|Poison Pills in Senate Whistleblower Bill May Become Law|
For months, we've been telling you about the dangerous provisions included in the Senate version of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (S. 372). We have now learned that S. 372 is being "hotlined," a process by which legislation can be passed through unanimous consent, without any debate or a roll-call vote.
A whistleblower protection enhancement bill should improve protections for whistleblowers, not destroy protections that have been in place for years. The impact of these provisions on national security whistleblowers will be devastating. Your intervention on this issue is crucial.
S. 372 repeals the FBI whistleblower protection law! Originally passed in 1978, improved in 1989, and given strong teeth by President Clinton in 1997, the law has been instrumental in permitting FBI agents to expose abuses ranging from civil rights violations, agent misconduct, and threats to our nations security. (see p.46)
Agency heads of the Justice Department, Commerce Department and security agencies (Defense Department etc.), covering over half the federal workforce, are given the power to unilaterally fire a whistleblower with no administrative or judicial review. (see p.73)
National security whistleblowers are denied the right to have their retaliation cases reviewed by independent agencies, such as the Office of Special Counsel or the Inspector General and they are denied the right to court access. Instead, the very agency that fired the whistleblower is given exclusive power to conduct the "fact finding" investigation into whether that agency broke the law. (see p.70)
A new procedural roadblock impacting every federal employee was inserted into this 105-page bill. This provision gives all federal agencies the power to request the dismissal of a whistleblower case without giving the employee an opportunity to have a hearing and will prevent most employees from obtaining a jury trial. (see p.57)
TAKE ACTION! Demand that your Senator personally withhold consent of S.372 until these critical corrections are made.
"Hotlining" requires unanimous consent, which gives you a unique opportunity to ensure this bill does not pass as is. Every Senator, regardless of committee assignment, has the opportunity to weigh in on this legislation.
It only takes one Senator's demand that these issues be fixed in order to stop this Trojan horse from destroying existing whistleblower protections. That Senator can be yours. Please TAKE ACTION and contact your Senator today!
Former FBI Special Agent, 25-Year Veteran
Director of FBI Oversight, National Whistleblowers Center
Former FBI translator
Founder National Security Whistleblowers Coalition