Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy,
Crime & Law,
Government & Public Administration,
Mission: The government accountability project (gap) is a 40-year-old non-profit public interest organization that promotes government and corporate accountability by advancing occupational free speech, defending whistleblowers, and empowering citizen activists. Gap is the nation's leading whistleblower protection organization.
Programs: Gap's food integrity campaign (fic) continued to empower food integrity whistleblowers and citizen activists, as well as protect the rights of those who speak out against inhumane handling and practices that compromise food integrity. Fic continued its campaign against the usdas controversial pilot "himp" program to increase line speeds and reduce federal meat inspectors at pork processing plants. With the assistance of usda meat inspector whistleblowers and their affidavits, we exposed that himp poses significant threats to the environment, places public health at risk, adds to the suffering of animals, and threatens the safety of workers who are already routinely exploited. We also produced two petitions with change. Org and moveon. Org attacking the program. Both petitions were delivered to the office of management and budget (omb) and acquired nearly 100,000 signatures. The petitions fought proposed "himp" pork regulations, while educating the public and raising awareness about himp. Gap advanced our investigative efforts by continuing to conduct on-sight and in-person interviews with usda meat inspectors from around the country. We expanded our services to people in communities particularly affected by factory farm waste. This evolution further advanced our mission to enhance truth-telling in agriculture and protect those who tell the truth -- including both farmers and community members. Fic continued to reach out to the poultry farmer community to provide legal assistance to farmers. We networked with farmers to raise awareness about our efforts and made our services available to those who needed them. As a result of these strategic outreach efforts, we added a number of clients who we represent. Our fic investigative team uncovered massive corruption at a major turkey plant. In this case we monitored meat inspector complaints about the massive use of anti-microbial chemicals, including peracetic acid. In 2017, fic attended the north carolina environmental justice network summit, which showcased rural carolina community members whose lives have been ravaged by industrial agriculture. We met with community leaders, listened to their concerns, and offered ways in which we could help, including providing legal and advocacy services. In 2012, an "ag-gag" law was passed that prohibited unauthorized video and photos inside agricultural operations and became the first legally challenged ag-gag law in the nation. Fic submitted an amicus brief challenging the laws potential effect on agricultural whistleblowing. We argued federal legislation has deemed whistleblowing invaluable vis vis both recent (sarbanes oxley and fsma) and long-held statutes (false claims act). In july 2017, a federal judge held that utahs law was unconstitutional and violated the first amendment. Gap's food integrity campaign was regularly quoted in print and online outlets, such as the washington post and mother jones, and had regular appearances on prominent radio shows including npr and other influential outlets. In 2017, gap continued to regularly receive and assess cases for representation that could bring transparency and accountability to government, corporations, and other institutions. Throughout 2017, we continued to represent whistleblowers from the financial crash of 2008 on their sec claims and in depositions on investor suits. We continued our investigation of cases on behalf of whistleblowers at wells fargo, j. P. Morgan and deutsche bank, as well as investigated issues related to bank fraud and investment securities. We continued to report to the media and documentarians about the failure of the department of justice to prosecute banks and their executives for bank fraud and misrepresentations to investors on questionable securities. Gap undertook the fiscal sponsorship of bank whistleblowers united (bwu). Bwu is comprised of prominent wall street whistleblowers who identified high-level wrongdoing by the nations largest financial institutions and the federal government. Bwu specializes in developing strategic actions to curb the financial sectors corrupting influence on politics and government regulators, as well as provide a detailed methodology to restore the rule of law to wall street, and end "too big to fail".
2016 had been a year of strategic positioning for gap's climate science & policy watch (cspw) program after the death of former climate science watch director and george w. Bush administration climate change whistleblower rick piltz. So, in 2017 we advanced this strategic position and had a significant impact through our fight against the climate change denial machine across multiple strategic fronts. As a result of these efforts -- and in particular via the posting of over 40 research intensive features investigating and exposing what exxon knew and when, and our continuing "notes from underground" investigative series examining the dangers of fossil fuel extraction processes -- the cspw blog is now once again a leading resource for a broad and growing domestic and global audience, attracting approximately 30,000 unique visitors per month, including: reporters' government officials, congressional offices, scientists, educators, activists, and others both nationally and internationally. In february 2017, cspw launched our latest white paper, entitled: promoting and sustaining the national climate assessment after a period of suppression and political influence: a cautionary tale. We prepared our extensive analysis of the george w. Bush administrations systemic corruption of climate science research through intimidation, public relations manipulations, and science results editing as a warning and exhortation for government employees and contractors not to give climate change deniers free reign to again lie to the public and create opportunities to craft public policy in favor of fossil fuel interests. The paper was simultaneously exclusively released in the washington post and featured on our cspw blog. Gap continued our investigation into exxonmobil through the review of all of the 10-k forms the company has submitted to the sec from 1993 (the furthest back these forms are publically available) to the present, in an effort to better understand how the oil giant has addressed the climate change threat. Throughout the year, cspw continued to provide the narrative on this effort; the posts were compiled into a white paper, which is projected for publication and release by the end of 2018. Cspw's investigative team continued to identify and interview experts and scientists who may be aware of oil and coal industry efforts to intimidate them into silence, misconstrue their findings or bury their research results. Gap continued our investigation into the devastating long-term effects on human health and the gulf of mexico ecosystem stemming from the widespread use of the dispersant corexit in response to the 2010 bp deepwater horizon oil spill. Over 40 whistleblowers have now come forward to gap disclosing disturbing environmental and public health threats in the gulf region.
gap continued raising critical international concerns involving asylum, whistleblower witness protection, and the creation of a public interest defense through our work with the whistleblowing international network (win), which gap helped establish in 2014. Gap continued to represent a former senior human rights officer at the un office of high commissioner for human rights (ohchr). She suffered retaliation for courageously supporting another gap client when he faced a retaliatory investigation and possible dismissal for reporting to french law enforcement about the sexual abuse of boys by united nations (un) peacekeepers in africa. Gap continued our work with whistleblowers from ohchr studying the environments where serious human rights abuses are occurring. We interviewed over 40 whistleblowers and witnesses to atrocities in multiple countries. Our report provided information and recommendations on the best methods for engaging potential sources of information, the types of assistance most needed to protect sources, and steps to be taken as effective responses to disclosures of impending abuses. Gaps work through the getulio p carvalho fellowship has produced academic papers about whistleblowers and racial discrimination at international organizations, a handbook for whistleblower protection at these same organizations, case studies of retaliation against un human rights whistleblowers and an in-depth accounting of corruption schemes involving a repressive regime and energy production. Gaps 2017 carvalho fellow, emily holland, presented her anti-corruption/whistleblower protection research at the american political science association in san francisco in september 2017. Ms. Hollands research will be published in 2018. Gaps international experts presented at multiple noteworthy international conferences, including: the smarter crowdsourcing anti-corruption conference for the mexican government; the cambridge international symposium on economic crime; public service internationals conference in geneva; and the whistleblower international research conference in norway. Gaps international experts conducted trainings for prosecutors, judges, and other government officials. These trainings included, but were not limited to: the serbian supreme court and the ministry of interior; indonesias office of inspector general offices; and macedonias ministry of interior. In 2017, gaps international experts also consulted with governments and ngos on whistleblower law, policy and best practices. These consultations included work with the following organizations: transparency international ukraine; the south korea anti-corruption commission; ngos and the media in macedonia.