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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: National Whistleblowers Center
Stephen M. Kohn (202) 342-6980
David K. Colapinto (202) 342-6980
Lindsey M. Williams (202) 342-1903
Statement Concerning the Senate Markup of the Whistleblower Enhancement Act
WASHINGTON - July 29 - Today the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs issued its markup of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2009 (S. 372). In response to the Senate Committee action, the Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center, Mr. Stephen M. Kohn issued the following statement:
“The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs has taken a step towards fixing the broken federal whistleblower protection system. We urge the House and Senate Members to work together to pass truly effective reforms for federal employees. The Senate did the right thing in putting forward a provision, which permits federal employees to remove their cases to federal court. However, we hope the procedural and substantive limitations on these fundamental due process rights will be removed as the bill proceeds.”
“We are disappointed that the Senate bill incorporates a number of provisions into the proposed law which reduce current rights exercised by some employees. Most notably, the national security provision significantly undercuts the current authority of Inspectors General to investigate whistleblower retaliation claims. The Senate bill also repeals an important provision under current law that mandates that the Attorney General provide administrative protections for FBI employees.
“We continue to urge the Senate to further amend S. 372 to include key protections contained in the House version of the bill (H.R. 1507). The Obama Campaign explicitly endorsed the House bill, as did numerous other leading 2008 presidential candidates, such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Arkansas Governor Michael Huckabee. We expect President Obama to fulfill this vital non-partisan campaign promise.”
“Given the huge increases in federal spending, combined with the clear need for strong oversight and accountability of federal power and the use of taxpayer dollars, there is an urgent need for President Obama to ensure that his campaign promise is fully implemented.”
NWC General Counsel David K. Colapinto's expert analysis of the bill that emerges from markup will be published later today at www.whistleblowers.org. Mr. Colapinto has represented federal employee whistleblowers for over 20 years and has been actively involved in the legislative development of both bills.