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Justice Department appoints whistle-blower ombudsman


WASHINGTON—The Justice Department has appointed a whistle-blower to ombudsman to educate its staff on the increasing importance of whistle-blowers in the department's work.

Counselor to the Justice Department Inspector General Robert P. Storch confirmed he has been named to the position.

The ombudsman “will focus on training and educating employees within the department about the role and importance of whistle-blowers in improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the department's operations, as well as their legal rights and protections against retaliation,” Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said Wednesday, in a statement.

The appointment “underscores the critical importance the government places on whistle-blowers to amass information they might otherwise be unable to obtain, or obtain in an efficient manner,” Steven J. Pearlman, a partner with law firm Proskauer Rose L.L.P. in Chicago, said in commenting on the position.

There's been a tremendous shift within the government over the past couple years in placing greater emphasis on protecting whistle-blowers and encouraging them to come forward, he said.

“It is a continued wake-up call for private-sector employers that the government will be making great efforts” to protect whistle-blowers, Mr. Pearlman said.