Empower Wisconsin | Dec. 2, 2019
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — A federal whistleblower who was retaliated against for bringing agency abuses to light says the intelligence official at the center of the politically driven impeachment campaign against President Trump has made a mockery of government employees who have stood up to do the right thing.
The Social Security Administration official, who asked not to be identified because of a nondisclosure agreement she signed in her settlement, blew the whistle on a “culture of corruption and cover-up” in the system.
In the misconduct case, a federal official was accused of sexual harassment and making racially disparaging comments about claimants. Other managers in the office were found to have committed time and attendance abuses, violated laws and regulations and created an environment that encouraged misconduct.
Multiple whistleblowers in that case were threatened with discipline, up to being fired, for speaking to the press and even reaching out for assistance from U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh).
The whistleblower behind the Democrats’ impeachment drive complained that Trump acted illegally in his conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky about U.S. aide. According to a transcript of the call, the president asked Zelensky to look into the questionable activity of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter among other reports of corruption. Democrats and some Deep State officials accuse Trump of tying aide to Ukraine officials investigating the president’s political rival.
Democrats have insisted Trump’s accuser’s identity must be protected, but most in official Washington, D.C. know the “whistleblower” is CIA officer and former National Security Council Ukraine director Eric Ciaramella. His name has been reported by several news organizations and he apparently was outed in documents from closed-door meetings.
While his backers have described him as an “apolitical” public servant, Ciaramella has been criticized for his “radical political behavior.” RealClearInvestigations reported Ciaramella, a registered Democrat, worked with a Democratic National Committee opposition researcher who dug up dirt on the Trump campaign during 2016.
Sen. Johnson, chairman of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has pushed for more protections for federal whistleblowers. But the Republican, who has defended the president in the political “witch-hunt,” has said not all whistleblowers are created equal.
The Social Security Administration whistleblower who spoke with Empower Wisconsin said she agrees with the senator in the case of Ciaramella.
“Some are in it for personal gain. Some are in it to do the right thing. I don’t think the ones in Washington right now are doing the right thing,” she said.
The whistleblower said she doesn’t know how her case would have turned out if Johnson had not stepped in to help.
She said she, unlike the CIA whistleblower, went through her chain of command in reporting abuse allegations — from her office supervisor to the regional supervisor to the inspector general.
“Why wouldn’t you go to your supervisor or inspector general first? That’s what I did,” the SSA whistleblower said.
Politicizing the whistleblower process is diminishing the concept of justice, she said.
“They are making a mockery of the people that are actually trying to do the right thing. Shame on them,” she said.