Open Call for a Special Prosecutor to Investigate Corruption in DOL
|Open Call for a Special Prosecutor to Investigate Corruption in the U.S. Department of Labor
by Public Safety Advocate & Department of Labor OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program WPP Whistleblower Darrell Whitman
J. David Cox, President
American Federation of Government Employees AFGE
Dear Brother Cox,
I am a member of AFGE Local 2391. Up to May 2015, I was a union steward and the AFGE representative to the San Francisco Central Labor Council. In May 2015, I was removed from my position as a regional investigator with OSHA’s Region IX Whistleblower Protection Program. For several years, I unsuccessfully attempted to report and gain corrective action for wide-spread corruption in Region IX, which led to: the termination of the previous union steward, abuse of OSHA employees, including discrimination against employees with disabilities, a general disregard of obligations under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, retaliation against American workers who sought assistance from the Whistleblower Protection Program, attacks against myself and four other investigators who objected to this corruption, and the falsification of official documents to hide the corruption.
In May 2014, I sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, copied to my political representatives in California, the Chairs of the House and Senate committees that oversee OSHA, and to the White House. The letter summarized documented evidence of the corruption in Region IX OSHA, and at the end of the letter I asked for a “creditable audit/investigation of OSHA Region IX.” The Secretary’s office refused to respond to the letter and failed to direct me to report the situation to the DOL Inspector General and/or the Office of Special Counsel, which is the standard protocol in these situations. Rather, evidence indicates the Secretary authorized and/or ratified a retaliatory investigation, which led to my removal, the removal of two other highly qualified and experienced investigators, and the resignation of a fourth highly qualified investigator who was disgusted by these developments. By the end of 2015, five of the six Region IX investigators who actively objected to the corruption had been removed or forced out of their jobs.
Following my removal, I was approached and offered legal representation by Tom Divine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project (GAP), who had taken notice of press coverage about the affair. On April 6, 2016, GAP filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel, which is now awaiting action. The complaint was supported by a 217-page sworn affidavit which cited more than 340 exhibits documenting the corruption. For reasons discussed below, Mr. Devine believes that the Office of Special Counsel will be unable to conduct a credible investigation, and after the OSC completes their initial evaluation of the complaint he plans to go to Congress with a request for the appointment of a special prosecutor for this purpose.
The Whistleblower Protection Program represents the most powerful federal programs directed at workplace and public safety and health. With the substantial withdrawal of direct federal action to protect employees and the public, employees have become the nation’s front line defense against safety and health threats under twenty-two statutes. These statutes extend protection to employees in the vast majority of American workplaces, including: air carriers, railroads, nuclear facilities, food and agricultural services, truck and public transportation, pipelines, ocean shipping, and financial services. OSHA’s management of the WBPP has been under scrutiny for many years, prompting two outside audits in 2010, which unfortunately were met by OSHA management with a cover-up rather than a correction of the problems. The corruption represented by this cover up now extends int
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