Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a Management Advisory Memorandum to the Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Senior Procurement Executive of the Justice Management Division identifying concerns with DOJ’s compliance with laws, regulations, and established internal policies regarding whistleblower rights and protections for contract workers supporting justice programs.
This memorandum arises out of concerns identified in DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigations and audits of various contracts administered by multiple DOJ components. Several OIG audits and investigations have noted that contracting officers neither included mandatory contract clauses regarding whistleblower rights and reprisal protections nor verified whether contractors informed their workers of such content as required. We also identified a contractor that required its workers to sign nondisclosure agreements (NDA) that did not mention protected disclosures of wrongdoing.
We believe the issues we identified regarding DOJ contractor whistleblower protections are systemic and should be handled comprehensively by DOJ leadership. Considering the critical role that whistleblowers play in helping our government to remain efficient and accountable, and to ensure appropriate stewardship of taxpayer dollars, we believe that the Department should make a more concerted effort to address these issues.
The DOJ OIG made two recommendations to assist DOJ in addressing these issues. In its response to the memorandum, DOJ stated the actions it has taken and will implement in response to our concerns.