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Whistleblower Coalition Groups Jointly Call on Senate Committee to Investigate VA Whistleblower Claims

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uropean Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans gives a press conference on the Commission proposal for the protection of whistleblowers at the EU Headquarters in Brussels, on April 23, 2018. File photo: Alexandros Michailidis, Shutter Stock, licensed.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Empower Oversight co-signed a joint letter () with other Make It Safe Coalition (MISC) members to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee expressing support for whistleblowers within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and calling on the committee to investigate the claims made by those whistleblowers.

MISC is a collection of groups that coordinate on whistleblower concerns. The other MISC-member groups that co-signed were the , , , and .

On June 9, 2023 from Empower Oversight and Whistleblowers of America wrote to the committee () and explained the whistleblowers鈥 concerns at length. The whistleblowers detailed privacy concerns with the VA鈥檚 Integrated Workflow Solution (VIEWS) system. Specifically, veterans鈥 and employees鈥 personal information, from their workplace ID to health information were found to be vulnerable, along with confidential whistleblower disclosures.

鈥淭he whistleblowers have raised grave concerns about privacy issues with the VA鈥檚 Integrated Workflow Solution (VIEWS) system, including mishandling veterans鈥 and employees鈥 personally identifiable information (PII), personal health information (PHI), and confidential whistleblower disclosures. This requires immediate attention and remedial action. According to the whistleblowers, the VIEWS system鈥檚 lack of accountability allows supervisors to store and share information about whistleblowers and their disclosures, creating a significant risk to the confidentiality of protected information and potential exposure to retaliation,鈥 the letter said.

鈥淚n light of these allegations, we urge the Committee to thoroughly investigate the whistleblowers鈥 disclosures. Conducting a diligent and impartial investigation is essential both to addressing the alleged vulnerabilities and to sending a strong message that whistleblower disclosures are taken seriously by the Committee. In addition to investigating their information, it is essential that the Committee ensure they are shielded from retaliation鈥攅xactly what these whistleblowers allege the VA has failed to do,鈥 the letter concluded.

A separate coalition of organizations representing more than one million veterans has also written a letter () supporting the whistleblowers and Senator Chuck Grassley鈥檚 efforts to ensure that their concerns are heard.

If you have first-hand information you鈥檇 like to disclose to assist Empower Oversight with these inquiries, please contact us confidentially .

Empower Oversight Whistleblowers & Research () is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to enhancing independent oversight of government and corporate wrongdoing. EMPOWR works to help insiders document and report corruption to the proper authorities while also seeking to hold authorities accountable to act on those reports.

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