Oregon whistleblower Vikki Mata is requesting donations to cover the cost ($6,000) of court transcripts. She must order the transcripts by February 6 in order to appeal a ruling in her case that barred favorable expert testimony.
In a recent interview with talk show host Peter B. Collins, Mata and Soeken described her case against the state of Oregon where, they say, officials improperly diverted to state coffers federal funds intended to provide health care for uninsured children via the Healthy Kids Program. According to Soeken, Executive Director of the Whistleblower Support fund, the judge’s ruling was inconsistent with rulings in many similar cases. [Note: Access to the full interview requires a subscription to the Peter B. Collins Show, $5 for one month or $1 for a 24-hour pass. A preview clip is available at no charge.]
An audit Mata requested confirmed her allegation that state officials overstated the number of uninsured children in the state. Those inflated numbers allowed authorities to improperly claim additional federal funds, thus reducing the money available to aid qualified children. The state later returned $4.5 million dollars to the federal program where it was again available for its intended purpose thanks to Vikki Mata. Unfortunately, Mata lost her job in the process, and now is unable to cover the expense of an appeal herself.
Mata’s case and others highlight a flaw in our justice system: Unlike other witnesses, whistleblowers often must take alleged wrongdoers to court on their own dime. Absurdly, the welfare of millions of people may rely on how much a whistleblower has in his savings account. It’s a great incentive for employers to evade accountability by firing whistleblowers and crippling them financially. Americans protect their own interests when they help whistleblowers overcome obstacles imposed by employers and the justice system.
Ms. Mata has set up a legal fund at generosity.com to accept donations. Donations may also be made at her Facebook account, which provides additional details about her case and updated information on her appeal.
[Note: The Whistleblower Support Fund is the parent organization of Whistleblowing Today.]