The book's title suggests the frivolity of an old television show: "Truth . . . and Consequences."
The subtitle suggests something more: "Seven Who Would Not Be Silenced."
Greg Mitchell's book, the main subject of attention at last night's reception in the Rayburn building, is actually a collection of accounts of citizens who exposed wrong-doings. Steve Boyan from the Washington Ethical Society, one of the panelists at the pre-reception program, said the book is about whistleblowers who "committed truth."
"These seven people saw things that were not going right and decided to speak," said Rep. Albert Gore (D-Tenn.).
"I'm just sorry Washington's latest whistleblower couldn't make it -- David Stockman," Mitchell said when he took his turn at the microphone. "He must know what it's like to blow the whistle and then see nothing done."
He quoted Mark Twain and a Japanese proverb and let the whistleblowers tell their stories.
"We were average citizens standing up to do what we had to do," said Lois Gibbs, one of the unsilenced seven who was written about for her activist work at the contaminated Love Canal. "Sure, I gave three years of my life, my marriage, took lots of harassment; but it was well worth it."
Others among the seven at the reception -- Hugh Kaufman, Maude DeVictor and Ron Donell -- agreed on the value of their causes and gave brief descriptions of their crusades.
DeVictor, according to the book, "uncovered the possible far-reaching effects of the herbicide Agent Orange on American G.I.'s." Said DeVictor, who works with the Veterans Administration hospitals, "When one has a vision to see the omen, one has a duty to foretell."
The program, which followed a casual half-hour of mingling with wine, cheese and about 125 guests, was opened by Louis Clark, executive director of the Government Accountability Project, which was a cosponsor of the evening along with the Washington Ethical Society.
"Because those seven acted," Clark said, "the world moved . . . a little."
And moving the world, or at least bureaucracy -- by investigating scams, rip-offs, frauds and cover-ups -- is the day's work for the Government Accountablity Project.
"We don't just go and blast some government agency," said Clark. "We work with them . . . then if they don't do anything, we blast them."
From the National Archives, where there is a current investigation into documents being thrown away, to the Pentagon, Clark and his team are in the process of looking into about 60 cases reported to them by whistleblowers with not only local governmental problems, but also corporate cases in Ohio, Oklahoma, Florida and New York.
"Perhaps they view us at first as a gnat on their backs, but then they realize we're a little more formal than that," Clark said.
The program ended with a question from a skeptic in the audience. Did they really feel they would do it all again?
"People would say, 'Ron, Why?' and I would say, 'Why Not?'
"I was young, idealistic," explained Donell, who according to the book "went undercover to gather evidence against a corrupt prosecutor and two reputed mobsters."
"I was always taught as a young man by my parents to be honest. I can remember ever since I was a little boy I'd talk to my Dad and I'd always say I wanted to be a sheriff, was going to be a sheriff when I grew up.
"And he said to me, 'Well, if you run, and if you win, just you be honest.'
"And that's what I tried to do."