Democracy Protection Initiative Helps Whistleblowers Disclose the Truth to Protect the Election
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Public Citizen, the Government Accountability Project and more than 20 other nonpartisan advocacy organizations today announced their partnership in the Democracy Protection Initiative: a coordinated effort to encourage and represent whistleblowers who come forward with information related to interference in the upcoming election.
The Democracy Protection Initiative is designed to support and protect employees who choose to blow the whistle on illegality and abuses of power aimed at both undermining the election and sabotaging the peaceful transition of power if the electorate were to vote for change. Through targeted “Know Your Rights” messaging and pro-bono representation, the Democracy Protection Initiative will enable employees across federal government agencies and state and local election workers – those in the best positions to witness threats to free and fair elections – to blow the whistle on misconduct that threatens the cornerstone of our fragile democracy.
With potential abuses ranging from suppressing intelligence related to foreign interference in elections, politicization of the U.S. Department of Justice, deploying federal law enforcement agents to intimidate voters, interference in mail delivery by the U.S. Postal Service and the spread of disinformation about voter fraud, the threats to election integrity are serious and consequential.
The Government Accountability Project will provide potential whistleblowers with legal advice and pro bono representation to protect employees who exercise their rights to report misconduct and abuses of public trust. With the support of partners, the Democracy Protection Initiative will ensure that information disclosed by whistleblowers makes a difference in strengthening the integrity of the upcoming elections through congressional and media advocacy, disclosures to oversight agencies, FOIA requests, investigations and public awareness.
The Democracy Protection Initiative is anchored by a commitment among partner organizations to work together to support whistleblowers whose information could stop or mitigate threats to this consequential election, the foundation of our democracy. Employees within federal government agencies or state and local election programs who witness wrongdoing related to the manipulation of the election or the undermining of democracy should visit the Democracy Protection Initiative website to learn about their rights and how they can blow the whistle safely and effectively.
Public Citizen President Robert Weissman commented:
“Never has the need for truth-telling been so evident or essential in the fight to protect our democracy. Since our founding nearly 50 years ago, Public Citizen has tirelessly championed for the rights of whistleblowers. We are pleased to partner with Government Accountability Project and other allies to double-down on these efforts and stand ready to protect the heroes who put everything on the line to expose corruption and wrongdoing that threaten our nation’s governance.”
Government Accountability Project Executive Director and CEO Louis Clark commented:
“During this current election season and the expected aftermath, our democracy is imperiled from a multitude of threats both foreign and domestic at the national, state and local levels of government. Whistleblowers are proving to be a valuable, effective and necessary antidote to secret corruption on behalf of all of us citizens who seek assurance that our vote will count, our leaders will not improperly or illegally subvert the agencies of government for political advantage, and there will be an orderly and just transition of power should that be the voting will of the people. In exchange for their courageous public service, whistleblowers deserve protection and the unqualified guarantee that we as a society will address their verified concerns.”
American Constitution Society President Russ Feingold commented:
“ACS is proud to partner with Government Accountability Project on this important initiative and activate our nationwide network of lawyers, law students, and academics to provide potential whistleblowers with legal advice and pro bono representation and ensure the integrity of the upcoming election.”
American Oversight Executive Director Austin Evers commented:
“The last four years have shown that wrongdoing often first comes to light when courageous public servants blow the whistle. With the president actively threatening to undermine the basic tenets of our democracy, it is more important than ever that whistleblowers are heard and protected.”
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Executive Director Noah Bookbinder commented:
“Whistleblowers are critical to meaningful accountability, and therefore to a strong democracy. The Trump administration has taken the politicization of normally nonpartisan government functions to new levels, and we have every reason to believe this pattern is repeating itself in places we don’t yet know about; whistleblowers are more important now than ever to help expose this dangerous politicization. Civil servants stepping up to protect our democracy should know that they can do so safely, and CREW is proud to partner with Government Accountability Project to ensure that they can.”
Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection Executive Director Joshua Geltzer commented:
“The importance of whistleblowers who make use of legal avenues to call attention to government wrongdoing is longstanding in our country’s history and has become even clearer in recent years. ICAP has been proud to stand up for whistleblowers who are, themselves, standing up for the rule of law; and we are proud to join this new partnership to represent whistleblowers and protect the integrity of the 2020 election.”
Protect Democracy Counsel John Langford commented:
“A well-functioning democracy requires the government to be held accountable not just on Election Day, but every day. Civil servants play a key role in monitoring the government and exposing misconduct, corruption, and abuses of power. That’s why it’s critical for civil servants to know their rights and feel secure in coming forward with information that benefits the American people. Those who put themselves at risk to protect our democracy must themselves be protected.”
We The Action President & Executive Director Sarah Baker commented:
“With Election Day less than a month away, we’re seeing unprecedented attacks on the security of the election and the legitimacy of the outcome. These attacks are dangerous, unamerican, and do fundamental damage to our shared democratic values. That’s why our community of more than 13,000 volunteer lawyers will be part of the first line of defense and supporting whistleblowers who come forward. The right to vote — and the integrity of the election itself — is under attack, and it’s more important than ever that every lawyer use their unique skills to defend the election and ensure that every vote counts.”
Other partner organizations include the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Project On Government Oversight, Transparency International, Stand Up Republic, Open the Government, the National Federation of Federal Employees, Michigan Election Reform Alliance, Jobs with Justice, Government Information Watch, Free Speech For People, Defending Rights and Dissent, Campaign for Accountability, International Association of Whistleblowers, RootsAction, Whistleblowers of America, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Revolving Door Project and the Fund for Constitutional Government. The Government Accountability Project is also partnered with the Election Protection Coalition.