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The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has closed its investigation into Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Reliability and Risk Engineer Lawrence Criscione's prohibited personnel practice complaint. Criscione alleged NRC's Office of Inspector General (OIG) engaged in prohibited personnel practices by conducting a retaliatory investigation of him, and by referring him for potential criminal prosecution, because he disclosed information to Congress and OSC about safety concerns.
Criscione had sent an e-mail to Congress, OSC, and OIG in which he alleged that NRC had failed to require nuclear power stations located downstream from dams to take appropriate measures to protect against the risk of flooding. Criscione believed that the retaliation violated his rights under the Whistleblower Protection Act, as well as his statutory right to petition Congress.
Although OIG denies any wrongdoing, it has agreed to resolve Criscione's complaint in order to avoid potential litigation. The settlement agreement provides that OIG will pay Criscione $15,000 in compensatory damages and attorneys' fees and continue to receive OSC prohibited personnel practice training to ensure that it is engaging in best practices with regard to whistleblower disclosures.
 Criscione's disclosure to OSC was referred to NRC for investigation and the report was transmitted to the President and Congress on September 18, 2017. See OSC's 2017 Public File for more information
Under 5 U.S.C. § 7211. the right of federal employees to petition Congress may not be interfered with or denied.