The Whistleblowers: Exposing Corruption in Government and Industry

By Myron Peretz Glazer; Penina Migdal Glazer | Go to book overview

Chapter 2
The Legitimation of
Public Disclosure

IN 1959, Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee became chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly and initiated an inquiry into the pricing practices of the pharmaceutical companies. 1 Among the many witnesses invited to testify were several industry employees, including Dr. A. Dale Console who had worked as director of research for a major pharmaceutical firm. 2 While Congress learned how valuable such an insider witness could be, whistleblowers like Console experienced firsthand the opportunities that congressional investigating committees could provide for publicizing and legitimizing the whistleblowers' concerns. When Ralph Nader called together the first whistleblowers' conference a dozen years later to build a more durable network, Dr. Console was a key participant. So was Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin who had provided a public forum for Ernest Fitzgerald and become a forceful advocate for resisters willing to expose government and corporate transgressions. 3Console, Proxmire, and the other participants supported Nader in his conviction that building links among resisters, Congress, and public-interest groups was essential if more employees were to speak up when they witnessed unethical and illegal behavior. The stamp of congressional interest moved the isolated dissenter to center stage. The investigating committees gathered evidence from individuals in order to act on public policy concerns. For the witness like Console, the interest of

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