Press Release
December 22, 2023

WASHINGTON – The spirit of old Ebenezer Scrooge—the cold-hearted miser in the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol—rules the FBI this holiday season as the Bureau is asserting the authority to block the family of an FBI whistleblower from accepting charitable gifts from the general public. The claim is reminiscent of Scrooge’s scorn for private charity in favor of prisons and workhouses.

Since November 1, 2023, Empower Oversight has been pressing the Bureau to explain how its regulations might apply to a crowdsourced fundraising campaign to ease financial hardships for the families of two employees the FBI has wrongfully suspended without pay.  In a series of written exchanges through December 21, 2023, the FBI has suggested that ethics rules might forbid the whistleblower’s families from accepting certain donations.

Empower Oversight represents one of the suspended employees, FBI whistleblower Marcus Allen, who has not received an FBI paycheck for nearly two years. During that time, Mr. Allen has lost other employment and income opportunities while waiting for FBI approvals and internal appeals procedures that have been slow-walked and stonewalled by FBI bureaucrats.

Throughout this limbo, Allen has declined to cash a check written to him by the creator of the fundraiser while seeking to understand whether accepting the funds might impact his ability to challenge the FBI’s retaliatory suspension. Although the FBI has neither paid him nor allowed him to work since February 2022, it insists he is bound by rules on accepting gifts as if he were still an active FBI employee. However, the Bureau has failed to approve compromise proposals offered by his attorneys to screen individual donations to ensure each compliance with the regulations.

“The evils of old Scrooge have nothing on the FBI’s weaponization of administrative inertia and inaction to violate the legal and constitutional rights of whistleblowers. The process is a vice designed to squeeze Marcus and his family financially until they give up the fight to vindicate his good name,” said Jason Foster, Founder of Empower Oversight.

“The FBI has yet to learn the lessons of generosity and kindness that transformed Scrooge and that motivated thousands of Americans to open their hearts and wallets to the families of these whistleblowers. Instead, the Bureau is standing between those generous donors and the families they wanted to help,” Foster said.

On May 18, 2023, Marcus Allen and Empower Oversight President Tristan Leavitt testified before the House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on Federal Government Weaponization about how the FBI has abused the security clearance process to circumvent whistleblower protections and retaliate against employees who report wrongdoing.

On October 20, 2023, Empower Oversight filed a 26-page appeal with the FBI citing evidence from its own files contradicting its alleged basis for revoking his security clearance. The FBI has yet to reply or commit to a deadline by which it will reply.