Dear Rep. Pelosi, Speaker of the House,

I am very concerned about the growing amount of corruption the American people are having to suffer through particularly the increasing amount during this past decade.  I am including a piece from a blog, which quite nicely expresses the intensity of my feelings on this subject.  This piece is posted at: http://whistleblowersupporter.typepad.com

Please use your leadership to set an example of how to stand up to the wrongdoers and use our system and laws to correct the conditions, which are taking us down. 

Thank you,

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Saturday August 25, 2007
Patterns of Corruption: What you can do!

O.K. So, do we not have laws to prevent a lot of the criminal and corrupt activities going on between corporate and other interests and our government? Yes, the answer is yes. We do have laws. Laws (and policies) that prohibit certain activities, that are or may even appear to be, corrupt, or a conflict of interest. For example, the revolving door between government and industry is a continuing problem, and using it is prohibited, however, rarely it seems is anyone enforcing the law or policies regarding this. [Employees who move from positions of authority back and forth between related branches of government and say, contractors or defense contractors, (usually for personal gain, or to manipulate gain for their corporation, financial or other), not always acting in the best interest of the American government and public are said to be using the revolving door.]

Is it a bad idea to accept gifts or bribes, or pay-offs for services rendered? Especially when you are a policy maker, policy implementer or a federal employee in an oversight agency? Yes, it is a bad idea, and it is corrupt, corrupt, corrupt. There are laws and policies against that type of unethical activity; if those with the authority to act, would act in accordance with the letter and intent of the law, we wouldn’t be where we are now.  Where we are now is with a flood of reports of various kinds of corrupt, unethical, illegal and just plain greedy behaviors that permeate the corporate and governmental world.  It has always been a problem to some degree due to human nature and a percentage of our population; it has grown exponentially in recent years. 

Why is no one holding the line, enforcing the rules? Good question. We have laws, which if enforced, can take care of much of the lawbreaking right now. We have people, who are in positions of trust in the executive branch, legislative branch, and judicial branch of our federal government as well as investigations and enforcement in oversight agencies and federal criminal law enforcement oversight agencies and others, who right now as we speak, know they have the mission and responsibility to do right by our Constitution, laws, and the American people. Some of them are trying to do what is right and are paying, in many cases, heavy penalties for doing so. Others have lost sight of their civic and moral duty to serve. Still others have been lured away by the usual sirens of greed, power, need to belong, or affiliate with the wrong people, or are manipulated into passivity and silence through fear and intimidation.

And is no one outing the wrongdoers? Yes, in fact there are some responsible, loyal and authentically patriotic Americans quite concerned about the wrong they see being done by others, often higher up on the food chain within our government or within their corporation. Some do report, what they see and find as they do their jobs, taking it officially up the prescribed channels as a part of routine inspections, investigations and reports. Some, upon finding something not directly related to his/her job, go out of their way to try to find someone who cares to report it to, someone who might give a rip and do something about it. And these ethical reporters of unethical actions are most often labeled whistleblowers, or it is said they are not “team players” and their careers and lives are ruined. In case it is not clear, corrupt people doing illegal and unethical things do not like someone calling them on it and threatening their little empires.

Why do some people feel compelled to report wrongdoing when they find it?  For some it is their job and they take their job seriously.  For others it is necessary because of their principles.  Someone once called this the choiceless choice that whistleblowers face. For the whistleblower, it is choiceless, as due to their character, they could do no less. These are the people who overcome fear and who refuse to be intimidated and silenced. These people are the heroes of our time.

The list below is from a 2004 Harper’s article. It is not a well-balanced list but shows a variety of things that have been going wrong going back a few years.  I guarantee it has not gotten better since then.  I have posted quite a few “historical” pieces of information on my Whistleblower blogs in order to show the continuing pattern of ugliness. Corruption isn’t new.  But it sure as heck has gotten worse over the past decade.  Some companies and individuals are not even trying very hard any more to do their dirty work in secret.  In some environments it has come out of the closet with the wrongdoers blatantly confident they will be supported from the highest levels of the Pentagon and our government, and this has significantly changed the work environment.   Is it that we can’t do anything about it? No, I do not believe that. It is that few people, particularly those with authority to address the situations head-on, want to inconvenience or cause trouble to themselves for doing so, and it appears the more corrupt the layers get heading toward the top of our government, the worse it gets.

To clean up is going to take more of us paying attention, and being willing to stand up and try to do something about it. Getting Congress to pass workable whistleblower protections is one thing. This bill, S. 274, is on hold in the Senate as we speak. A version of it passed the house months ago. It is currently stuck in the Senate. Your emails and letters are needed to your Senators and others are needed to get the Oklahoma Senator to take it off hold and allow it to come to a vote.  Until this law, or one like it passes both the House and Senate, so called whistleblowers, (more often ethical employees who report wrongdoing as a required part of their job description), will continue to be cannon fodder.

I believe there are many people, corporate/defense contractor employees and federal employees who know of wrongdoing, corruption, etc. There is still a tendency of some to look the other way, to be afraid to report in fear of causing trouble for themselves.  Things are not getting better folks.  Extinction as a behavior modification technique does not work on this type of problem.  It is time to stand up and report what you know. If you cannot do it internally at your work place, or are afraid to do so, please contact organizations that help whistleblowers such as POGO (Project On Government Oversight) and GAP (Government Accountability Project) among others, or if what you know is something related to what the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (Chair Henry Waxman), is already investigating, email or write them. POGO will even accept anonymous reports of corruption from those of you not so courageous. Or do all of the above. Contact addresses: www.pogo.orghttp://whistleblower.org., http://www.house.gov (go to committees and then to Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.)

Do not “go gentle into the good night” ducking and covering and living in fear. It only gets worse if allowed to continue; the bad actors only become bolder. And once you allow yourself to become compromised, and co-opted, you are dead in the water, and if you hold a security clearance, are now set up for blackmail later, or dismissal and loss of your clearance should you decide to try to stand up later. It is a desperate road to allow oneself to start down; resist it.  Stand up and blow that whistle hard, to paraphrase whistleblower, Steven Heller.

Elections are important. Not only do the people we elect have authority (and often power) they can wield in writing and passing laws and implementing policy, they can affect the other branches of government, and as we’ve seen recently, even upset the balance of power, checks and balances, cut the legs off of Justice, and severely put a spin on the work of judges, and through precedents being set, even affect the interpretation and implementation of Constitutional Law now and well into our distant future. Think about what kind of world we want to leave to those that follow us; think hard.

The every day things that American citizens can do are also important. We must pay attention and read and learn as a regular habit. We cannot allow our lives and focus to be taken over in an Orwellian/Bradburyesque way with sports, and “reality” shows, and soap operas taking up our time, co-opting our minds, focus, and initiative.  We must remain alert and we must be willing to speak up and speak out. We must be willing to explain, and teach, and yes, even lobby if it is necessary in order to get a problem addressed. We must be vigilant and not allow ourselves to be buried in the small things of life, which can take our attention away from the big things. We must be resolute and courageous and not listen to those who would fear monger among us, trying to keep us distracted, fearful, and passive.

It will not improve until we do. It will not take all of us. It never takes everyone. That is myth perpetuated by those that do not want us to believe we can do anything, who want to disillusion us before we even start. But it will take a significant number of us committing ourselves to trying to make a difference. And I hope we will do so, because the path already blazed and paved will continue to draw us down if we do not.

I am not a federal or corporate whistleblower myself. My experience in standing up for what is right and in advocating for others comes through my union work in the education field and seeing what has happened to a family member, a federal employee who has been labeled a whistleblower, just for ethically doing his job. But I know other federal and corporate whistleblowers and meet still more all the time, since starting collecting information and sharing information on the topic. I hear from people regularly and I have empathy for their situations and am committed to help them as I can.

I started this blog in order to find and share useful information about whistleblowers and situations, which create whistleblowers, and to encourage others to stand up and to do what is right. If you are a whistleblower, bless you. You have my highest regard. If you are experiencing things, which should lead you to be a whistleblower, please stand up for yourself and others. You will not be alone. There are many others like you who are trying to do the right thing too. And if you are a family member or friend of a person who finds themselves a whistleblower, be there for them. Help them any way you can. Please join me in supporting the countless others who are fighting for the good of all of us.

G.F. Scott
Corruption—Subject of—16 Facts
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Mar
2004 Amount earmarked by the House last December to create an indoor rain forest in Iowa : $50,000,000 Harper’s Index
Source:
Iowa Environmental/Educational Project (Des Moines)
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Mar
2004 Ratio of 2004 Bush campaign donations from Merrill Lynch employees to those from Bechtel employees : 60:1 Harper’s Index
Source:
Center for Responsive Politics (Washington)
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Jun
2004 Minimum U.S. spending on missile defense each year since President Reagan’s 1983 “Star Wars” speech : $2,700,000,000 Harper’s Index
Source:
Office of Sen. Jack Reed (Washington)
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Jun
2004 Number of the ten missile-defense components to be deployed this fall that have been field-tested as a system : 0 Harper’s Index
Source:
General Accounting Office (Washington)/Council for a Livable World (Washington)
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Jun
2004 Estimated value of a painting that the Saudi ambassador has given George W. Bush for his future presidential library : $1,000,000 Harper’s Index
Source:
National Archives & Records Administration (Washington)
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Jun
2004 Value of the solid-gold model of a Saudi fortress on display in his father’s presidential library : $1,000,000 Harper’s Index
Source:
George Bush Presidential Library and Museum (College Station, Tex.)
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Jul
2004 Amount NBC’s parent company, General Electric, stands to earn from Iraq’s reconstruction : $600,000,000 Harper’s Index
Source:
General Electric (Fairfield, Conn.)
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Sep
2004 Minimum number of ex-senior government officials who have worked for a major U.S. defense contractor since 1997 : 176 Harper’s Index
Source:
Project on Government Oversight (Washington)/Harper’s research
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Sep
2004 Chance that one of them was a member of Congress who became a registered lobbyist : 1 in 4 Harper’s Index
Source:
Project on Government Oversight (Washington)/Harper’s research
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Oct
2004 Days a House committee postponed July hearings on antidepressants while its chair considered a pharmaceutical-lobbyist job : 50 Harper’s Index
Source:
Congressman Jim Greenwood’s Office (Washington)
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Oct
2004 Number of the 5 Republicans investigating Rep. Tom DeLay on ethics charges who have taken donations from his PAC : 4 Harper’s Index
Source:
Federal Election Commission (Washington)
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Dec
2004 Revenue generated by Halliburton under CEO Dick Cheney from business deals with Iraq under Saddam Hussein : $30,000,000 Harper’s Index
Source:
Colum Lynch, Washington Post (N.Y.C.)
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Dec
2004 Value of the Halliburton shares owned by New York City’s Fire Department Pension Fund : $3,359,095 Harper’s Index
Source:
Office of the Comptroller (N.Y.C.)
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Dec
2004 Number of companies in which Tom Ridge holds stock that have a contract with the Department of Homeland Security : 7 Harper’s Index
Source:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
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Dec
2004 Ratio of U.S. arms dealers’ campaign contributions made since January 2001 to Democrats to those made to Republicans : 1:2 Harper’s Index
Source:
PoliticalMoneyLine (Washington)
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2005
Jan
2005 Estimated value of a diamond-and-sapphire jewelry set given to Laura Bush in 2003 by the Saudi crown prince : $95,500 Harper’s Index
Source:
U.S. Department of State

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