Make your own free website on

S.Hrg. 100-422 (Subcommittee on Federal Services)(July 20, 1988)

Quick Links
p. 4 p. 404

Id. at p. 4 (Sen. Levin testimony):

However, the OSC itself, the Office of Special Counsel must bear a large measure of responsibility for the current situation, given the role that Congress has assigned to it. For instance, look at the attitude that some Special Counsels have brought to the job. William O'Connor, who held the position for almost 4 years, was reported as warning potential whistleblowers that: "Unless you are in a position to retire or are independently wealthy, don't do it. Don't put your head up because it will get blown off."
The same Mr. O'Connor, the same Special Counsel that we put in charge of protecting whistleblowers, said that he would not file a complaint with the Merit Systems Protection Board unless there was, "a virtual certainty" of success and he constantly emphasized that he had no obligation to individual employees, but rather his sole obligation was to the "merit system." Such statements most assuredly do not instill confidence in employees who are contemplating risking their careers to report Government abuses.
Another explanation for these statistics could be the consistent failure of the OSC to exercise fully its authority to seek stays or corrective action on behalf of employees. Ninety-two percent of complaints received by the OSC receive no in-depth investigation, according to the General Accounting Office just a few years ago. The GAO also reported that 99 percent of complaints the OSC receives of reprisal for whistleblowing are closed without any action being initiated by the OSC.
... The legislation that we have introduced goes a long way towards addressing these problems. S.508 establishes in statute that the OSC's primary role is to protect employees, especially whistleblowers, from prohibited personnel practices. It clarifies that reprisal cannot play any part in a personnel action against employees.

Id. at p. 404 (written answers of Special Counsel Mary Wieseman to Subcommittee questions):

1. On the July 20 NBC Nightly News, you were shown saying that between 2%-3% of whistleblowers who come to OSC receive some assistance. Is that an accurate statement-only 2%-3% of the whistleblowers coming to your office will receive some help?
No. The reference to 2-3% was intended to be a rough estimate of the percentage of incoming complainants alleging reprisal for whistleblowing who, historically, have been found to qualify for protection as whistleblowers. Reliance on the number of incoming complaints alleging reprisal for whistleblowing as a gauge of the number of actual whistleblowers seeking assistance from the OSC is misleading, since the complainant's characterization of his or her complaint is not always accurate and key elements of such an offense may be missing (e.g. a statutorily protected disclosure).