WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Chuck Grassley of Iowa are calling for answers from the Missouri National Guard on what it will do to address findings that one of its contractors retaliated against contractor employee Michael Sandknop after he made disclosures that were protected under whistleblower statutes.
“We depend on whistleblowers to be our eyes and ears on the ground; they’re often the first to identify when taxpayer dollars are being wasted or officials are abusing their office—and they’ve got to be able to come forward without losing their jobs,” said McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “I look forward to answers from the Missouri National Guard on what it can do to help Mr. Sandknop, and how it will prevent retaliation like this from happening again.”
“The work doesn’t stop with a finding in favor of a whistleblower,” Grassley said. “The whistleblower then has to be treated right for the wrongs perpetrated against him. The retaliating parties need to be held accountable for their actions and take steps to prevent a recurrence. I’m looking for the right follow-up in the Missouri case and all others like it.”
In 2014, Michael Sandknop was fired by a Missouri National Guard contractor after he came forward with grievances about a hostile work environment and inadequate work equipment. While the National Guard Inspector General initially agreed with Sandknop’s allegations, it did not recommend that the contractor reinstate or compensate Sandknop in any way. Sandknop appealed to the Department of Defense Inspector General, but was denied relief due to a misinterpretation of a whistleblower protections statute. McCaskill and Grassley then pressed for the Department of Defense Inspector General to reconsider Sandknop’s case. After further review, the Department of Defense Inspector General concluded that Sandknop should be reinstated and awarded compensatory damages. McCaskill and Grassley’s letter to the Missouri National Guard Adjutant General follows up on this latest development by asking if the Missouri National Guard will abide by the Inspector General’s findings and what it will do to prevent similar retaliation from occurring in the future.
Read McCaskill and Grassley’s letter to the Missouri National Guard Adjutant General HERE.