** My Bio ** I am K. Alexander Ashe, an engineer, a serial entrepreneur, and a whistleblower. More info about me on my website.

I was an engineer at the U.S. National Institutes of Health for over 9 years. I was responsible for designing and testing high and maximum containment biosafety labs like in the movies Outbreak and Contagion.

I blew the whistle about contract fraud, select agent regulatory reports, conflicts of interest, and worker exposure to toxic chemicals.

I was subjected to psychiatric evaluations, reassignments, a workplace harassment investigation, a reprimand, time and leave scrutiny, a suspension, negative performance reviews, and, ultimately, removal from Federal Government service.

I wrote about worker exposure to toxic chemicals at Box Breaker Media.

I wrote about my experience as a whistleblower on Medium:

Fortunately, the business I started, SpendCast was producing enough revenue by the time I was fired for "Failure to Follow Instructions"

I've done an AMA before. tl;dr the case went to the Supreme Court and my company is now called SpendCast (yes, we have Federal Trademark for it).

My Proof: Disclosure of Contract Fraud

Concentric Methods/Cape Fox History of Fraud

Disclosure of Regulatory Report Fabrication

CDC/DSAT Biocontainment Regulation Update

Deborah Wilson (Fmr Supervisor) Statement

Federal Acquisition Regulations

Worker Exposure to Toxic Chemicals Exhibit A: PCB Test Results Memo

Exhibit B: Email Chain Referencing Oil Spill

Comments: 393 • Responses: 51  • Date: 

bearinfoxhole471 karma

was that all worth it? I mean people tend to forget about it after sometime, and we are usually back to square one.

spendology653 karma

It is worth it to have my integrity and the knowledge that I did the right thing. In hindsight, I am grateful that I could survive this experience and make it through to the other side.

spendology368 karma

I did write a post on Medium with the title Never Blow the Whistle. I wouldn't wish the harassment and agony on an enemy. Yet, I feel like I was the "right person for this job" because I have a positive attitude and I'm a problem solver. I was also fortunate to be single and an entrepreneur. I obtained approval while working as a Fed to do outside activities. Fortunately, I got to a point where my venture(s) could pay the bills by the time I was fired.

DeniseDeNephew267 karma

In the movies we see shady guys in parked cars outside whistle blowers' homes, did you experience anything that you felt was a threat to your personal safety or did the threats all fall under the "career suicide" umbrella?

spendology378 karma

It was career suicide but also lots of intimidation from my supervisor, contractors and co-workers. They did their best to make my life shit including going from being an engineer managing 12+ engineers, researchers and biosafety professionals, and designing/testing biosafety labs to pushing paper and looking over my shoulder.

spendology304 karma

Another anecdote about the personal safety part. When the contractors realized that I wouldn't help them defraud the US Government and tax payers they filed a workplace harassment and violence investigation against me. It was an easy sell because I'm a tall African-American guy and the contractors were very friendly with my supervisor and Director of the NIH Division of Occupational Helaht and Safety, Deborah E. Wilson, so I was quickly reassigned and moved "out of the way".

spendology276 karma

After years of enduring psychiatric evaluations, time and leave scrutiny, reassignments, negative performance reviews, warnings, reprimands, and suspensions - I went to Human Resources with evidence and a complaint of working in a hostile work environment.

They laughed at me and told me that ongoing investigations into contract fraud (that weren't actually happening) would have to conclude before any action could be taken.

DefiantLemur160 karma

God damn I'm glad you did the right thing. I know it sucks on your end but thank you.

spendology218 karma

Thank you! Sometimes I imagined that it was all worth it because I'd get a thanks from a fellow citizen. Dreams do come true. As Deadpool would say, i gave it "maximum effort" and it was "worth it"!

thefoxymulder106 karma

In your opinion, what would be taking it too far as a whistleblower? There has been a lot of debate recently over the role of leaks in the U.S. Government, especially from within the whitehouse, with many praising leakers and many others condemning them. Political affiliations aside, do you believe in absolute transparency for the people of the U.S., or is there a line that shouldn't be crossed

spendology215 karma

Taking it too far is focusing more on payback rather than justice. I believe in absolute transparency. The problem is that some leakers like the Pentagon Papers are praised while others like Edward Snowden are vilified. I think one can look at the intentions of the whistleblower and how the leak.

At the end of the day, it can be extremely easy to marginalize a whistleblower using taxpayer money and resources. Hence, it is critical that we have an independent news media that whistleblowers can utilize to get the story heard.

Of course, I went through all of the "appropriate" sources including the Inspector General, the Office of Special Counsel, the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Department of Justice, etc., only to find that these orgs would coordinate to work against me.

One solution is for whistle-blowers to become journalists. I was already an entrepreneur (I went through approval processes while working in government) so I launched Box Breaker Media to start getting the story out.

LOS_FUEGOS_DEL_BURRO4 karma

Did you approach other media outlets before starting your own?

spendology2 karma

I certainly did. Rachel Maddow showed some interest before another Shaq-sized shoe dropped in the Trump-Russia story.

PM_ME_CENTAUR_NUDES103 karma

Has anything changed as far as the contract fraud or the exposure to toxic chemicals? What chemicals were you exposed to?

spendology150 karma

I wasn't exposed to anything. I used a contract I managed to hire a industrial hygeniest and high voltage professionals to take air and wipe samples in electrical transformer vaults in NIH Building 10, Clinical Research Center. We were looking for polychlorinated biphenyls(PCB)-a cancer causing toxic chemical. The EPA outlawed the manufacture of PCBs on 1979. 70% of NIH electrical transformers in Building 10 are PCB contaminated. After I completed the study,l and sent it to my supervisor and the Division of Environmental Protection I found out oil from those valuts spilled into construction areas.

NightmareWarden78 karma

You've saved lives and careers where others proved themselves to be failures every time they opened their mouths. I'll look forward to what you put online for us for years to come. Thank you!

Have you considered how you would have been treated for uncovering similar organizational failures/incompetence by state government actors over federal employees?

spendology133 karma

Look at Flint, MI. A lot of the blame rests with Governor Rick Snyder and his emergency manager. Yet, there were also people in local and state government in positions of power who could have let the public know about the lead in the water.

The saddest part for me is that I live near NIH amd I desperately want the biosafety labs to operate safely because this is my community-it would be my friends and neighbors impacted. The reality is that not a damn thing will change. I've come to accept that. I also know that we are better than fudging numbers on safety reports and fraudlent contracts. We put a man on the moon damn it!

Armored-Dorito75 karma

Have you filed a complaint / filed for protection with OSHA since the the toxic substance control act is also covered under by OSH Act therefore subject to whistle blower protections?

https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/whistleblower_rights.pdf

Edit: Sorry, I didn't read the full story. Yes you did.

spendology143 karma

Yes, I filed a complaint with OSHA and they refused to do so much as investigate the matter.

Lostgoose2873 karma

Are there any folks that you worked with there that have reached out to preserve their relationship with you?

spendology92 karma

Not one.

Qlanger56 karma

Did you appeal your firing to MSPB?

spendology222 karma

Yes, but MSPB is a Kanagaroo Court. They are supposed to decide on cases in 120 days but one of my cases to over 1 year to close. It's been closed since April 21, 2017 but the Administrative Judge, Kassandra Robinson Styles, has not issued an initial decision. A settlement conference was held with the Agency attorney and the judge and their basically trying to "wait me out" until I settle.

Justice delayed is justice denied.

spendology77 karma

Also, whistleblowers have less than a 2% chance of winning before the MSPB. Using a risk inversion strategy involving multiple causes of action and venues can maximize your chance of attaining justice.

IANAL but there are better odds using the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) with the exception of negligence in executing regulations and statues. Employment discrimination cases appealed from MSPB to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals typically go against the employee.

soup_d_up41 karma

I imagine deciding to blow the whistle can be a tough decision to make because of the ramifications. At what point did you think, I have to do this? We're you hesitant?

spendology65 karma

I started to see the hand-writing on the wall. I was a bit surprised because contractors wanted me to look the other way on contract fraud. I thought the actual * decision * would come down to approving fraudulent invoices. I took that off the table by signaling that I would play no part in that and any fraudulent invoice would not be paid and my Contracting Officer would be notified.

Geronimo_W36 karma

Are there ways to "whistle blow" anonymously? If so, is this way recommended?

spendology86 karma

Yes, the Agency Inspector General, the Office of Special Counsel, and other government orgs allow you to anonymously blow the whistle.

Honestly, it's kind of like the Matrix. Every one in the government works for "the government". I met with a special agent from the Inspector General's office that was "looking into" the contract fraud investigations while he admitted to being in close communication with the Agency attorney working against me in Merit Systems Protection Board proceedings.

However, I immediately suffered retaliation and it can take years for EEO or administrative cases in the Merit Systems Protection Board to be completed. You can easily fire a whistleblower in a year or 2 before a case is heard or resolved.

Geronimo_W41 karma

It seems like a catch 22 situation then.

spendology103 karma

It IS a catch-22. The same US District Attorney that prosecute drug dealers, gangs, RICO, and white collar criminals defend the government against whistleblowers in federal court. We have the system we designed.

spendology38 karma

You can also go to your Congressperson. I contacted mine, someone from the office asked me what they wanted me to do, I told them, they said they couldnt really do anything and I never heard back.

vjsharpeyes27 karma

Any old colleagues thank you afterwards?

spendology31 karma

Nope.

raulpenas27 karma

What resourcea do you think should be in place for protection of whistleblowers exactly? Specifically if the employee preserves the job.

How was the conflict of interest related to the health inspection?

Do you want to help other whistleblowers to annonimously blow the whistle or is the "annonimosly" thing hard in practice?

Nice ama!

spendology60 karma

Well, there is the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 and the Office of Special Counsel. Basically, these laws don't amount to jack shit. Orgs like the OSC and MSPB work with other government agencies to screw whistleblowers. Of course, some cases could be without merit bit the numbers don't lie--whistleblpwers have less than a 2% chance of winning.

The conflict of interest was that my supervisor was responsible for sending engineering regulatory reports for select agent lab tests to CDC. My supervisor was very good friends (20+ years) with the contractors on my team.

A select agent lab failed to meet CDC regulatory requirements and my supervisor asked me to omit the failure from the report and I refused. The contractors changed the report, sent it to her, she sent it to CDC, and the failed lab was cleared for research. It was a conflict of interest and direlection of duty as the NIH Select Agent Responsible Official to take those actions.

Exomianne25 karma

Were there other people who could have blown the whistle earlier at the same time as you? What was their response like to your whistle-blowing?

spendology50 karma

Ha. Complicity. A lot of people either looked the other way or helped my cover it up.

new2bay18 karma

Do you think you would have been employable in the private sector if not for your business? What about now? I'm guessing there wasn't any compensation award as part of this process, right?

spendology38 karma

I have a resume posted that I occassionally get a couple callbacks on. Federal Government jobs are unattainable until my record is cleared. I do know that a lot of jobs in DC that require a security clearance or background check will also be out of reach. There is no award or compensation. I habe 2 MSPB cases that are closed but the judge, Kassandra Robinson Styles, refuses to issue an initial decision. The goal is to wait me out so that I'm forced to withdraw or agree to a settlement with the Agency. I'd happily agree to something if they'd only offer more than a Fuck you and peanuts.

jabanobotha16 karma

Why was it necessary to blow a whistle? How was this covered?

spendology44 karma

I was involved in projects where I observed contract fraud, conflicts of interest, worker exposure to toxic chemicals and fabrication of engineering regulatory reports. In some cases, I was asked to sign off/approve--I refused and alerted a superior.

Goldenatomic15 karma

Would you choose to do it all over again? Or do you have a different way you would've handled things?

spendology59 karma

Even with the Clairvoyance one of the best things I could do would have been to change jobs before any whistle had to be blown but that wouldn't have stopped the bad actors.

I've played the events back in my head and I realize that in my absence there would have been no conscience or voice of reason. Also, I could have looked the other way like everyone else but I was being set up as the fall guy or cat's paw. Better to die standing up than live on your knees.

Vril_Dox_214 karma

So what happened to all the people who were guilty in this? Did anyone get fired as a result of the whistle blowing? Reassigned at least? I'm sure there are levels of culpability ranging the amount of direct action they took as opposed to others who had a more passive roll in the cover up. I'm sure they didn't clear out the whole office but it sounds like almost everyone in the office would be guilty to some degree.

spendology28 karma

No, nothing happened to anyone except me. Human Resources protected senior managers and contractors while Agency attorneys work to make sure the Agency pays as little as possible. Also, these people could have been prosecuted under the False Claims Act (goes back to tue Civil War) but there is this thing called "materiality" established in a recent Supreme Court case (Escobar)--you can't sue a company for defrauding the government if government officials are aware of the fraud.

ecdmuppet9 karma

I have a similar desire to eliminate corruptuion, but in the management of the civil discourse through the media oligopoly and the partisan political system.

What's the best way to start on the path of becoming a journalist?

If I believe that public opinion is being skewed and manipulated to create false conflicts, do you believe that creating my own polling company that uses the same tactics of leading questions and assumptive multiple choice answers to skew the data in the direction of unity and shared values, is just as wrong as it is when other organizations use those same tactics in reverse to make us fight eachother? Do two wrongs not make a right?

This is more of a moral quandary for me than a journalism question per se, but you appear to have an admirable morality that you clearly defend above all else. Your opinion matters to me personally.

spendology23 karma

This line of thinking lead me to create Box Breaker Media --it has no ads, no anonymous sources, background work and assumptions are shown and source documents are available. I reviewed surveys and articles about restoring trust in jorunalism. I ran a couple surveys of my own.

I read a lot about fake news and reviewed Nieman Labs/MIT working group info on journalism. Go start something. Tell a story. Show the work. Use technology like VR and AR to put viewers "in" the story.

Also, Information Accelerator is investing digital journalism startups. Please tell the stories tjat need to be told! Good luck!

ecdmuppet7 karma

Excellent info!

What's the significance of the working group you identify here? Are they a group that looks at how to fight corruption in journalism?

I was raised in a far right conservative political socialization. Growing up learning about the left-wing bias in the media as a common assumption, I recognized the places where the mainstream media often ignored or misrepresented the strongest conservative arguments and perspectives of moderate conservatives in favor of highlighting the fringe.

What moderated my views was seeing that conservative media does the same thing in reverse, and that the fight on both sides is perpetuated by this constant misrepresentation that is almost completely unrelated to the way the average citizen actually thinks.

Then I read this quote from George Washington's farewell address as our first POTUS:

"In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection."

His use of the words, "designing men", is both what inspires me to take on this fight, and legitimately scares the hell out of me at the same time. I genuinely believe that about 90% our current conflicts are being intentionally perpetuated by powerful influences that use partisan politics to keep the populace too divided and weak to stand together against the problems in our society that their corruption and manipulations for personal gain are creating for us. I am convinced that the continual erosion of our individual economic and political power is an intentional effort on the part of these forces to consolidate power and keep our society enslaved to their will.

To be honest, I like our society, and with the exception of the partisanship in our civil discourse, and the aforementioned erosion of individual power, I wouldn't have a problem with this leadership if they were just honest about running things, and used their influence to solve more problems than they create. I fully understand that there are complicated problems in the world, and making tough decisions is part of what leadership has to do.

But when I see that that leadership is allowing society to crumble due to largely fabricated division created more by misunderstanding than real differences, and driven more by greed for power than by genuine hate on the part of regular citizens, It compels me to take action to correct the problem.

But then again, all of these conclusions are speculation. The only thing I am certain of is that the conflicts we have are based on misunderstandings that for whatever reason, the media and politics is complicit in perpetuating.

Since human motivation is impossible to prove without mindreading skills, this is where the similarities in our fights diverge. Your challenge is in presenting objective truth about verifiable events, where my challenge is in dispelling stereotypes and ending divisiveness that is based completely on subjective reasoning, regardless of what motivates the spread of that division.

My first thought is to create a media organization that discusses news, politics and current events much like other outlets, but is slanted towards eliminating the stereotypes, building common ground, and promoting the idea that solving problems is not a team sport. I feel like that model has the potential to tap into a drastically underserved part of the population, but I have no idea how to put the same force and charisma and appeal behind that message that the corporate media outs behind divisive politics.

Again, I'm not sure you have answers to even those conclusions you agree with out of what I'm sharing, but I value your thoughts all the same.

Best regards,

spendology7 karma

Wow. Very thoughtful. Why do we see crime on local news every night? What cam first: slavery or racism? Well, they say if it bleeds it leads but is that the cause or the reason?

So, separating news from corporate sponsorship can help to peal back the layers and break down stereotypes but you also have to break the bonds from years of miseducation. Data, logic and education can help but its mot the entire story. Cognitive bias may cause people tp double-down on info even when contradictory evidence is provided. The work is hard but it is worth it.

mitunakaptor7 karma

Three part question. (sorry)


Given the current technology, tor, tails, freenet etc. Would you have been satisfied to have reported the abuse and fraud anonymously?


While the government says they have protections for whistle blowers could you have taken the protection into your own hands or did you use your authority within the position you held to bring light to these issues?


What advice would you give to anyone who wants to report misconduct within a business/govt. (Aside from lawyer up)?


I think personally the loss of income from being fired is a primary reason people don't report misconduct, from a government prospective being overcharged by $100m could easily pay for compensation of lost wages by reporting similar to a form of workers comp.

spendology22 karma

I told myself that I would make anonymous disclosures and tell my superiors but try not to make a big deal of things. I would have been satisfied with anonymous whistleblowing but there was such a great effort in intimidation and retaliation that i couldnt. I thought that I could stay quiet and keep my head down. I was very wrong. The retaliation came fast and hard (phrasing)--especially after the contract fraud. I even took a month off of work to let things cool down after contractors defrauding the government filed a workplace harassment investigation against me. When I came back, my supervisor tried to have me arrested after her and the team psychologist said I was acting strange.

The best I could do was work from the library on the NIH campus. I went to HR with a thick dossier with evidence of a hostile workplace and they laughed at me. I remember her name--Jessica Hawkins. She told me I need proof--I brought hundreds of pages of it. Then, Hawkins said she couldn't put me somewhere temporarily-she had to wait until the MSPB case and a contract fraud investigation (tgat wasnt happening) were completed.

Advice. Keep thorough records.Take contemporaneous notes like James Comey. Think like a lawyer. One thing I noticed is that my supervisor, Deborah E. Wilson, would say don't email when you can call, don't call when you can talk in person. People like that have something to hide. It's important that you keep evidence in a protected place that will be admissible in court. Google the Federal Rulws of Evidence for more info. Also, there are rewards for blowing the whistle (the relator) in the private sector for Sarbanes-Oxley, Affordable Care Act and others. OSHA has some info on that.

Henshin-hero4 karma

Right now I am dealing with an EEO conplaint. It is taking forever and my situation is not improving. Apparently the investigation started. Any tips on what i can do besides wait?

spendology10 karma

One thingis that once you've gome to EEO, there are not a lot of things to do to imprpve your situaion other than a detail or a new job. Harsh but true.

First off, get a lawyer if you can. EEO is only one avenue. Think strategically and long-term. Break the EEO process down inti phases: informal - formal - ROI - EEO AJ/Final Decision- Appeal. What outcomes would you like to see? Know which decisions you may want to make at each phase.

Also, time is the Agency's friend but it can be yours as well. Eventually, some cases can end up in either the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals or district court (only some discrimination cases). You cnlan have better odds there.

coryrenton4 karma

are there any protections to keep whistleblower anonymity that are in place or lobbied to be put in place as far as you know?

spendology7 karma

Yes, but they are vastly insufficient.

kaaaaath4 karma

When working at a BSL4, what was the biggest vulnerability?

spendology3 karma

Everything. There is BSL-4 and ABSL-4 (A for animals). You have a system of interlocked doors, PPE/positve pressure suits, breathing air systems, microchem showers systems for decontamination, communication systems, supply and exhaust fans, building automation software, power and backup power...any one or more of these systems could fail partially or fully. BSL-4 and even BSL-3 are high stress environments.

goomoonryong_is_god3 karma

Have you tried going yo mainstream media outside of your country with your story to give it legs like Canada?

You should post your story on r/conspiracy not joking. More people may read it.

spendology8 karma

THAT is an excellent idea. Some media folks like Rachel Maddow showed slight interest but competition us fierce with Shaq-sized shoes dropping every 5 minutes in Trump's F5 Presidency.

Stalwart-Lover3 karma

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spendology3 karma

Thank you so much!

kinetiraptor2 karma

I assume you work undercover because otherwise they'd just stop all illegal activity as soon as you set foot in the office (i'm not too well-informed on this subject, sorry if I made a stupid comment).

My question: If you work undercover, what happens with the salary you earn while you're working undercover?

spendology2 karma

No, I was just a regular government employee. There are actually govermwnt employees who are law enforcement officers. If your job duties include detecting and stopping fraud then you cant claim an award.

Tr1pline2 karma

Why did you let yourself be known? Couldn't you do it anonymously? Why not take it to the Federal Government about the fraud instead of your own company? It sounds like they were in on it.

Did any workers thank you for letting them know their vicinity had toxic chemicals so they knew to stay away?

spendology9 karma

There is catharsis in making myself known. I did it anonymously and that didnt stop thw retaliation--I was we eventually fired. I worked at the Federal Government and exhausted all avenues for makong disclosures and it resulted in retaliation and getting fired.

Bowdango2 karma

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spendology2 karma

I really appreciate that. I have considered that I could be on easy street if I had shut my mouth and just looked the other way--but my spirit wouldn't sit well with that.

Sawzzaw2 karma

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spendology4 karma

Thank you for your service! I'm hoping that more people are emboldened to do the right thing and speak up. Silence allows bad shit continue happening.

thinklogicallyorgtfo2 karma

You seem very educated about the government. What is your opinion on politics in 2017? Nothing specific just where the U.S is headed

spendology12 karma

I have high hopes and low expectations. America once put a man on the moon now we debate if we should pay the bills, pass a budget or raise the debt ceiling. Party politics is a blood sport and a religion.

Right know is a precious moment for the country, we can embrace our potential, conquer our demons and move forward or we can give into hatred, greed, and fear.

A lot of good can be done through government but I am focused on entrepreneurship in the private sector for now. The projects I work on will fight fake news and misinformation: Rossella is a Twitterbot that turns fresh news into scheduled tweets while Box Breaker Media is aimed at restoring trust in journalism.

hydrus81 karma

In your work environment, how hard is it and how scary is it to actually blow the whistle? Did it drastically change your life? Thanks for doing an AMA!

spendology2 karma

I was isolated from co-workers. I revives time and leave scrutiny. I was forces to switch offices with the division's administrative assistant. I was so isolated in my assignmentsthat every time I saw a coworker people thought I had left NIH.

spendology2 karma

I was isolated from co-workers. I revives time and leave scrutiny. I was forces to switch offices with the division's administrative assistant. I was so isolated in my assignmentsthat every time I saw a coworker people thought I had left NIH.

spendology2 karma

I was isolated from co-workers. I revives time and leave scrutiny. I was forces to switch offices with the division's administrative assistant. I was so isolated in my assignmentsthat every time I saw a coworker people thought I had left NIH.

spendology2 karma

I was isolated from co-workers. I revives time and leave scrutiny. I was forces to switch offices with the division's administrative assistant. I was so isolated in my assignmentsthat every time I saw a coworker people thought I had left NIH.

spendology2 karma

I was isolated from co-workers. I revives time and leave scrutiny. I was forces to switch offices with the division's administrative assistant. I was so isolated in my assignmentsthat every time I saw a coworker people thought I had left NIH.

kaaaaath1 karma

I ask because I worked briefly at a BSL4, and my biggest fear was puncturing a positive pressure suit. I wanted to know if I was paranoid or if everyone felt that way?

spendology1 karma

It's a concern but duct tape solves a lot of problems.

eternalexodus1 karma

How do you feel about your whistleblowing experiences vs the high-profile cases like Chelsea manning and Edward Snowden? I'd be interested in hearing some similarities and differences--content, methods, motive, consequences, etc.

spendology2 karma

I was asked to take specific actions rather than leaking information. My understanding is that Snowden went through an internal process. I made disclosures to superiors and made anonymous disclosures. I honestly didn't have the same risks for charges because I wasn't in Intelligence or Military.

My biggest risks were losing my job and being blackballed in the job market. Fed jobs and jobs requiring background checks and security clearance are a no-go.

nillajenn1 karma

What was the impact on your friends and loved ones?

If there were negative impacts what were they?

Did you overcome hardships with family and friends or is there still residual negativity in regards to your decision?

If you overcame any personal obstacles with family and friends, how did you do it?

My father was a Ridenhour recipient 12 years ago and our familial system is still in fallout.

spendology2 karma

My family with the exception of little brother kind of don't understand what I'm going through or what's required to get through this. I did experience an amazing sense of loneliness due to isolation and people not understanding (or trying to understand) my situation.

My mother strongly suggested that I not do this AMA. She has an old school idea that I should silently carry the shame of doing the right thing so I can be employable.

jabberwockxeno1 karma

Your post seems to be missing the link to the medium post you mention, can you correct that/link it?

Anyways, can you explain what happened with the case that went to the supreme court in more detail? What happened between when the last AMA was made and when the supreme court denied the petition?

spendology3 karma

https://medium.com/@keithashe/never-blow-the-whistle-f107cc2fd8e0

The case was filed in Federal District Court in the District of Maryland while the Supreme Court was ruling on B.B.Hardware regarding trademark issue preclusion. Issue precision is legal jargon for when you nwed to give deference to decisions made in administrative courts.

Long-story short, my company started using the Spendology trademark first and applied for Federal trademark protection first. PNC Bank starting using the mark after us and applied for trademark 8 montha after us. The US Patent and Trademark Office has an administrative court. That court ruled that PNC had priority to use the trademark for "online financial money management". The key was that the Supreme Court later ruled that issue preclusion applies sometimes, but not whwn the trademark is ised differently than stated in the trademark application.

I filed a trademark lawsuit for non-registered mark. The judge in district court dismiased the case, I decided to appeal based on the window the Suprwme Court left open in B.B. Hardware. Ultimately, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case so the lower court ruling stuck. Case dismissed, but PNC Bank did pay a pretty penny to take my name. Now, the company is called SpendCast and that is a Federally registered trademark.

Little_Froto-5 karma

Whistleblower..... are you writing this from Russia by chance?

spendology5 karma

Comrade?