Working with Whistleblowers on Oversight and Investigations

Whistleblowers are vital information sources for congressional investigations, and they often risk major injury for coming forward: career implosion, retaliation, doxxing, online harassment, and worse. Learn how to work more safely and effectively with whistleblowers to advance your oversight efforts.


Oct 22, 2021 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


  • Shanna Devine, Director, Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds,U.S. House of Representatives. Ms. Devine is responsible for advising the House community on best practices for working with whistleblowers from the public and private sectors. She has over a decade of experience working in partnership with whistleblowers and Congress. She began her career with the Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower protection and advocacy organization, where she served as Legislative Director and Investigator until 2016. Most recently, Ms. Devine advocated for whistleblower and other occupational rights for the public-interest organization Public Citizen. Throughout her career, Ms. Devine has worked with Congress to strengthen whistleblower protections and communications. She has led campaigns for passage of landmark whistleblower laws, including Congress’ unanimous passage of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012. She has extensive experience conducting trainings on best practices for working with whistleblowers, and in 2015 and 2016 she played a strategic role in the establishment of the bipartisan Senate and House Whistleblower Protection Caucuses. Since 2008, Ms. Devine has advised whistleblowers within the public and private sector on how to safely and constructively work with Congress.
  • Rebecca Jones, Deputy Director, Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds, U.S. House of Representatives. Ms. Jones works with the Director to assist House offices in establishing best practice whistleblower intake systems, to provide trainings to House offices on how to safely work with whistleblowers, and to analyze and provide legal overview of relevant whistleblower laws. She became passionate about the importance of whistleblowers over a decade ago while working at the Government Accountability Project, a leading nonprofit whistleblower protection law firm. This passion for whistleblowers and the critical role they play was one of the core reasons why she chose a career in law. Most recently, she advocated for best practice whistleblower protections while working as a Policy Counsel at the Project On Government Oversight, a nonprofit organization focused on good government reforms. Ms. Jones has extensive experience working directly with whistleblowers, particularly in helping individuals understand their legal rights and outlets for making protected disclosures such as how to work with Congressional offices. Throughout her career she has taught individuals and groups about whistleblower protections and the inherent value of one voice speaking out against wrongdoing.
    Ms. Jones has testified before Congress about the importance of protecting whistleblowers at the Department of Veterans Affairs and had the privilege of co-authoring Caught Between Conscience and Career, a guidebook to help whistleblowers safely disclose waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Maryland. 
  • John Whitty, Deputy Director of Operations, Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds, U.S. House of Representatives. Mr. Whitty works with the Director to assist House offices in establishing best practices for working with whistleblowers, as well as managing the office’s financial and administrative responsibilities. His most recent prior experience was direct representation of whistleblower clients, including advocacy and litigation, to help them expose and correct violations of the public trust while defending them from retaliation. His practice involved appellate work before the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and litigation before the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Office of Special Counsel, federal district court, and OSHA. Also, his practice included advocacy with key stakeholders, such as Congress and the media, to help the whistleblowers make a difference. John’s passion for supporting whistleblowers began during his 36 years with the Department of Defense, in uniform and as a civilian. The last 20 years of Mr. Whitty's civilian career with the DOD was as a network design engineer, focusing on network security architecture and systems engineering. Mr. Whitty is licensed to practice law in the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia.
  • Heriberto Arambula, Outreach and Engagement Fellow, Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds, U.S. House of Representatives. Mr. Arambula supports the Office in developing and expanding strategic outreach to bolster and track the Office’s visibility and help grow its reach. He is a Pat Tillman Scholar and a military veteran with 11 years of service in the U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard. He enlisted as an infantryman in the U.S. Army after watching the tragic events of 9/11. In April of 2004, while patrolling the streets of Sadr City, Baghdad, his unit was ambushed. The ensuing battle took the lives of eight men and resulted in more than 70 wounded. The forty-eight-hour firefight was depicted in Martha Raddatz’s The Long Road Home. During his tenure in the U.S. Coast Guard, he continued his service as a Maritime Enforcement Specialist, where he was deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Mr. Arambula received the Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award in 2015 from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

The session was moderated by Tim Stretton, Director of POGO's Congressional Oversight Initiative.

Training Resources: