Founded in 1977, The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization. Located in Washington, D.C., GAP is a nonpartisan, public interest group. In addition to focusing on whistleblower support in our stated program areas, they lead campaigns to enact whistleblower protection laws both domestically and internationally. GAP also conducts an accredited legal clinic for law students, and offers an internship program year-round.
According to the GAP website, every year, thousands of Americans witness wrongdoing on the job. These workers discover waste, fraud, abuse or malfeasance that could jeopardize the lives of others, or well-being of the public.
Most employees remain silent, typically out of fear of losing their positions. Others choose to risk their professional (and personal) well-being and come forward with the truth. They seek to make a difference by “blowing the whistle” on unethical conduct in the workplace.
By definition, a whistleblower is an employee who discloses information that s/he reasonably believes is evidence of illegality, gross waste or fraud, mismanagement, abuse of power, general wrongdoing, or a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety. Typically, whistleblowers speak out to parties that can influence and rectify the situation. These parties include the media, organizational managers, hotlines, or Congressional members/staff, to name a few.
GAP has been established to help people that are found left in this very delicate situation. And their mission is to promote corporate and government accountability by protecting whistleblowers, advancing occupational free speech, and empowering citizen activists.
They have several different programs and focus areas that they work on, such as Environment, Food Integrity, Government Employees, National Security & Human Rights, International Reform, Legislation, Litigation, Public Health, and Corporate & Financial Accountability.
GAP’s Corporate & Financial Accountability program aims to hold businesses accountable by defending whistleblowers from within companies, publicizing wrongdoing and threats to the public welfare, and advocating for the reform of organization policies and legal protections.
One key and landmark protection for corporate whistleblowers was the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, passed in the wake of the Enron scandal. GAP played a paramount role in the bill’s whistleblower protection provisions. The groundbreaking law provides at-will private sector employees whistleblower protection for disclosing malfeasance that materially affects the stock price of publicly traded companies.
GAP’s Financial Accountability work, an emerging program over the past year, is divided into two areas – international and national. This international work focuses primarily on corruption and wrongdoing that has taken place outside the United States, but that the U.S. itself was not heavily involved in.
GAP’s national financial work focuses on monitoring general regulations and casework in the American financial sector which illustrates whistleblower protection reform needs to take place. Typically, this involves an American financial agency in some way. One example of this is GAP’s work with coalition members to advocate that the Department of Justice sent the wrong message by only convicting the financial whistleblower who exposed massive tax-fraud by thousands of Americans using Swiss bank accounts.
GAP is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with an operating budget of around $2.5 million. Gifts to GAP are tax-deductible.