Washington, D.C. February 9, 2009. Bunnatine ("Bunny") H. Greenhouse,
the highest ranking procurement official to oppose the no-bid, cost
plus contracts to Halliburton for the reconstruction of Iraq, weighed
in on the need for Congress to include real whistlebower protections as
part of the stimulus-bailout bill (read her letter).
Greenhouse explained why strong whistleblower protection is essential
to the stimulus bill: "Those who should have protested [awarding the
Halliburton] contract remained silent. And their
silence is not surprising because, as federal employees, we have no
meaningful whistleblower protection! We can be fired for reporting
fraud. We can lose our careers
simply for doing our job and trying to protect the taxpayer."
blowing the whistle on the government's failure to properly award
multi-billion dollar no-bid contracts as the Iraq war was about to
start, Ms. Greenhouse was removed from her position. Under existing
law, she has no right to a jury trial and is barred from bring her
whistleblower claims before a federal court. The Platts-Van Hollen
amendment to the stimulus bill (Section IV of H.R. 1) corrects these
legal deficiencies and would provide whistleblower rights to federal
employees who object to "waste, fraud and abuse" in federal
Ms. Greenhouse, the former top civilian
contracting official for the Army Corps of Engineers, stated, "The
bottom line is that without
access to independent courts, real judges and juries, whistleblowers
don't stand a chance, and fairness and transparency will not see the
light day." She is asking fellow Americans
to contact their elected representatives and demand strong and
effective whistleblower protections for federal workers in order to
ensure that fraud in stimulus spending can be detected.
Recently the distinguished auditing firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers,
concluded that strong whistleblower protection is critical to halting
financial fraud. "Respected corporate auditors have recognized that
insider disclosure is critical to ferreting out fraud. The weaker the
protections, the greater the fraud. Federal employees have the worst
whistleblower protection imaginable and unless stronger whistleblower
protections are included in the stimulus bill an
awful lot of federal tax payer dollars will be flushed down the
toilet," said Michael
D. Kohn, General Counsel National Whistleblowers Center and Bunny Greenhouse's attorney.
case received widespread national and international attention because
she was the first and high-ranking government official to publicly
expose problems with the Bush Administration's Iraq war-contracting
practices. When the Rumsfeld Defense Department stripped her of all
contracting duties, major Congressional leaders protested, including
former Congressman Rahm Emanuel and Chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee Senator Byron Dorgan.
In a 2008 book, the PBS produces for the respected TV show "NOW"
described Greenhouse as a "cogent whistleblower" who "believes that
good government requires a certain amount of transparency, and that
corruption is best deterred by accountability."
The Greenhouse Letter
Spotlight on Bunny Greenhouse
Washington Post Feature on Greenhouse