The California Whistleblower Protection Act (Whistleblower Act) allows state employees to report improper governmental activities—actions by state agencies or employees that violate the law; are economically wasteful; or involve gross misconduct, incompetence, or inefficiency1—without fear of retribution. The Whistleblower Act further authorizes the State Auditor, as the recipient of whistleblower allegations, to investigate and, when appropriate, report on substantiated improper governmental activity. For more than 25 years, our investigative work has identified and made recommendations to remediate a total of $577.9 million resulting from improper governmental activities such as gross inefficiency, theft of state property, conflicts of interest, and personal use of state resources.
The State Auditor's Investigative Work From July 2018 Through December 2018
The State Auditor enables submission of whistleblower allegations of improper governmental activity in several ways. From July 1, 2018, through December 31, 2018, the State Auditor received 636 calls or inquiries that fell within its jurisdiction. In addition, our office received hundreds of allegations that fell outside of our jurisdiction; when possible, we refer complainants to the appropriate federal, local, or state agencies.
During this six-month period, the State Auditor conducted investigative work on 808 cases that it opened either in previous periods or in the current period. As Figure 1 shows, the State Auditor's investigative staff determined that 571 of the 808 cases lacked sufficient information for investigation or are pending preliminary review. For another 147 cases, the staff conducted work or will conduct additional work—such as analyzing available evidence and contacting witnesses—to assess the allegations. The State Auditor's staff notified the respective departments for another 28 cases so they could investigate the matters further and independently initiated investigations for another 25 cases. Some of these cases may still be ongoing. In addition, the staff requested that state agencies gather information for 37 cases to assist in assessing the validity of the allegations.
Status of 808 Cases, July 2018 Through December 2018
Source: State Auditor.
For more about the Whistleblower Act and the State Auditor's responsibility and authority, see the Appendix.