President Obama and Congressional Leaders, Make Whistleblowers a Priority in the Lame Duck
Dear Mr. President, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Reid, Leader McConnell, and Leader Boehner:
We have heard that you all agree on at least one issue: This country must address our growing federal debt and cannot afford to tolerate waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government. With this crisis looming, you must fulfill your commitments to taxpayers and enact strong legislation protecting federal whistleblowers in this lame duck session of Congress.
Protecting whistleblowers is a reform that has strong support across ideological lines. The groups on this letter are united in this urgent request that federal employees, the foot soldiers in the war on waste, fraud and abuse, get the protections they deserve. They must be able to fight back when they are fired, harassed or demoted in retaliation for their efforts to protect the public health and safety and taxpayer dollars.
Unfortunately, under current law the Merit Systems Protection Board rules against 99% of whistleblowers who file suit to defend themselves against retaliation. Fear of committing career suicide leads federal workers to become silent observers when they witness fraud, waste or abuse. Congress can and must enact a whistleblower reform law that ensures that federal whistleblowers who are punished for speaking the truth have the tools they need to fight that retaliation, and win. Congress must significantly strengthen these protections, but time is running short. Passage of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act must be a priority for the lame duck.
We know that whistleblowers save money. Each year, whistleblower lawsuits under the False Claims Act save taxpayers nearly one billion dollars. A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study of corporations globally found that employee disclosures were responsible for detection of more fraud than auditors, internal compliance officers and law enforcement combined.
There is no reason for inaction on noncontroversial, bipartisan whistleblower protection legislation. If you are serious about responding to American voters, reducing the debt, and ensuring the integrity of government, you will do all you can to make “best-practices” whistleblower reform a reality this year.
Affiliation of Christian Engineers
American Association of Law Libraries
American Civil Liberties Union
American Federation of Government Employees
AFGE Council 238
Association of American Publishers
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights
Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger
Coalition For Change, Inc.
Concerned Citizens of Petersburg
Congress Against Racism And Corruption in Law Enforcement
D.C. Employment Justice Center
Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO
Disaster Accountability Project
Energy Justice Network
Ethics in Government Group
FAA Whistleblowers Alliance
Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association
Fund for Constitutional Government
Focus On Indiana - Legal Reform Campaign
Foundation for Global Community/Atlanta
Fund For Constitutional Government
Government Accountablity Project
Help Abolish Legal Tyranny (HALT)
Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings
Implode-Explode Heavy Industry, Inc.
International Association of Whistleblowers
MPD Productions, Inc.
National Coalition of Organized Women
National Family Farm Coalition
National Forum On Judicial Accountability (NFOJA)
National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc.
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
National Taxpayers Union
National Treasury Employees Union
New Media Rights
New Mexico Environmental Law Center
New Orleans Women’s Shelter
Northwest Environmental Advocates
OAK - Organizations Associating for the Kind of Change America Really Needs
Oregon Wildlife Federation
POPULAR, Inc- Power Over Poverty Under Laws of America Restored
Private Citizen, Inc.
Project On Government Oversight
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)
Semmelweis Society International
Sustainable Energy and Economy Network
Texas State Community Council - Abilene Division
The Employment Law Group
U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation
U.S. Justice Watch
Union of Concerned Scientists
Voices for Corporate Responsibility