The Fight for Whistleblower Protections is Making Headlines — Thanks to All Supporters!!!

Posted on February 18, 2009 by Marshall Chriswell

Link to Original:  http://www.whistleblowersblog.org/2009/02/articles/whistleblowers-government-empl/the-fight-for-whistleblower-protections-is-making-headlines-thanks-to-all-supporters/index.html

 

As you know, we have been waging an intense campaign for new whistleblower protection laws. We have experienced recent victories and setbacks. And now, prominent whistleblowers like Bunny Greenhouse are calling us all to action. Throughout this campaign, our staff has been incredibly impressed with the level of support shown by our blog readers, facebook users, and all other online grassroots supporters. We have sent thousands of letters to Congress and we are achieving real change!!! 

This groundswell of support is driving a national conversation about whistleblower rights, which is evidenced by the fact that the national news media is paying very close attention to these recent developments. Just today, there are two stories in the Washington Post detailing the struggle for whistleblower protections for federal employees, and especially national security whistleblowers. See the links below for the articles.

 

“Advocates Determined to See Whistleblower Protections Pass”

“Obama, Gates at Odds Over New Whistleblower Protections”

Tags: Bunny Greenhouse, Government Whistleblowers, National Security, congress, national security whistleblowers, washington post, whistleblower laws, whistleblower protections

 

 

Update From Bunny Greenhouse:

Fight For Whistleblower Protection Continues!

 

 

Dear Friends,

As you may have heard, whistleblower protection for federal employees was stripped from the final version of the stimulus bill during closed-door meetings.  Like you, I was distraught that Congress missed this historic opportunity, but then I realized we have taken a giant step forward in the fight to obtain whistleblower protection for all federal employees.

The House of Representative strongly backed the whistleblower amendment. We now know where the problem lies.  We know where we need to focus our efforts.  As a nation, we must educate our friends on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs.  We need to explain why all federal employees must have access to federal court and a jury trial.

Even though the amendment was not included in the final stimulus bill, the progress we made was worth the effort.   Strong protections for private sector and state and local officials did make it into the law.  That’s a major partial victory.   

We can’t lose this momentum!  We can achieve protection for all whistleblowers – including federal employees.  

We need to continue to use our collective voice to achieve true oversight and accountability. We know the only way to accomplish this is to reach out to Americans at the grassroots level.  Those of you from Louisiana to Maine, who have supported me, and other whistleblowers like me, must come together to spread the word.  

We need accountability and oversight!  We need to protect the taxpayers from waste, fraud and abuse!  We need to detect those who commit fraud and bring them to justice!  We need to protect every federal employee who has the courage to challenge favoritism and corruption in federal contracting!

We are so close!  We know that a majority of Senators would support strong whistleblower protections if they were allowed to vote on it.  We need to get it to a vote! This is the closest we have come to full whistleblower protections for federal employees in over 30 years and we cannot let one set back slow us down.  My faith in the power of the American people to stand united and demand that their leaders “do the right thing,” despite overwhelming pressure from special interests, is unyielding.

The hardworking people at the National Whistleblowers Center have put together a new petition addressed at the Senate committee that needs to take immediate action to protect federal employees.  I know many of you signed the earlier petition, but I ask you to sign this new petition now and then pass it on to your friends and family.  

The outpouring of love and support that I have received from all across America has given me encouragement through the tough times in my life and has made all my sacrifices worthwhile. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have done.

Thanks again for all that you will do!

THE FIGHT FOR JUSTICE MUST GO ON!

 

 

Very truly yours,

 

 

 

Bunnatine H. Greenhouse
Former Procurement Executive
Army Corps of Engineers

 

 

 

 

Former Federal Procurement Exec Highlights Need for
Whistleblower Protection in Stimulus Bill

 

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).

Ms. 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.”

After 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 contracting.  

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.

Greenhouse’s 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