Today, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) and Project on Government Oversight (POGO) praised Senator Claire McCaskill’s introduction of legislation to make “best practice” whistleblowers rights, first passed in the stimulus bill, permanent for all federal government contractors. The reform covers institutions receiving federal funds, whether as contracts, grants or other reimbursements like Medicare funds. As in the stimulus, the measure would apply to state and local governments receiving federal funds, as well as corporations or nonprofits. If Congress extends its stimulus reform, the bill will become the nation’s broadest-ranging government accountability reform in history.
Identical language to the McCaskill bill was unanimously included in the stimulus law. It provides “no loopholes” free speech protection for anyone who provides services for an organization receiving federal funds. These rights can be enforced by a jury trial in federal court. Further, an agency’s Inspector General must investigate whistleblower’s underlying charges of fraud, waste or abuse.
GAP Legal Director Tom Devine stated, “Kudos to Senator McCaskill. Whistleblowers are the nation’s best resource against corrupt spending and abuses of power. In recent years, government increasingly has contracted out its public service duties to private corporations. That has created an accountability gap, which Senator McCaskill convinced Congress to close for stimulus spending. In an era of trillion dollar deficits, there is no excuse to limit America’s most effective resource against fraud, waste or abuse to stimulus funds.”
POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian stated, “We are grateful for Senator McCaskill's uncompromising and courageous commitment to the protection of the rights of contractor whistleblowers like the Kabul security guards. Since coming to the Senate, her record of achievement in making the federal government more accountable and transparent is unsurpassed.”
GAP is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization, with a mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability.