For Immediate Release
GAP Statement on Administrative Review Board Appointments
WASHINGTON - Today, the Government Accountability Project applauds the appointments of two individuals to the Administrative Review Board (ARB), which issues final agency decisions for the Secretary of Labor in whistleblower protection cases.
"Today the free speech rights of corporate whistleblowers have been revived after a nine year coma caused by bureaucratic malpractice," stated GAP Legal Director Tom Devine. "Yesterday, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis appointed gold standard leadership to head the ARB, which has final administrative authority over some two dozen corporate whistleblower protection laws."
The two individuals named, new Chairman Paul Igasaki and Vice Chair Cooper Brown, each have proven track records of lifelong commitments to employee rights. Igasaki earned widespread respect as Vice Chair, Chair, or Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 1994-2002.
Brown is a veteran of the ARB, having previously served on the board. His opinions have consistently challenged activist interpretations that rolled back employee rights. His dissents have been the blueprint for statutory fixes in six whistleblower laws passed since the 2006 elections, and four more pending currently in Congress.
Devine further commented, "With these appointments, the Obama administration has completed the strongest lineup in history for administrative due process enforcement of whistleblower rights at the corporate and government level. These appointments were a necessity for the administrative law process to begin the long road back to legitimacy with corporate whistleblowers. For the last eight years, the ARB has engaged in hostile activism to gut virtually every whistleblower law on the books over which it has authority. Despite corporate corruption scandals since 2002 that nearly caused the next Depression, the ARB only reversed one case of reprisal against whistleblowers acting under the Sarbanes Oxley law. Despite unequivocal statutory language, the Board eliminated accountability for all but a sliver of corporate accounting fraud, and simply canceled the statute for subsidiaries or other corporate shells frequently created to do the dirty work of fraud."
GAP leads a coalition of public interest organizations seeking a comprehensive, consistent corporate whistleblower law to replace the current inadequate, hit-and-miss patchwork of scattered statutes with contradictory provisions.
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The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is a 30-year-old nonprofit public interest group that promotes government and corporate accountability by advancing occupational free speech, defending whistleblowers, and empowering citizen activists. We pursue this mission through our Nuclear Safety, International Reform, Corporate Accountability, Food & Drug Safety, and Federal Employee/National Security programs. GAP is the nation's leading whistleblower protection organization.