Magazine article Insight on the News

White House Whistle-Blower Receives a Belated Apology. (the Watchers)

Magazine article Insight on the News

White House Whistle-Blower Receives a Belated Apology. (the Watchers)

Article excerpt

President George H.W. Bush issued an unusual executive order in 1992. The directive abolished the 11-member President's Commission on Executive Exchange (PCEE), a government-business partnership that had come under the scrutiny of both Congress and a federal inspector general. The real target of the order, however, was Gordon Hamel, the commission's staff director turned whistle-blower.

Hamel had been placed on administrative leave after, nine months earlier, accusing the PCEE's executive director, Betty Heitman, a former cochairwoman of the Republican National Committee, of alleged misbehavior ranging from waste and fraud to abuse of power. The White House justified the actions taken against Hamel by accusing him of "mismanagement and verbal abuse" as well as sexual harassment.

Although Hamel filed a whistle-blower complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), the federal agency in charge of investigating violations of the merit system, Bush's decision to abolish the PCEE mooted Hamel's legal case charging reprisal for whistle-blowing. At the same time, an OSC memorandum was leaked to a congressional oversight committee and made its way into the Congressional Record. …

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