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Weekly Spotlight: A Big moment for a Crucial Bill

Next week in the Senate.

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Delivered to our subscribers on Saturdays, the Weekly Spotlight is a roundup of POGO's latest work and announcements. Sign up to get this newsletter delivered to your inbox.

Sometime next week, a crucial bill is scheduled to be marked up in the Senate. The bipartisan Expanding Whistleblower Protections for Contractors Act would make necessary updates to outdated protections for federal contractor employees who come forward with information about any corruption they witness in the government’s contract spending.

As POGO’s Joe Spielberger and Government Accountability Project’s Tom Devine point out in an op-ed, Congress has approved upwards of $4 trillion in new federal spending since 2020 alone. That money is directed in part to contractors, who carry out the government’s projects in every sector from defense and transportation to health care and disaster relief. The wide breadth of spending creates many opportunities for waste and fraud. Unfortunately, contractor employees who try to speak out against the misuse of funds face retaliation from their employers — enduring harassment and threats, and even risking losing their jobs, in large part because the whistleblower laws that are meant to shield them from this backlash haven’t been updated in years.

It is frankly in Congress’s best interest to ensure contractor employees feel safe coming forward to report the misuse of funds that they see — it helps them make sure the trillions they’re spending are actually being used as intended. However, the bill faces strong opposition from contractors that have previously been prosecuted for fraud. We're eager to see this bill passed, and we hope that members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will stand with taxpayers and support the bill through markup.

To understand the true cost of failing to protect contract whistleblowers, read a breakdown in a past edition of our newsletter, The Bridge.


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“This adds to the concern that Menendez is far too ethically compromised to serve on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.”

Nick Schwellenbach, Senior Investigator, in the Daily Beast