Statement Concerning the Senate Markup of the Whistleblower Enhancement Act

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

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 - 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.

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Since 1988, the NWC and attorneys associated with it have supported whistleblowers in the courts and before Congress and achieved victories for environmental protection, government contract fraud, nuclear safety and government and corporate accountability.

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