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Project on Government Oversight

Senate Committee's Support of Whistleblower Protections Shows Commitment to Holding Government Accountable

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October 19, 2011

Statement of Angela Canterbury, Director of Public Policy,
Project On Government Oversight

We are grateful to the members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee who recognized again today that the current law to protect federal whistleblowers is woefully inadequate and took action to fix it. The committee’s unanimous vote to send the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) of 2011 (S. 743) to the full Senate reaffirms the strong bipartisan commitment to whistleblowers and taxpayers.

The bill modernizes and expands the law by making legal channels for disclosures of wrongdoing safer. Among other critical reforms, the bill closes gaping loopholes, provides protections for the intelligence community, and for the first time stipulates the right to a normal “day in court” for federal whistleblowers.

Government workers who expose waste, fraud and abuse should not have to fear being fired or demoted for doing the right thing. A stronger whistleblower law is long overdue. After years of negotiations and near-misses, this bill finally enjoys a bipartisan unity that has been scarce in Washington. There is now wide agreement that federal workers serving our country deserve these protections and taxpayers rely on whistleblowers to help get our government back on track. It’s time to make the bill law.

We urge Congress to waste no time in sending this better-government bill to the President’s desk before the end of the year. We cannot wait any longer for more accountability.

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) would like to thank Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) who re-introduced the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act this year along with co-sponsors Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Tom Carper (D-Del), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.).

Follow the link to read POGO’s letter to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

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.