What Motivates A Whistleblower?

October 7, 2014 3:10 PM

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A couple of recent news events brought whistleblowers into the spotlight. Last week, an anonymous whistleblower's report that President Obama took an elevator ride with a man who had a violent criminal record and was armed at the time, unbeknownst to the Secret Service, contributed to the resignation of the agency's director. Preceding that, ProPublica published an intricate story detailing the New York State Fed's cozy relationship to Goldman Sachs using accounts from a former employee who recently filed a wrongful termination lawsuit -- what she and her legal team allege was a retaliatory step after she attempted to report misconduct.

Seemingly, instances of bad behavior by our government institutions become public knowledge only when an outraged employee publicizes them. But what distinguishes these employees from the many others with equal proximity to, but no urge to report, the malfeasance they see?

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