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Project on Government Oversight

House Appropriations Stimulus Bill Omits Protections For Federal Whistleblowers

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January 16, 2009

The Project On Government Oversight has just learned of a troubling discrepancy in the economic stimulus bill introduced earlier today. While the House Appriations Committee's press summary promised protections for both federal and state whistleblowers, the full text of the bill released later only mentions state and local whistleblowers.

Press summary, p. 2:
"Federal and state whistleblowers who report fraud and abuse are protected." [emphasis added]

Full text of the bill, pp. 25-26:
"Sec. 1243. Protecting State and Local Government and Contractor Whistleblowers.
(a) Prohibition of Reprisals--An employee of any non-Federal employer receiving funds made available in this Act may not be discharged, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against as a reprisal for disclosing..." [emphasis added]

While the bill does include crucial accountability provisions to protect taxpayers from wasteful spending and pork barrel projects, once again federal whistleblowers are left out.

What this means is that while today's bill sets a precedent for disclosure and transparency, the only people in the entire country left without protections will be federal employees. 

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.