|Federal Employee Whistleblower Protections Proposed for Stimulus Legislation|
Washington, DC. January 27, 2009. The Make It Safe Coalition, including the National Whistleblowers Center (NWC), has been advocating the addition of language to the economic stimulus bill that would protect federal employees who report waste, fraud and abuse. Late yesterday, Representatives Todd R. Platts (R-Pa) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md), sponsored a bipartisan proposal to include federal whistleblower protection as an essential part of the stimulus oversight.
Representatives Platts and Van Hollen propose an amendment to include last session's Whistleblower Protection and Enhancement Act (H.R. 985), in the stimulus legislation. H.R. 985 will strengthen the currently inadequate protections for federal employees who report waste, fraud and abuse.The Platts/Van Hollen amendment is scheduled for consideration today in the House Rules Committee meeting the begins at 3:00 p.m.
Protecting federal employees from whistleblower retaliation is not a wasteful ornament to the stimulus package, but is part of the tree. Whistleblower protection is essential for oversight and accountability of the billions of taxpayer dollars being spent in bailout and stimulus legislation. Numerous studies have shown that protecting whistleblowers is the most effective way to detect and deter fraud and waste.
An ad hoc group of Maryland residents called Action for Whistleblowers Now, lead by Corinne Kohn and Eva Jacobs, were instrumental in working with Representative Van Hollen's office to pass stronger whistleblower protections for the large number of federal employees that live in his district.
NWC Executive Director Stephen M. Kohn issued the following statement concerning the proposed amendment:
"Whistleblower protection is essential for meaningful oversight and accountability. The failure to protect individuals who have the courage to report waste, fraud, and abuse has a chilling effect on all federal employees."
The NWC applauds the bipartisan efforts of Representatives Platts and Van Hollen to protect whistleblowers. The NWC urges all citizens to ask their members of Congress to support genuine oversight by including federal whistleblower protections in the stimulus bill.