The Department of Justice’s new Whistleblower Ombudsperson position underscores the federal government’s reliance on whistleblowers who provide critical information and assistance to regulators in fighting fraud. Veteran federal prosecutor Robert Storch will serve as the first Whistleblower Ombudsperson in the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
The Whistleblower Ombudsperson Will be a Voice for Whistleblowers.
The Whistleblower Ombudsperson will focus on training DOJ employees about the protections that are provided to whistleblowers and the importance of the whistleblower’s role. The Whistleblower Ombudsperson will also ensure that claims made by whistleblowers are reviewed promptly and thoroughly and that whistleblowers receive regular communication about their complaints. In addition, the Whistleblower Ombudsperson will serve as a liaison for whistleblowers and various federal agencies, advocacy groups and whistleblower organizations.
The goal, according to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz is that whistleblowers have “a strong and independent voice” inside the Department of Justice. Because whistleblowers play such a crucial role in fighting fraud, the federal government has moved to ensure that interactions with whistleblowers are smooth and fruitful for everyone’s benefit.
The Law has Long Recognized and Rewarded the Contribution of Whistleblowers.
Federal law has long recognized and compensated many whistleblowers for their assistance in going after fraud. The qui tam provision of the False Claims Act allows individual’s to file a lawsuit against the wrongdoers on behalf of the government. The government may or may not intervene in the case, but in either event, the whistleblower is entitled to share in any eventual recovery.