POGO Asks Inspector General of the Department of Defense to Reconsider Ruling in Case Involving KMB Client

The Project on Government Oversight (“POGO”), a nonpartisan independent watchdog that advocates for government reform, has issued a letter asking the Department of Defense – Office of the Inspector General (“DoD IG”) to reconsider a recent ruling in a case involving KMB client, John Edwards.  In January 2014, the DoD IG ruled that Mr. Edwards, a former employee of government contractor SAIC, was not entitled to protection from reprisal for reporting overbilling on a government contract because he did not make disclosures to the proper government official.  Although Mr. Edwards made his reports to a DoD official responsible for managing the contract in question, as well as the official ultimately responsible for management and oversight of the contract, the DoD IG ruled that these officials were not proper recipients of the reports because they were not responsible for contract “oversight.”  The DoD IG was interpreting language found in a federal statute that protects employees of defense contractors from retaliation for reporting wrongdoing on a defense contract to government officials.  Contrary to the DoD IG’s interpretation, the statutory language clearly provides that reports may be made to a DoD employee responsible for “contract oversight or management.”

“There are a lot of employees of DoD contractors who deal on a daily basis with government officials who manage contracts even though technically they are not responsible for contract oversight,” said KMB lawyer, Andrew Schroeder.  “Excluding these officials as proper recipients of whistleblower reports contradicts the plain language of the statute, ignores the realities of the workplace, and will leave many whistleblowers without protection from retaliation.”