Reporting Alleged Mismanagment of Federal Funds
The National Defense Authorization Act, P.L. 112-239 (PDF) (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013 established a four-year pilot program (July 1, 2013 through January 1 2017) for the enhancement of contractor and subcontractor employee protections from reprisal for disclosure of, “information that the employee reasonably believes is evidence of gross mismanagement of a Federal contract or grant, a gross waste of Federal funds, an abuse of authority relating to a Federal contract or grant, a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or a violation of law, rule, or regulation related to a Federal contract (including the competition for or negotiation of a contract) or grant.” 1
(a) Prohibition of Reprisals.
(1) In general: An employee of a contractor, subcontractor, or grantee may not be discharged, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against as a reprisal for disclosing to a person or body described in paragraph (2) information that the employee reasonably believes is evidence of gross mismanagement of a Federal contract or grant, a gross waste of Federal funds, an abuse of authority relating to a Federal contract or grant, a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or a violation of law, rule, or regulation related to a Federal contract (including the competition for or negotiation of a contract) or grant.
Specifically, Section 828(a) of the NDAA, Pilot Program for Enhancement of Contractor Employee Whistleblower Protections, provides that, “An employee of a contractor, subcontractor, or grantee may not be discharged, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against as a reprisal for disclosing the aforementioned types of information to:
(2) Persons and bodies covered: The persons and bodies described in this paragraph are the persons and bodies as follows:
(a) A Member of Congress or a representative of a committee of Congress.
(b) An Inspector General.
(c) The Government Accountability Office.
(d) A Federal employee responsible for contract or grant oversight or management at the relevant agency.
(e) An authorized official of the Department of Justice or other law enforcement agency.
(f) A court or grand jury.
(g) A management official or other employee of the contractor, subcontractor, or grantee who has the responsibility to investigate, discover, or address misconduct.” 2
The pilot program also establishes a new process for review of whistleblower reprisal complaints alleged by employees of contractors, subcontractors, and grantees, “A person who believes that the person has been subjected to a reprisal prohibited by subsection (a) may submit a complaint to the Inspector General of the executive agency involved.” 3
Procedures for submitting fraud, waste, abuse, and whistleblower complaints are generally accessible on agency Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline or Whistleblower Internet sites, such as these:
- Department of Agriculture : http://www.usda.gov/oig/contractorform.htm
- Department of Health and Human Services: https://forms.oig.hhs.gov/hotlineoperations/
- National Institutes of Health: http://oma.od.nih.gov/public/DPI/Pages/default.aspx
- National Science Foundation: http://www.nsf.gov/oig/
In addition to the above, recipients of federal funds must immediately contact the OIG and their program officer when they first suspect that:
- A criminal violation has occurred (see 18 U.S.C. Part I for more information on criminal conduct, such as: criminal fraud, theft or embezzlement, forgery, corruption, bribery, kickbacks, or acceptance of illegal gratuities or extortion.
- Actual or suspected fraud, waste, or abuse has occurred. Fraud occurs when someone uses intentional misrepresentation or misleading omission to receive something of value or to deprive someone, including the government, of something of value. Waste occurs when taxpayers do not receive reasonable value for their money in connection with a government-funded activity due to an inappropriate act or omission by people with control over or access to government resources. Abuse is behavior that is deficient, objectively unreasonable, or improper under the circumstances. Abuse also includes the misuse of authority or position for personal financial gain or the gain of an immediate or close family member or business associate.
For federal funds granted by the Corporation of National and Community Service (CNCS) (including the Social Innovation Fund, AmeriCorps, and AmeriCorps VISTA programs), disclosures can be submitted by:
OIG HOTLINE: 1-800-452-8210
OIG EMAIL: Ombudsman@cncsoig.gov
OIG MAIL: 1201 New York Avenue, N.W. Suite 830, Washington, DC 20525
More information on the Office of Inspector General for the Corporation for National & Community Service can be found here:
If you have questions regarding this process please contact the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) at the Office of Research Integrity and Outreach (ORIO) the contact information for which is:
Ross Hickey, JD, CIP, CPIA
Assistant Provost for Research Integrity
126 Bedford Street
Phone: (207) 780-4340
At any time, a USM community member may have confidential discussions and consultations about concerns with the RIO and will be counseled about appropriate procedures for reporting allegations.
What if I don’t want to be identified?
You have several options for discussing the suspected discrimination, including discussing it anonymously and/or hypothetically.
If you wish to report the information anonymously:
1) one option is to create a new e-mail account, such as Yahoo or Juno, using pseudonyms and e-mailing the RIO directly at Ross.Hickey@maine.edu, or
2) an alternative method is to send us a comment via our website without providing your name or contact information and with the subject “Whistleblower Protections,” or
3) Click here to go to an ORIO secured website to submit comments to RIO.