Whistle-blower advocates persistence and the power of the individual as key tools to expressing moral courage
Principia hosted its 68th Moral Courage Speaker series on March 30th in Wanamaker. The Ernie and Lucha Vogel Moral Courage Speaker was Anthony Menendez who is known as “the accountant who beat Halliburton.”
Former Christian Science Monitor editor John Yemma instigated questions and audience members participated periodically. This was the first time that Principia streamed video onto Facebook of an event.
Whistleblower Menendez stood against immoral accounting practices while working for Halliburton, a company involved in the oil and gas industry. Halliburton unethically engaged in “bill-and-hold” a practice which deprived consumers of products and falsely inflated stock market values.
Menendez’ attempts to rectify this were rejected by Halliburton and SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). ” This resulted in a ten year case where Menendez represented himself and won.
His stance precipitated threats yet he said, he was “not going to change who I am. I’m not going to live my life afraid. If something happens to me then so be it.” This mirrored the definition of moral courage which Dr. Palmer outlined early in the night to include “self -sacrifice for the greater whole.”
As a whistleblower whose purpose it is to “do the right thing and prevent harm,” Menendez believes society “needs to expect effective regulation.” By effective he means enforced.
Senior John Challenger and non-traditional student Mathew Emden were inspired by his message, “individuals make a difference” through persistence. Senior Anna McMullen is inspired to examine how she can put this into practice. All students agreed that one can make a difference despite their status or power.
Menendez is enjoying speaking with college students and is currently writing a book about whistleblowing. His future is up in the air, but could include public service. Whatever the future holds, his whistleblowing and dedication to ethics will continue to have an impact.