Eleanor Schmitt was a courageous employee of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare. Assigned to a branch office in the Homewood-Brushton district of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she became concerned about clear cases of fraud in overpayments. State investigators also had detected budgetary anomalies. There were also problems with illegal drug trafficking and other crimes.
In the early 1970’s, Mrs. Schmitt began cooperating with then U.S. District Attorney Richard Thornburgh’s office (Later Governor of Pennsylvania and U.S. Attorney General for Ronald Reagan). She survived what was an apparent attempt on her life resulting in her immediate transfer the following day to a new assignment. As a result of her efforts, convictions resulted, including the former Director of the Welfare Office in question.