The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Tom Devine, GAP Legal Director

Charity Wilson, American Federation of Government Employees

Dave Colapinto, National Whistleblower Center

Donna Lenhoff, National Employment Lawyers Association

Marthena Cowart, Project on Government Oversight

Angela Canterbury, Public Citizen

Celia Wexler, Union of Concerned Scientists

Sarah Dufendach, Common Cause

Whistleblower Rights Amendment to Receive Vote During Stimulus Debate Today

A Joint Statement by GAP, the American Federation of Government Employees, National Whistleblower Center, NELA, POGO, Public Citizen, Union of Concerned Scientists


Today, our seven
organizations strongly urge all members of the House of Representatives to pass
a bipartisan amendment that would bring genuine accountability and oversight to
the stimulus spending bill, H.R. 1. We applaud Representatives Chris Van Hollen
(D-MD) and Todd R. Platts (R-PA) for offering an amendment to expand and
strengthen protections for federal workers charged with safeguarding the public
trust and taxpayer dollars.

Click here to read the amendment:

The Platts/Van Hollen Whistleblower Amendment is
identical to the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (H.R. 985), which
passed by a large bipartisan vote of 331-94 in the previous Congress on March
14, 2007. In a letter of support for this proposal, a broad coalition of
more than 260 organizations representing millions of individuals stressed:

protection is a foundation for any change in which the public can believe. It
does not matter whether the issue is economic recovery, prescription drug
safety, environmental protection, infrastructure spending, national health
insurance, or foreign policy. We need conscientious public servants willing and
able to call attention to bureaucratic corruption on behalf of the

Click here to read the letter, sent on Monday, January

Our groups are deeply concerned about the economic
crisis and its impact on individuals and families. Because so many Americans
are suffering the consequences of a contracting economy, it is now more
important than ever that we have transparency and accountability for every tax
dollar spent. The Van Hollen/Platts amendment sets a new, best practices
standard for transparency through accountability. Most significant, it creates
a permanent shield for federal employee and contractor whistleblowers who
challenge any misspending, and it will keep protecting taxpayers long after
stimulus funds are gone.

While the stimulus bill in its current form provides
protections for federal contractors and state and local employees, it does not
cover federal workers. Congress should not stop short of ensuring federal
employees the same protections. The Platts/Van Hollen amendment closes the gap
and provides essential protection for all federal workers. It's time for
Congress to enact whistleblower rights and accountability measures before the
taxpayers' money is spent. Our groups agree: By supporting the Platts/Van
Hollen amendment, Members of Congress are not just protecting whistleblowers;
they are protecting the taxpayers.