Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) recently published a video featuring government contracting fraud whistleblower Bunnatine (Bunny) Greenhouse. In the video, Ms. Greenhouse discusses her decision to stand up to corruption in the United States Army Corps of Engineers and her life after whistleblowing.
Bunny Greenhouse navigated sexism and racism to become the first black woman to enter the Army’s Senior Executive Service with the protocol of a Brigadier General. During the ramp-up to the Iraq War, Bunny found herself in a top-secret meeting room in the Pentagon surrounded by the higher echelons of military brass.
At this meeting, Bunny raised her hand in protest of a pattern of corrupt contracting activity orchestrated to guarantee the award of the largest sole source no-compete government contract to a company controlled by then-Vice President Dick Cheney, KBR-Halliburton.
“It was the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed in the course of my professional career,” Greenhouse said.
She was unable to halt the fraud, but her whistleblowing did usher in a sea-change to the laws governing the award of no-bid, sole-source contracts.
The qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act (FCA), do not extend to fraud carried out by the government. Instead, they apply to fraud engaged in by companies against the government. Therefore, Bunny had no protections under the FCA. Additionally, the weak laws that protect federal government employees explicitly exclude high-level government employees from coverage. It was nothing short of a guarantee that the day Bunny stood up to the billions of dollars in fraudulent contracting behavior, her career in government would end – and it did.
The Army was able to demote and remove Bunny from her contracting post and bar her from ever again entering the Senior Executive Service. No doubt, if the government ever established the equivariant of a Medal of Honor for whistleblowers, she would be guaranteed to be among the recipients.
Since leaving the government, Bunny turned to her true passion – teaching. Today Bunny Greenhouse is an adjunct professor at Northern Virginia Community College teaching students the honesty of math, where one plus one always equals two.
Meet the Whistleblower: