RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Whistleblowers have brought down companies, sent people to jail and saved lives.
But, a federal whistleblower can bring about an entirely different category of investigations.
“So there’s a much more strict definition there and that is an employee who’s raising a particular concern about something that’s going wrong in the government agency for which he or she works,” says senior political analyst Mitch Kokai with the Raleigh based John Locke Foundation.
As we’ve seen this week it is a complicated road that an official whistleblower complaint can take before and if it reaches Congress.
One thing that is not complicated is the law to protect a government employee who comes forward. The Intelligence Community Whistleblower Act ensures that.
“That basically stops your supervisor or a boss or someone else within the agency from taking a retaliatory action against you. They can’t fire you they can’t demote you or give you some sort of terrible assignment that would force you to want to get out of the job” says Kokai.
The complainant who alleges incidents involving President Trump and the president of Ukraine is anonymous.
In Thursday’s congressional hearing the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire said he believes the whistleblower acted in good faith but, even he doesn’t know who this person is.
With huge potential ramifications, the question of a whistleblower motivated by partisanship will always be asked.
“But, the vast majority of whistleblower cases involve people who are really stand-up folks who want to make sure that government is doing what it’s supposed to do and not just lining people’s pockets of targeting people out in the public with some action that they don’t deserve. So you need to have whistleblower protection and it’s something regardless of the merits or demerits of this case needs to be part of the government at all levels” said Kokai.
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