for attempts to retaliate against whistleblowers.

So far, however, McDonald has done little to forcibly remove these officials – just a handful have been fired, and some have been allowed to retire with full benefits.

.

.

Whistleblowers Go On Record Against Obamacare Company That Pays Employees To Do Nothing (Videos)

Whistleblower Goes On Record Against Obamacare Company That Gets $1.2 Billion Taxpayer Dollars To Have Employees Do Nothing – Weasel Zippers

.

.
Update to this story.

The company, Serco, is paid out by the government at least in part based on number of employees they hire, so it is in their interests to hire as many people as they can, who end up doing nothing. Ech employee gets $17/hour, and you have to know that Serco gets much more than that per employee, and meanwhile, we are paying out 1.2 billion dollars for this…

Via WFB:

Sen. Roy Blunt (R., Mo.) expressed concern Wednesday over new claims made by an employee at a Wentzville company in receipt of a massive government contract.

The former employee has alleged that the company she worked for provided no work for employees, instead forcing them to pretend as if they were working for the sake of keeping up appearances.

Paula Bujewski was employed by Cognosante for two months. The company shared the same space as Serco. Cognosante worked with Serco to process healthcare applications. Serco had a $1.2 billion contract.

She shared experience with KMOV, “What I deducted from the time I was there is that somebody has figured out how to make a lot of money off this deal to do nothing.”

Keep reading

.
————————————————————————————————————————–
.

Related video:

.

.

Obama’s Department Of Energy Discriminated Against Veterans, Retaliated Against Whistleblowers

Report: Department Of Energy Discriminated Against Veterans – Washington Free Beacon

A new report from federal watchdogs reveals that discrimination against military veterans at the Energy Department and retaliation against whistleblowers who spoke out about the practice were more widespread than previously believed and could cost taxpayers millions.

.

The report, released Tuesday by DOE’s inspector general, revealed that a top legal official explicitly advised human resources officials at the department’s Bonneville Power Administration on how to disadvantage veterans in its hiring practices.

BPA then attempted to completely remove two employees from the federal service after they questioned the hiring practices.

Problems at BPA are more widespread than just those two instances, according to the IG.

“In short, there was a massive breakdown in procedures, processes, and management attentiveness at several levels of Bonneville’s operation,” the IG found.

The report reinforces criticism of BPA by congressional investigators, who in August held a hearing investigating similar allegations from the department’s IG.

“Today’s report offers shocking new details about the Bonneville Power Administration’s illegal hiring practices that discriminated against veterans and the agency’s culture of intimidation toward whistleblowers,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a statement.

According to the report, a staff attorney at Bonneville “provided guidance that likely facilitated” hiring practices that disadvantaged veterans.

Federal regulations require that veterans receive preferential treatment in federal hiring.

The BPA attorney instructed officials at Bonneville’s human capital management office “to modify the announcement [of a vacant position] so that the veteran would be unlikely to qualify… Bonneville subsequently executed the plan and, as predicted, the veteran did not qualify.”

Bonneville insisted it adjusted its hiring criteria “only for expediency to reduce the candidate pool to manageable levels.”

That explanation, the IG report said, “defied logic.”

Additional reviews of Bonneville hiring practices by DOE and the Office of Personnel Management found that Bonneville had employed “overly restrictive qualifications to improperly eliminate qualified applicants from job consideration,” the IG noted.

“Thus, the case highlighted here may reflect a more extensive problem,” it warned.

DOE deputy general counsel Eric Fygi rejected allegations that the department had instructed whistleblowers not to speak with Issa or his staff about these practices in a letter to Issa before the August hearing.

“Rather, Bonneville was informed that this was a serious matter and that any external questions were to be coordinated with the appropriate headquarters offices,” Fygi wrote.

However, the IG report released this week found that DOE officials “tolerated and/or failed to address what appeared to be a culture of intimidation and mistrust” at Bonneville’s human capital management office.

That finding appears to substantiate allegations by whistleblowers who told Issa that they “fear retaliation.”

“These BPA employees will not speak to the committee because they are afraid of losing their jobs,” Issa told the Washington Free Beacon in a statement at the time.

BPA acting administrator Elliot Mainzer called the IG’s findings in its Tuesday report “deeply troubling.”

“The department and BPA are fully committed to addressing the problems with our human capital management program and providing recourse to the many individuals, including veterans, who were impacted by our flawed hiring practices,” Mainzer said in a statement.

He stressed that he and BPA are committed “to a workplace free of retaliation, particularly against those who raise concerns.”

The report also faulted DOE leadership, which it said did not exercise its proper oversight role and hence allowed illicit hiring practices to continue.

“More aggressive actions on the department’s part could have aided in preventing, or at least detecting, and remediating these problems at Bonneville,” the IG found.

Issa vowed to continue his committee’s investigation into the matter “to ensure that veterans receive the benefits to which they are entitled, and that whistleblowers are not threatened when exposing wrongdoing.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

.

Whistleblowers: University Raising Black Students’ Grades In Order To Raise School’s Standing

Public University Unfairly Raising Grades Of Black Students, Say Three Former Faculty Members – Campus Reform

School administrators at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) are systematically raising the final grades of African-American students, three ex-faculty members told Campus Reform last month.

.

Former Director of Academic Technology Shira Hedgepeth, along with two former professors who spoke to Campus Reform on the condition of anonymity, alleged administrators at the historically black college routinely increase the final grades of African-American students in order to raise the school’s standing.

“Some students had their final grades changed based on their race,” Hedgepeth told Campus Reform on June 6. “That was a common complaint of many of the faculty that I worked with.”

“None of the Caucasian or non-African American students… none of their grades were changed,” she added. “The way the grades fell out, there was no other reason for changing.”

Documents provided to Campus Reform by one of the former faculty members appear to validate these claims. Campus Reform has chosen not to publish the records due to concerns that doing so may violate the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act by revealing the names and grades of students.

According to Hedgepeth, and the two former professors who were granted anonymity because of they feared speaking out may jeopardize their retirement, instructors would submit final grades to the school only to have them later revised upwards by administrators as a way to “take care of their African American students.”

“There is no other motivation,” said Hedgepeth. “If you work on that campus you know it. Everything that was done was to make sure we service the African American students.”

WSSU’s spokesman, Aaron Singleton, however, told Campus Reform that the university had received no complaints.

“I checked throughout our administration and the university has not heard of any of those allegations,” said Singleton. “No one has filed any complaints at the university.”

According to one of the former professors, however, several faculty members have filed numerous complaints which were ignored.

“I have reported everything,” the professor said. “I doubt anything was done.”

“I have tried reaching out to our accrediting body but they would not take complaints such as these,” added Hedgepeth. “We have done everything we can to get somebody to start looking.”

Another former professor, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the practice is ongoing.

“Oh yes, definitely,” said the former professor. “Oh yes, it is still going on.”

The two professors wished to remain anonymous due to fears the school would retaliate against them.

“All the faculty, white and black are very fearful to speak,” said one of the professors. “The department is run by fear and through retaliation. If you speak out you will be retaliated against.”

Hedgepeth was terminated by WSSU in 2011. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has since ruled she was a victim of racial discrimination when she was terminated. She now has two pending lawsuits filed against the school.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

.

Obama State Department Blocking Lawyers From Representing Benghazi Whistleblowers (Audio)

State Dept Blocking Lawyers From Representing Benghazi Whistleblowers – Big Government

According to former US Attorney Joe DiGenova, the State Department is standing in the way of lawyers trying to represent whistleblowers in the ongoing investigation into the events at the US Consolate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.

.

DiGenova appeared with me and co-host Brian Wilson this morning on “Mornings on the Mall” on WMAL-FM in Washington DC.

“The Department of State is refusing to grant clearances to Victoria (Toensing) and other people who want to represent the whistleblowers in an attempt to prevent the testimony,” DiGenova said, referring to the upcoming hearing before Rep. Darrel Issa’s House Oversight Committee.

DiGenova called the stand-off a “constitutional showdown” and added, “Congress is going to win. The administration’s effort to cover up what happened in Benghazi is going to fail.”

Listen to the entire interview here:

.
Click HERE For Rest Of Story

.