Disclosure of Wrongdoing

Disclosure of Wrongdoing

​​​​​​​​​​FAQs

Q:How is a disclosure to OSC different from disclosures through other government channels?

A:
  • Federal law guarantees your confidentiality;
  • The Special Counsel may order the head of the agency involved to investigate and report on your disclosure; and
  • The Special Counsel may send the agency's report, and your comments, to the President and Congress.​​

Q:What happens when you make a disclosure?

A:

OSC does not independently investigate whistleblower disclosures. If the Special Counsel finds that the information you disclosed is, or is substantially likely to be, the type of wrongdoing described here, OSC will send the information to the head of the agency concerned. OSC will not divulge your identity unless you consent.

The agency head must conduct an investigation and submit a report to the OSC. The Special Counsel then sends the agency report, together with your comments and hers, if any, to the President and the appropriate congressional oversight committees.

Q:What happens if the Special Counsel finds that the information you disclosed is not, or is not substantially likely to be, the type of wrongdoing that it can refer to an agency?

A:

If the Special Counsel does not send your information to the agency head, OSC sends you a letter explaining why the Special Counsel did not refer the information. This letter will let you know what other disclosure channels may be available to you.​

At her discretion, the Special Counsel may decide to send the information to the agency head, even if she does not find that it is, or is substantially likely to be, the type of wrongdoing described here​. If she does, the agency head is required to inform the Special Counsel in writing of what action has been or is being taken and when such action shall be completed. The Special Counsel will then inform you of the agency's report.


Q:How long does it take?

A:

You will usually hear from an OSC staff member within two weeks of filing your disclosure. The OSC staff member will explain the process and timing to you then.​

Q:Are all employees, former employees, or applicants for employment in the federal government able to file a disclosure?

A:

No. OSC does not have jurisdiction over disclosures filed by:

  • Employees of the U.S. Postal Service and the Postal Regulatory Commission;
  • Members of the armed forces of the United States (i.e., non-civilian military employees);
  • State employees operating under federal grants;
  • Other employees or federal agencies exempt by federal law; and
  • Congressional or judicial branch employees

Certain disclosures that involve foreign intelligence or counterintelligence information must be transmitted immediately by the Special Counsel to the National Security Advisor and congressional intelligence committees.​​​

Q:When may the Special Counsel order an investigation?

A:
The Special Counsel may require an agency head to conduct an investigation and submit a written report only if the information was transmitted to the Special Counsel by:
  • An employee, former employee, or applicant for employment in the agency which the information concerns; or
  • An employee who obtained the information in connection with the performance of the employee’s duties and responsibilities.
For other individuals not described above, the Special Counsel may use a discretionary process to require an agency head to submit a written response within a reasonable time.