Press Releases

Recent Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Earlier this week, President Barack Obama signed into law new
legislation to better protect federal employees who come forward to reveal government waste, fraud, abuse, and other wrongdoing.  This bipartisan legislation, The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, was authored by Senators Susan Collins and Daniel Akaka (D-HI).

 

"Our new law makes crystal clear that federal employees should not be subject to prior
restraint from, or punishment for, disclosing wrongdoing," said Senator Collins. "The whistleblowers' law will help give federal workers the peace of mind that if they speak out, they will be protected.  Whistleblower protections will also help ensure that Congress has access to the information necessary to conduct proper oversight.   It is important to note a major change made by the Akaka-Collins law is that, for the first time, the U.S. Office of the Special Counsel will have the tools needed to enforce the
law."

 

In case you missed it, this new law was praised in an editorial in today’s New York
Times
:

 

New Protections for Whistle-Blowers

 

Daring to blow the whistle on government waste, fraud and mismanagement has never been an easy course for federal workers, who too often suffered retaliation by their superiors. Finally, on Tuesday, after a 13-year trip through Congress, legislation more
firmly protecting whistle-blowers’ rights was signed by President Obama
.

 

The law makes it easier to take action against supervisors who punish whistle-blowers and extends coverage to Transportation Security Administration screeners at the nation’s airports. Expanded rights will allow workers to challenge government policy decisions, and government scientists will be able to file challenges if they think regulations are being used to mask official mistakes.

 

One area that Congress declined to include in the new protections — the intelligence and national security agencies — was included by President Obama in a new policy directive issued in October. It extends whistle-blower rights to workers with access to classified information, who previously were silenced under a blanket of secrecy. The changes will
substantially reduce the hazards for conscientious workers who come forward with information on potential abuse and misbehavior.

 

Proponents had argued that the rulings of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the sole reviewer of federal whistle-blower decisions, often narrowed workers’ rights. That court found for whistle-blowers only three times in 229 cases in 18 years, accordingto one study.

 

The new law includes a two-year experiment that will allow more federal courts to review whistle-blower cases. It also strengthens a worker’s right to complain to
Congress about workplace abuses and creates an ombudsman’s job in federal
agencies to educate workers about their new rights. Taxpayers should applaud
the new law and wonder what took Congress so long.

 

 

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