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Project on Government Oversight

Groups Hail Bi-Partisan Amendment Which Adds Federal Whistleblower Protections To Economic Stimulus Bill

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January 27, 2009

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) commends Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Todd R. Platts (R-PA), who have introduced a bi-partisan amendment to include language in the economic stimulus bill that would protect federal employees who report waste, fraud, and abuse. 

This amendment is drawn from the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (H.R. 985), which passed by a large bi-partisan vote of 331-94 in the last session of Congress on March 14, 2007. 

“It is high time that we protect the federal employees who bravely expose dangers to public health and safety, acts of fraud and gross mismanagement, and other serious misconduct,” said Danielle Brian, executive director at POGO.  “The good news is the economic stimulus package already protects many whistleblowers. The bad news is that it doesn’t protect federal whistleblowers, who are still left out in the cold,” Ms. Brian said.

This provision is essential because federal whistleblowers do not receive the protections due them by law through the Merit Systems Protection Board and the Office of Special Counsel.  

“We urge Congress to correct the glaring omission of the stimulus package which provides protections to state and local employees and government contractors, but does not give the same protections to federal workers,” Brian continued.

A broad coalition of 260 organizations representing millions of members supporting accountability and transparency sent a letter today to congressional leadership and President Obama supporting prompt passage of legislation to restore a credible Whistleblower Protection Act for federal employees. The coalition is urging Members of Congress to close this gap as they consider the impact of the multi-billion dollar stimulus package this week.

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.