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Thursday, February 26, 2015

How can the DOE "whistleblower" Contractor Employee Protection policy protect employees

How can the DOE "whistleblower" Contractor Employee Protection policy protect employees, if the DOE IG in good faith, can't acquire investigation relevant documentation from the DOE Contractor in question? 

"...According to the Inspector General, Bechtel and URS, the contractors involved in the matter, have refused to provide more than 4,500 documents to the Inspector General, claiming attorney-client privilege. I understand that the contractors have refused to provide these documents despite a clause in both the prime contract and subcontract which expressly consents to the provision of attorney-client privileged material to the Inspector General. I request that the Department provide a briefing to the Subcommittee about DOE's plans to address the contractors' lack of cooperation with the Inspector General's request. The briefing should also include the mechanisms that are available to the Department to hold the contractors accountable for their noncompliance, including withholding of fees and recovery of costs incurred by the Office of Inspector General. I request that this briefing be provided as soon as possible, but no later than October 31, 2014..."

http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2014/10/21/doe-office-inspector-general-rewards-contractors-non-cooperation-donna-busches

http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2014/10/f18/IG-0923.pdf

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How did URS Corporation and Bechtel, the managers of the Hanford Site, get away with the "attorney client privilege" maneuver to block the DOE IG from acquiring the "4,500 documents"? According to the DOE IG report, "...Attorneys representing both Bechtel and URS stated that the assertion of privilege was necessary given the likelihood of litigation regarding the Busche matter.."

If URS and Bechtel DOE Contractors can claim "attorney client privilege" and it holds, and it seems to be holding and unchallenged so far, any DOE Contractor can and will attempt to assert the same privilege against "whistleblower" complaints filed by their employees or former employees.

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