Washington, D.C., January 27, 2009. Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment to the stimulus bill to include whistleblower protection for federal employees. This amendment will strengthen efforts to detect and deter waste, fraud, and abuse.
Representatives Todd R. Platts (R-PA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) proposed the amendment to include the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (H.R. 985) from last session’s Congress in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1).
On the floor of the House Speaker Pelosi personally endorsed this amendment quoting from the hundreds of organizations which have pushed for these reforms. The Speaker said, “With the adoption of the bipartisan Platts/Van Hollen Amenment… we have set a new standard of accountability and transparency by empowering federal employees to call attention to waste, fraud and abuse of tax dollars without fear of retaliation.” The Platts/Van Hollen amendment was passed with broad bi-partisan support by voice vote. Representative Todd R. Platts introduced the amendment stating that it was necessary “to ensure effective oversight and accountability.”
“The House scored a touchdown for whistleblowers,” said Stephen M. Kohn, the Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center.
“For the first time all federal employees will be protected when they expose waste, fraud and corruption in how federal tax dollars are spent. It has been proven that whistleblowers are the most effective way to detect and deter fraud. This amendment is critical for meaningful oversight and accountability,” added Kohn.
NWC General Counsel David Colapinto also expressed his strong support for the House action: “We are overjoyed that the House of Representatives voted to protect federal employee whistleblowers. This is a cornerstone of the stimulus law’s accountability and oversight sections. Federal whistleblowers play a vital role in detecting fraud.”
“Now is the time for the Senate to follow the House’s lead and vote for federal whistleblower protection in the final version of the stimulus legislation,” Colapinto added.
Over 260 public interest groups, from across the political spectrum, have signed on to a letter urging Congress to pass meaningful whistleblower protection for federal employees.