POGO and allies, more than 400 taxpayer, environmental, science, consumer, faith-based, civil rights and transparency groups spanning the ideological spectrum today called on Congress and President Obama to work to enact a strong federal whistleblower protection law as soon as possible. Enactment of a strong whistleblower protection reform law will restore credible free speech rights for federal workers who challenge government illegality, fraud, waste or abuse.
In a letter publicized by the Make It Safe Coalition (http://www.makeitsafecampaign.org/), 404 groups endorsed the following appeal to America’s political leadership:
Whistleblower protection is a foundation for any change in which the public can believe. It does not matter whether the issue is economic recovery, prescription drug safety, environmental protection, infrastructure spending, national health insurance, or foreign policy. We need conscientious public servants willing and able to call attention to waste, fraud and abuse on behalf of the taxpayers. Unfortunately, every month that passes has very tangible consequences for federal government whistleblowers, because none have viable rights.
In 1994, Congress unanimously passed and strengthened the Whistleblower Protection Act, but the free speech mandate on paper consistently failed in practice because it was not backed by normal due process rights. In their letter, the groups called for a law with teeth, starting with normal access to court for all employees paid by the taxpayers to enforce their rights – as Congress has done in ten laws for corporate whistleblowers since 2002. The letter also calls for meaningful rights for national security employees. Currently, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, which would address several of these issues, is pending passage in both the Senate (S. 372) and the House (H.R. 1507).
A copy of the letter can be viewed here.