Obstruction of Justice By Former DOL Secretary Tom Perez?
|OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program Investigator Calls On US DOL Secretary Alexander Acosta To Investigate Obstruction of Justice By Former DOL Secretary Tom Perez & Others
Dr. Darrell Whitman, (former) Regional Investigator OSHA Region IX
c/o Government Accountability Project
May 30, 2017
R. Alexander Acosta, Secretary United States Department of Labor 200 Constitution Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20210
Dear Secretary Acosta,
As I write on this Memorial Day 2017, it’s been three years since I wrote a letter to your predecessor, Thomas Perez, reporting what I believed was evidence of a culture of corruption in OSHA Region IX. Over the last three years, it has become evident that the corruption extends far beyond OSHA Region IX more generally to OSHA, the Department of Labor, other federal regulatory programs, and the Office of Special Counsel. That letter first led to a purge of all the attorney/investigators in Region IX’s whistleblower protection program, then to a cover- up/obstruction of justice designed to conceal the systemic nature of the corruption, which now has been continued by the OSC as it refuses to act and order an investigation notwithstanding overwhelming evidence and a growing public awareness of the corruption.
The corruption I reported, and my fellow attorney/investigators recognized in OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program, reflects a collapse of the effort to protect nation’s safety, health, and financial security by failing to protect whistleblowers. Among the 100 cases I investigated before I was terminated in May 2015 after publicly disclosing the corruption, were cases involving the mismanagement of a nuclear power plant, the widespread and knowing falsification of asbestos tests, ongoing violations of FAA regulations regarding air safety and aircraft maintenance, serious incidences of workplace bullying, the unsafe transport of explosives over the nation’s highways, and systemic fraud in banking and financial services. These cases were all dismissed by OSHA management in the face of powerful evidence, not only qualifying the whistleblower for protection but also demonstrating the need to initiate regulatory action to protect the public.
There have been real and measurable consequences for OSHA’s failures, reflected most recently with the more than 3 million fraudulent consumer accounts generated by Wells Fargo. In California and elsewhere, Wells Fargo targeted Hispanics with limited language skills and knowledge of banking precisely because they were not likely to recognize and report the fraud. Many Wells Fargo employees came forward to report the fraud, some as early as 2002, and in 2010 my OSHA supervisor order me to close two Wells Fargo cases reporting fraud without an
investigation. More evidence can be found in the recent spike in fatal trucking accidents, caused primarily by poor maintenance and pressure on drivers to ignore safe driving practices. And yet more evidence can be found in the blast at West, Texas, that killed 13 volunteer firemen, the flaming crash of a FedEx truck in Northern California that killed 11 high school students, and the 2000 crash of an Alaska Airlines flight near LAX that killed 80 people. All of these were preventable incidents, and to prevent them we need to hold senior OSHA and DOL bureaucrats accountable for respecting the law and public policy.
Over the last fifteen years, OSHA has found merit ordered corrective action, and reported potential violations to appropriate regulatory agencies in less than two percent of whistleblower cases. In spite of repeated GAO audits, a chorus of complaints from outside observers, and increased funding for OSHA, the results have not materially changed. A similar story could be told about the Office of Special Counsel and the Merit System Protection Board, the two agencies tasked with protecting federal whistleblowers, such as myself. We can respectfully debate public policy and the role of federal regulation, but we can’t ignore law or the policy goals set by Congress when it adopted these laws. Until and unless we reaffirm those principles in the management of government, we can’t expect public support or respect for what we do.
On behalf of myself and a growing number of whistleblowers who have joined together in Whistleblowers United, and on behalf of their families, and the individuals, families and communities adversely affected by OSHA failures, I would respectfully request your support for the current effort to thoroughly investigate and correct these problems. The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is poised to ask members of the Senate and House Whistleblower Caucuses for an investigation, and to intervene with the Office of Special Counsel to end its delays. The breadth and depth of the corruption, and the likelihood laws have been broken, argues an investigation needs to be done by a group authorized to conduct such an investigation. Media coverage of the corruption is expanding and will expand further if the Grand Jury begins to issue indictments, and as GAP’s lobbying effort becomes public. The time to act is now, and we hope we can act together in this critical matter.
(former) Regional Investigator OSHA Region IX
Hon. Donald Trump, President of the United States The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, D.C. 20500
c/o Government Accountability Project
[View the list]