Backing Whistleblowers

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Backing Whistleblowers

Washington Post. May 1, 2009.  A bipartisan group from the House wants President Obama to put the power of his administration behind whistleblowers. In a letter sent to him yesterday, the representatives urged the president to support legislation that would strengthen whistleblower protections and to issue an Executive Order. The suggested order would establish a program to review cases of alleged retaliation against whistleblowers, the letter said, “and where significant injustice has occurred, to make the employee whole by restoring them to government service.”

Whistleblowers have repeatedly sounded an alarm about government actions that led to waste, fraud and abuse, according to the letter writers.

“Unfortunately, we cannot expect government employees to continue to sacrifice their careers and risk their own families’ security without signals from your Administration that they will be protected,” the representatives wrote. “As you may know, ‘legal’ victories for employees who have been retaliated against for blowing the whistle are almost non-existent.”

Those arguments probably will be viewed sympathetically by the president, which is not to say he will do all the representatives ask. He has supported whistleblower rights in the past and has made transparency in government a hallmark of his administration.

The letter was signed by Democrats Carolyn B. Maloney (N.Y.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.), Edolphus Towns (N.Y.), Bruce L. Braley (Iowa) and Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.), and Republicans Ken Calvert (Calif.) and Todd R. Platts (Pa.)

By Joe Davidson
Washington Post Staff Writer

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