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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GAP Praises House Whistleblower Protection Bill
WASHINGTON - March 12 - The Government Accountability Project (GAP) praised House sponsors who introduced legislation today to overhaul the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) for "persistence and leadership to lock in accountability before stimulus spending gears up." The bipartisan team led by Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D.-MD.) and Todd Platts (R.-PA.) is acting promptly to pass federal whistleblower rights as free standing legislation, after Senate conferees objected to including identical safeguards as amendments to last month's stimulus law.
Van Hollen and Platts were joined by House Government Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns (D.-NY), and Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) the reform's floor manager last month when the same team successfully inserted it in the House stimulus proposal. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D.-CA) also sponsored the legislation.
GAP Legal Director Tom Devine commented: "The House should act quickly to lock in accountability before the stimulus gears up. Otherwise, unprecedented new spending will be an unprecedented opportunity for fraud, waste and abuse."
Click here for Rep. Van Hollen's statement: http://www.whistleblower.org/
Click here for Rep. Towns' statement: http://www.whistleblower.org/
Click here for Rep. Braley's statement: http://www.braley.house.gov/
The sponsors' landmark good government reform has four cornerstones: 1) restoring free speech rights on paper to their 1994 high water mark, before being gutted by 15 years of hostile judicial activism; 2) filling coverage gaps so all employees paid by the taxpayers are protected, including national security whistleblowers, airport baggage screeners and government contractors for all federal spending, instead of just stimulus funds; 3) closing protection loopholes against common forms of harassment such as retaliatory investigations and removal of security clearances; and 4) full court access to enforce the rights.
While currently there is a so-called whistleblower law on paper for federal workers, Devine warned, "In reality, today's WPA is a trap that operates as an efficient machine to enforce secrecy by rubber stamping retaliation against all naïve enough to take their rights seriously." Since 1994 amendments, the track record at the Federal circuit Court of Appeals with a monopoly of appellate review is 3-208 against whistleblowers for decisions on the merits. At the administrative Merit Systems Protection Board, whistleblowers' only chance for a day in "court," the track record is 1-55 against them since 2000.
Devine added, "This badly-needed accountability measure follows through on President Obama's campaign promise for federal whistleblowers: best practice free speech rights enforced by full access to court for all employees paid with government funds. Taxpayers should appreciate persistence and leadership by Representatives Van Hollen and Platts. The bi-partisan team they assembled successfully inserted this spending safeguard in the House stimulus legislation last month. Now, the House must reaffirm that mandate."