PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A whistleblower who uncovered a kickback scheme by fellow North Providence town councilmen has received a prestigious national award given for “acts of political courage.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Rhode Island says Paul Caranci was honored Wednesday in Washington by the National Association of Secretaries of State with the 2014 Margaret Chase Smith American Democracy Award. Past awardees have included former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and civil rights heroine Rosa Parks.

Caranci reported the scheme to the FBI when he learned of it, then acted as a confidential informant and helped to secretly record several conversations about the scheme. The three councilmen were convicted and sent to prison.

U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha says Caranci deserves the gratitude of all Rhode Islanders.

In all Caranci spent 17 months as the man identified in court paperwork as “confidential source #1.” Six years after making his first recorded phone call, flanked by two FBI agents, Caranci spoke exclusively to Target 12 Investigator Tim White out about his life undercover and the aftermath. Watch Wearing a Wire »