For Immediate Release
Contact: Tom Devine,
GAP Legal Director
Contact: Charity Wilson, American Federation of Government
Contact: Sarah Dufendach, Common Cause
Contact: Dave Colapinto, National Whistleblower Center
Contact: Donna Lenhoff, National Employment Lawyers
Contact: Marthena Cowart, Project on Government Oversight
Contact: Angela Canterbury, Public Citizen
Contact: Celia Wexler, Union of Concerned Scientists
Contact: Dane vonBreichenruchard, U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation
House Passage of Taxpayer Accountability Amendment Safeguards Stimulus Dollars
A Joint Statement by GAP, American Federation of Government Employees, Common Cause, National Whistleblower Center, National Employment Lawyers Association, Project On Government Oversight, Public Citizen, Union of Concerned Scientists, and U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation
WASHINGTON - Our nine organizations today are offering our public support and
appreciation for the House's unanimous acceptance of a taxpayer
accountability amendment yesterday.
The bipartisan amendment,
sponsored by Reps. Todd Platts (R-PA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
ensures that federal workers who expose waste, fraud and abuse in
government will be protected from retaliation. Current whistleblower
laws on the books fail to protect federal whistleblowers from being
fired, demoted or harassed. Since 1994, federal workers who were
retaliated against have won less than one percent of their cases.
Click here to read the amendment: http://www.whistleblower.org/doc/2008/Amend128.pdf
House amendment incorporates the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement
Act of 2007, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)
and then-Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), in addition to Representatives Platts
and Van Hollen in the last Congress. The House overwhelmingly approved
the bill by a bipartisan vote of 331 to 94 in March 2007.
Platts/VanHollen amendment had the strong backing of House Speaker
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who went to the House floor to speak for its
passage. The Speaker wisely understood that the amendment guarantees
that the stimulus package will disburse federal dollars in the most
effective and transparent way.
Our groups agree with the Speaker
that "It is inconceivable that the people's business had been conducted
so long without whistleblower protections to encourage every public
employee to do the right thing...whistleblowers save extraordinary sums
of money, protect the integrity of research done in federal labs, and
restore public confidence in the work of our nation."
groups also appreciate the support of House Oversight and Government
Reform Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Homeland Security Chairman
Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA), and Rep. Chellie
Pingree (D-ME), all who issued statements in favor of the amendment.
urge the Senate to ensure that its stimulus package, and the final
stimulus law sent to the president, contains these strong whistleblower
protections. Protecting federal whistleblowers is the best way to
protect taxpayers and American families.
The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is a 30-year-old nonprofit public interest group that promotes government and corporate accountability by advancing occupational free speech, defending whistleblowers, and empowering citizen activists. We pursue this mission through our Nuclear Safety, International Reform, Corporate Accountability, Food & Drug Safety, and Federal Employee/National Security programs. GAP is the nation's leading whistleblower protection organization.