A statement from the U.S. Department of Justice clarifies yesterday's appointment of Robert Storch as the agency's first "Whistleblower Ombudsperson." DOJ Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said, "Whistleblowers play a critical role in uncovering waste. fraud. abuse. and mismanagement and this new position will enable the OIG to continue its leadership as a strong and independent voice within the Department of Justice on whistleblower issues."
According to the press release, the Whistleblower Ombuds will:
- Ensure that whistleblower complaints are reviewed and addressed by the OIG in a prompt and thorough manner;
- Communicate with whistleblowers about the status and resolution by the OIG of those complaints;
- Monitor investigations of retaliation claims that are within the jurisdiction of the OIG; and
- Serve as the OIG liaison to other U.S. agencies with whistleblower responsibilities. such as the Office of Special Counsel. and to nongovernmental whistleblower organizations and advocacy groups.
Horowitz noted that Members of Congress and leading private sector organizations have recognized the important role that an Ombuds can play in dealing with whistleblower issues. "The creation of an ombudsperson position is being recognized as a best practice in this area, and I want the OIG to be at the forefront on these important matters," said Horowitz. (DOJ OIG Press Release.)