An Introduction to the House Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds
Synopsis: Live Panel – Zoom
July 26, 2021
Zoom Link (click on the title of the panel below to go to the live panel):
Introducing the Office of Whistleblower Ombudsman: Offering Resources to Whistleblowers
This informational panel will introduce the House Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds, an independent and nonpartisan support office established to advise the House on best practices for working with whistleblowers from the public and private sectors. The Office’s staff will provide an overview of their services and discuss frequently asked questions.
While the Office is not authorized to receive whistleblower disclosures, this session will also explore the Office’s publicly available resources that aim to facilitate safe and effective communications between whistleblowers and Congress and other tools that may be of value to the whistleblower stakeholder community.
Rachel Marshall, Legislative Counsel, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA-14) / Staff Contact for the House Whistleblower Protection Caucus (Moderator)
Shanna Devine, Director – House Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds
Rebecca Jones, Deputy Director – House Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds
John Whitty, Deputy Director of Operations – House Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds
Heriberto Arambula, Outreach and Engagement Fellow – House Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds
Rachel Marshall currently serves as Legislative Counsel to Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14) and is the Congresswoman’s lead staffer for the Whistleblower Protection Caucus. Prior to joining the Congresswoman’s staff, she was Federal Policy Counsel for the Campaign for Youth Justice, and clerked for the Honorable Julie H. Becker, Associate Judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. She also worked as a Legislative Assistant, and later Legislative Policy Associate, at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington Legislative Office, where she had a wide-ranging portfolio, including First Amendment rights, privacy and surveillance, and national security issues.
Rachel received her bachelor’s degree from Ball State University in Political Science with a minor in History. She received her law degree from American University’s Washington College of Law, where she was the Publications Editor for the Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law. Rachel also participated in the UN Committee against Torture Project, assisting then-Committee Chairperson Claudio Grossman in researching and drafting legal memoranda concerning torture and human rights violations.
Contact Information: Rachel.Marshall@mail.house.gov , 202-225-3531
Shanna Devine serves as the Director of the House Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds. In that capacity, Ms. Devine is responsible for 1) developing best practices for whistleblower intake for House offices, and 2) providing trainings to House offices on how to safely receive information from whistleblowers.
Ms. Devine has over a decade of experience working in partnership with whistleblowers and Congress. She began her career with the Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower protection and advocacy organization, where she served as Legislative Director and Investigator until 2016. Most recently, Ms. Devine advocated for whistleblower and other occupational rights for the public-interest organization Public Citizen.
Throughout her career, Ms. Devine has worked with Congress to strengthen whistleblower protections and communications. She has led campaigns for passage of landmark whistleblower laws, including Congress’ unanimous passage of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012. She has extensive experience conducting trainings on best practices for working with whistleblowers, and in 2015 and 2016 she played a strategic role in the establishment of the bipartisan Senate and House Whistleblower Protection Caucuses.
Since 2008, Ms. Devine has advised whistleblowers within the public and private sector on how to safely and constructively work with Congress.
Ms. Devine earned her Master of Public Management degree from the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Critical Theory and Social Justice from Occidental College.
Contact Information: Shanna.Devine@mail.house.gov, 202.226.6648
Rebecca Jones serves as the Deputy Director of the House Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds. There, she works with the Director to assist House offices in establishing best practice whistleblower intake systems, to provide trainings to House offices on how to safely work with whistleblowers, and to analyze and provide legal overview of relevant whistleblower laws.
Rebecca became passionate about the importance of whistleblowers over a decade ago while working at the Government Accountability Project. This passion for whistleblowers and the critical role they play was one of the core reasons why she chose a career in law. Most recently, Rebecca advocated for best practice whistleblower protections while working as a Policy Counsel at the Project On Government Oversight.
Rebecca has extensive experience working directly with whistleblowers, helping individuals understand their legal rights and outlets for making protected disclosures to Congress and other entities. Throughout her career, she has taught individuals and groups about whistleblower protections and the inherent value of one voice speaking out against wrongdoing.
Rebecca has testified before Congress about the importance of protecting whistleblowers at the Department of Veterans Affairs and had the privilege of co-authoring Caught Between Conscience and Career, a guidebook to help federal whistleblowers safely disclose waste, fraud, and abuse.
Rebecca is licensed to practice law in the state of Maryland. She earned her J.D. from the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law, and earned her B.A. in Political Science from Notre Dame of Maryland University.
Contact Information: Rebecca.Jones@mail.house.gov, 202-226-6621
John Whitty serves as the Deputy Director of Operations of the House Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds. There, he works with the Director to assist House offices in establishing best practices for working with whistleblowers, as well as managing the Office’s financial and administrative responsibilities.
John’s most recent prior experience was direct representation of whistleblower clients, including advocacy and litigation, to help them expose and correct violations of the public trust while defending them from retaliation. His practice involved appellate work before the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and litigation before the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Office of Special Counsel, federal district court, and OSHA. Also, his practice included advocacy with key stakeholders, such as Congress and the media, to help the whistleblowers make a difference. John’s passion for supporting whistleblowers began during his 36 years with the Department of Defense, in uniform and as a civilian. The last 20 years of John’s civilian career with the DOD was as a network design engineer, focusing on network security architecture and systems engineering.
John is licensed to practice law in the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. He earned his J.D. from the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law. He has a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from the Johns Hopkins University, Whiting School of Engineering and a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from Vanderbilt University.
Contact Information: John.Whitty@mail.house.gov, 202-226-6612
Heriberto Arambula serves as the Outreach and Engagement Fellow of the House Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds. He supports the Office in developing and expanding strategic outreach to bolster and track the Office’s visibility and help grow its reach.
Heriberto is a military veteran with 11 years of service in the U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard. He enlisted as an infantryman in the U.S. Army after watching the tragic events of 9/11. In April of 2004, while patrolling the streets of Sadr City, Baghdad, his unit was ambushed. An ensuing battle that took the lives of eight men and resulted in more than 70 wounded began. The forty-eight-hour firefight was depicted in Martha Raddatz’s, The Long Road Home.
During his tenure in the U.S. Coast Guard, he continued his service as a Maritime Enforcement Specialist, where he was deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Heriberto received the Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award in 2015 from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
Heriberto holds a Bachelor of Science in History and Political Science from Arizona State University. A Master of Arts in Teaching and a Master of Business for Veterans from the University of Southern California. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Texas State University in the School Improvement program. His research intends to bridge the complex story of war and the effect on family’s post-military transition by investigating trauma and social integration experiences among Central Texas veteran communities.
Contact Information: Heriberto.Arambula@mail.house.gov, 202-603-1078