Today, Congress sent to President Trump’s desk for signature the Dr. Chris Kirkpatrick Whistleblower Protection Act, which requires agencies to punish supervisors who have been found to have retaliated against whistleblowers. Currently, it’s at the agency’s discretion what to do with the supervisor. Though retaliation is illegal, supervisors often go unpunished or are even rewarded.
POGO Policy Counsel Elizabeth Hempowicz issued the following statement:
The Project On Government Oversight has supported mandatory punishments against those who retaliate against whistleblowers for years because we have seen too often agencies using their discretion to not only not punish those supervisors, but reward their illegal behavior. This legislation, while not perfect, resets the dial so that those who retaliate against whistleblowers will no longer escape punishment.
Congress passed similar legislation for the VA last year, and its implementation has earned criticism from the whistleblower community. We therefore encourage Congress to closely oversee the implementation of this law to make sure that it is done so in accordance with the spirit of the legislation, and isn't used as a tool to further retaliate against those who come forward to expose fraud, waste, abuse, and illegality in the government.