Federal Employees and Employees of Government Contractors
FHFA-OIG often depends on individuals, among other things, to provide information, to confirm information, and to report wrongdoing. Accordingly, the Inspector General Act of 1978 requires FHFA-OIG to provide confidentiality to all Federal employees who make complaints or provide information to FHFA-OIG. FHFA-OIG will not disclose the identity of such employees without their consent, unless the Inspector General determines that such disclosure is unavoidable during the course of the investigation.
The Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman
Who is a whistleblower? A whistleblower is an individual or contractor who believes his or her organization is engaged in or willfully permits unethical or unlawful activities and reports that information. The newly enacted Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) provides protection rights to Federal employees and contractors. Under the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA), Federal employees and contractors who are whistleblowers may seek protection by the Office of Special Counsel and the Merit Systems Protection Board against retaliation resulting from their disclosures of fraud, waste, or abuse to FHFA-OIG. Section 828 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (41 USC 4712) extended whistleblower protections and investigations of complaints to employees of contractors, subcontractors, or grantees for a four-year period which began on Jan. 2, 2013.
FHFA-OIG’s Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman provides education to increase awareness of prohibitions against whistleblower retaliation and the rights and remedies against retaliation for making protected disclosures. The Ombudsman is prohibited from acting as a complainant's legal representative, agent, or advocate of the whistleblower. For additional information about whistleblower rights and remedies, please feel free to contact FHFA-OIG’s Whistleblower Ombudsman at 202-730-2825.
Other Complainants and Witnesses
Complainants and witnesses who are not Federal employees and are not employed by government contractors may anonymously communicate with the FHFA-OIG Hotline. Alternatively, they may request confidentiality, if they chose not to make an anonymous communication or are contacted by FHFA-OIG.
Further, in addition to statutory confidentiality, whistleblower protection, and the ability to make anonymous complaints, various Federal laws and regulations (e.g., the Privacy Act of 1974 and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure) limit disclosure of information commonly in the possession of FHFA-OIG. Accordingly, FHFA-OIG will endeavor to maintain the confidentiality of all non-public information that it possesses.
Continuing Responsibility to Report Allegations of Fraud, Waste, and Abuse to Internal Authorities
Although you are encouraged to provide information and report wrongdoing to FHFA-OIG, cooperating with FHFA-OIG may not satisfy your responsibility to apprise your employer of instances of fraud, waste, and abuse. Please consult your employer’s policies and procedures for details of your reporting responsibilities.