Two veteran attorneys in the Social Security Administration's inspector general's office who revealed a program imposing massive, unprecedented fees on both the poor and elderly told The Washington Post they are facing backlash from their superiors for speaking out about the practice.
The Post reported Tuesday that senior officials Joscelyn Funnié and Deborah Shaw were removed from their jobs and placed on paid leave after exposing the fines, which led to at least three investigations and a halt to the procedure.
Although the two were eventually reinstated, Funnié and Shaw said they have since then been given assignments well below their experience and abilities, excluded from meetings and denied any opportunities for advancement in their careers.
The veracity of their allegations is backed up by emails with management officials and by two senior officials familiar with their work climate.
Funnié stressed to the Post that Inspector General Gail Ennis and her senior staff "pretend I don't exist, hoping that eventually I will exhaust my emotional and financial resources and walk away."
Shaw wrote in an email to the Post: "I continue to be marginalized and left out of the loop on work being done in my component. Perhaps worst of all, my experience has become a cautionary tale for those who might otherwise speak about mismanagement, abuse of discretion and all sorts of serious wrongdoing within the [inspector general's] office."
Tom Devine, the legal director of the Government Accountability Project, which represents whistleblowers in Washington, said the treatment that Funnié and Shaw are receiving is "all common tactics and they're all illegal."
Others have concurred the case shows significant evidence of retaliation against the whistleblowers.
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