Tag Archive: Whistleblower Protection


I read a post today on the POGO blog by Angela Canterbury and Suzanne Dershowitz, titled:  “Conservatives Tell Rep. Issa:  Federal Whistleblowers, and Taxpayers, Deserve Their Day in Court.”

The issue is the concept that federal whistleblowers are entitled to protections and should have the right to use the courts and our legal system to hold the federal government accountable for waste, fraud, abuse, and illegal and unethical acts.  And they should have recourse for the government or agents of the government exacting reprisal on federal whistleblowers for being…. well whistleblowers.    

Representative Darrell Issa (R-California) is being pressured by press in his own district to “fulfill his promise of protections for federal whistleblowers.” 

The Senate Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act was passed in May.  The House version is said to ignore the need for federal whistleblowers to have access to the legal system and the courts.  Issa is criticized for not seeing to it that federal whistleblowers have the same standard in federal whistleblower law that already exists for private sector whistleblowers.  Further criticism of the current system is that federal whistleblowers take very large risks and rarely prevail in an iffy system where the government “always wins.” 

Federal whistleblowers must have access to the courts and our legal system.  The process should not be rigged against them, assuring they will endure massive reprisal and career destruction, and take on massive legal costs to try to prevail against what looms as a monolith of self-protection in the case of corruption and cover-ups at the expense of federal whistleblowers and their families.  GFS 

Link to original POGO blog post:

http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/2012/08/conservatives-tell-rep-issa-federal-whistleblowers-and-taxpayers-deserve-their-day-in-court.html#more

Here is another story sent by Government Accountability Project (GAP).  GFS

 

GAO Report Slams Labor Dept. Program to Protect Whistleblowers

Posted by admin2 • September 17, 2010

by Marian Wang, ProPublica

The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration — the federal agency responsible for worker safety — isn’t adequately protecting whistleblowers from retaliation by their employers, according to a report (PDF) released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office.

OSHA’s whistleblower protection program, which is responsible for “receiving and investigating most whistleblower complaints filed by nonfederal workers,” hasn’t gotten enough attention from the agency, the report said.

“We found that OSHA has done little to ensure that investigators have the necessary training and equipment to do their jobs, and that it lacks sufficient internal controls to ensure that the whistleblower program operates as intended,” it concluded.

The Center for Public Integrity reported in July that claims of reprisal from whistleblowers were, for the most part, dismissed by OSHA’s whistleblower protection program. From CPI:

Since Congress passed the landmark Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reform law in 2002, the U.S. Department of Labor upheld 25 whistleblower claims under the law — and tossed out 1,066 claims, according to figures available through June 30. That translates into a winning percentage of little more than 2 percent for workers seeking whistleblower status.

At the time, OSHA chief David Michaels told CPI he was “concerned with the statistics,” and had ordered a “top-to-bottom review” of the program.

He mentioned the review again in a statement responding to the GAO’s report.

“With our available resources, OSHA is working hard to ensure that whistleblowers are protected from retaliation,” Michaels said. He added that OSHA had begun taking action on some of the GAO’s recommendations, and was studying others.

The GAO report comes at a time when Congress is trying to encourage more whistleblowing. The Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, for instance, contained a provision promising greater incentives to individuals blowing the whistle on violations of securities law.

ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.   This article is republished with permission under a Creative Commons license.

Link to original story:  http://business-ethics.com/2010/09/17/1323-gao-report-slams-labor-dept-program-to-protect-whistleblowers/

From the National Whistleblowers Center

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Dear Action Alert Member,

This morning the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing “Protecting the Public from Waste, Fraud and Abuse: H.R. 1507, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2009.” Whistleblower Bunny Greenhouse and NWC General Counsel David Colapinto testified at this critical hearing in which whistleblower advocates rebutted arguments by federal executive agencies bent on defeating federal employee whistleblower protections.  To read testimony from the hearing participants click here.

 

We learned from DOJ testimony that there is still work to be done in order to achieve protection for national security employees.  We need your help to let Congress and the administration know that true transparency will not be achieved without protecting national security employees.  Click here to send a letter to Congress and President Obama demanding support for H.R. 1507.  If you have already taken action, you can still help federal employees by forwarding this message on to your friends and family.

 

Thank you for your continued support.

 

Sincerely,

 

Stephen M. Kohn

President

National Whistleblowers Center

 

National Whistleblowers Center
3238 P Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
http://www.whistleblowers.org

 

              For More Information Contact: 
David K. Colapinto, Michael D. Kohn and
Stephen M. Kohn (202) 342-6980
Lindsey M. Williams (202) 342-1903
Cell (570) 362-3179

PRESS STATEMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE OPPOSES COURT ACCESS
FOR NATIONAL SECURITY WHISTLEBLOWERS

President Obama Urged to Reject DOJ Opposition to Whistleblower Protection

 

 

Washington, D.C. , May 14, 2009.  In testimony presented today by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Policy, the DOJ opposed giving national security whistleblowers judicial due process protections.  The policy presented by the DOJ was in stark contrast to the position taken by President Obama during the presidential campaign, when his campaign endorsed judicial protection for all federal employee whistleblowers.  

In response to the DOJ position, David K. Colapinto, General Counsel of the National Whistleblowers Center, and Michael D. Kohn, attorney for Bunnatine Greenhouse, issued the following statements on behalf of the National Whistleblowers Center:

“Without granting national security whistleblowers full court access, the administrative scheme proposed by the Department of Justice is doomed to fail.”  

“The Obama administration should not bend to the pressure of the national security bureaucracy.  That bureaucracy  retaliated against whistleblowers who warned of the 9/11 attack and misled the American people concerning the justifications for invading Iraq.”  

“That same bureaucracy removed Bunnatine Greenhouse from her job as the top civilian procurement officer at the Army Corps of Engineers.  Greenhouse was the only federal official who opposed the billion dollar no-bid contracts for Halliburton – contracts that cost the taxpayers billions of dollars in waste and fraud during the “reconstruction” of Iraq.  Under the DOJ proposal, Greenhouse would remain without any effective means to vindicate her rights.”

“Over the past twenty-five years, weak and ineffective administrative remedies for federal employee whistleblowers have completely failed.  We cannot afford more of the same.  Federal employees need whistleblower reforms that will actually result in real protections.”

 

“DOJ justified stripping whistleblowers from access to court under the pretext of protecting confidentiality.  However, the Justice Department ignored the findings of a comprehensive General Accounting Office report. The GAO concluded that whistleblowers can have full due process rights (including access to courts) without jeopardizing national security.  The GAO identified specific procedures currently in place that would prevent the improper release of classified information if national security employees were provided full court access.”

 

 “The Obama administration must live up to its campaign promise to support the House Bill which ensures court access for all federal employees.”

 

“It is more important than ever that every American contact their member of Congress and urge them in the strongest possible terms to provide courageous whistleblowers with the protections they need.  These courageous employees who risk their jobs and careers to expose waste, fraud, and corruption deserve our support.” 

 

Witness testimonies and other information concerning the May 14, 2009 Hearings before the House Committee on Government Oversight may be obtained here.

 

National Whistleblowers Center
3238 P Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
http://www.whistleblowers.org

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Lindsey M. Williams (202) 342-1903
or email at lmw@whistleblowers.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

Whistleblower Groups Ask President to Reaffirm Campaign Promises

 

 

Washington, D.C.  April 1, 2009.  Today, the National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) joined 10 other public interest groups in urging President Obama to reaffirm his campaign commitments to strengthen whistleblower protections.  The letter urged the President to strongly endorse legislation that would protect all federal employees, including national security employees, from retaliation and give them access to jury trials.  The letter also asked the President to appoint a liaison to the whistleblower community as promised in his response to the NWC’s campaign survey.

NWC President Stephen M. Kohn stated, “Now is the time to act. We look forward to working with the President and members of Congress to obtain meaningful whistleblower protection for all federal employees.”

Click here to read the letter to President Obama
Click here to read the press release from the public interest groups
Click here to sign the NWC petition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

********************************************************************************************************

 

Campaign For Federal Whistleblower Protection Continues

Whistleblower Groups Ask President to Reaffirm Campaign Promises

 

As you know, the National Whistleblowers Center has been actively involved in the campaign to obtain stronger whistleblower protection for all federal employees, including national security employees.

Take Action! Keep Whistleblower Protection On the Administration’s Agenda!

 

Recently there have been some positive developments in the fight to protect federal employee whistleblowers:

 

On January 27, the House of Representatives passed the Platts/Van Hollen Amendment to the stimulus bill by unanimous voice vote.  Unfortunately, the amendment was not included in the final version of the legislation.

On February 13, the McCaskill Amendment protecting private contractors and state and local government employees was passed as part of the stimulus bill.

On March 4, President Obama pledged to end cost-plus no-bid government contracts.

On March 12, Congressman Chris Van Hollen introduced H.R. 1507, which would extend whistleblower protection to all federal employees, including national security employees.

 

 

Keep the Momentum Going! Tell the White House We Need Whistleblower Protection Now!

Today, the National Whistleblowers Center joined the ACLU, the American Federation of Government Employees, the Government Accountability Project, The Liberty Coalition, National Treasury Employees Union, OpenTheGovernment.org, Project on Government Oversight, Public Citizen, Union of Concerned Scientists, and U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation in urging President Obama to reaffirm his campaign commitments to strengthen whistleblower protections. 

 

The letter urged the President to strongly endorse legislation that would protect all federal employees, including national security employees, from retaliation and give them access to jury trials.  The letter also asked the President to appoint a liaison to the whistleblower community as promised in his response to the NWC’s campaign survey.

You can help!  Let the Administration know you believe oversight and accountability must be a priority.  Send a letter to the President and pass this alert on to your friends.

 

From:  Whistleblower Protection Blog
**********************************************************************************************************
Summary: 
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...
 
View the entire entry:
http://www.whistleblowersblog.org/2009/02/articles/whistleblowers-government-empl/the-fight-for-whistleblower-protections-is-making-headlines-thanks-to-all-supporters/index.html
 
 
 

House lawmakers reintroduce bill to protect federal whistleblowers

By Brittany R. Ballenstedt bballenstedt@govexec.com March 12, 2009

 

 

House lawmakers on Thursday reintroduced legislation that would strengthen whistleblower protections for federal employees who report fraud, waste or abuse in government programs.

 

The bill’s sponsors — Reps. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.; Todd Platts, R-Pa.; Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., and Bruce Braley, D-Iowa; — said at a press conference on Thursday that stronger whistleblower protections for federal employees are especially necessary as the government seeks to ensure proper oversight and transparency in the management of the $787 billion economic stimulus package.

 

“As part of the recovery package, the federal government will make an unprecedented investment in our country,” Van Hollen said. “We must ensure this money is spent transparently. This legislation will protect federal employees who expose corruption or mismanagement and in doing so will help protect the taxpayers’ funds from waste and misuse.”

 

The House in January unanimously passed the bill as an amendment to the economic stimulus package to try to quell concern over how the funds are spent. But congressional negotiators stripped the amendment from the legislation over national security concerns. The final version of the recovery package included protections only for whistleblowers at the state and local levels as well as employees of institutions that receive stimulus funding.

Specifically, the legislation would grant federal employees the right to a jury trial in federal court, protect government scientists who report efforts to alter or suppress federal research, extend protections to FBI and intelligence community whistleblowers, strengthen protections for contractors, nullify the government’s use of state secrets privilege, and bar the Merit Systems Protection Board from ruling in favor of an agency before whistleblowers have the opportunity to present evidence of retaliation.

 

The measure also would grant comparable due process rights to employees who provide information on wrongdoing during a government investigation or who refuse to violate the law, and would remove the Federal Circuit’s monopoly on precedent-setting whistleblower cases. It also provides whistleblowers with the right to collect compensatory damages.

 

The bill also would give enforceable whistleblower protections to 45,000 Transportation Security Administration officers and the ability to seek a remedy from an external independent fact-finding body.

Towns, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said on Thursday that he plans to hold a hearing on the legislation as soon as possible with the aim of passing the bill before the stimulus money starts being spent. “The money is going to be out there, and we have to make certain the money is being spent properly,” he said.

 

“The House should act quickly to reaffirm its mandate and lock in accountability before the stimulus gears up,” said Tom Devine, legal director for the Government Accountability Project. “Otherwise, unprecedented new spending will be an unprecedented opportunity for fraud, waste and abuse.”

From the Whistleblower Protection Blog

Link to Original:  http://www.whistleblowersblog.org/2009/02/articles/news-1/in-other-whistleblower-news3-more-important-stories/print.html

 

 

Posted at 9:57 AM on February 6, 2009 by Marshall Chriswell

In Other Whistleblower News…3 More Important Stories

If you haven’t noticed, we have been really focused on passing stronger whistleblower laws in the economic stimulus bill. We had a major success when the bill passed the House of Representatives, and now we are moving on to the Senate. Although this legislation is the major whistleblower story this week, there are a few other stories on our radar, and I just wanted to share them with our readers.


First, and easily the second biggest whistleblower-related news story of the week, is the testimony of Harry Markopoulos, a financial analyst who tried to blow the whistle on Bernie Madoff’s $50 billion fraudulent Ponzi scheme for over a decade. Markopoulos offered stunning testimony before the House Financial Services Committee this week, condemning the SEC for ignoring his reports and mismanaging the investigation. Markopoulos told lawmakers that he “gave them [the SEC] a road map and a flashlight to find the fraud, and they didn’t go where I told them to go.”

Here are some articles detailing his testimony:

CBS NEWS: “Madoff Whistleblower is Finally Heard”
CNN MONEY: “Madoff Whistleblower Blasts SEC”
TIME: “A Madoff Whistleblower Tells His Story”


Now for some good news. Along with the legislative progress being made at the national level, two states are considering statutes to create and/or strengthen whistleblower protections.  This Minnesota Star-Tribune opinion piece explains the how Minnesota (and all states) can benefit from a False Claims Act. Minnesota’s legislature is considering enacting an FCA modeled on the federal law.


North Dakota is also considering strengthening its whistleblower laws after recent retaliation against state employees revealed that the laws are inadequate.


Our last bit of news comes from Texas, where Marilou Morrison, a former employee of the Texas Commission on Human Rights was awarded a jury verdict of nearly $1 million after suffering retaliation for blowing the whistle on racial discrimination in the agency’s hiring practices. The kicker is this: the Texas Commission on Human Rights is the agency that is supposed to enforce laws against discrimination. Ms. Morrison’s attorney Gary Bledsoe summed it up nicely by saying, “The agency that is supposed to enforce civil rights is being hit with basically a million dollar judgment for violating the very statutes they are required to enforce.”


Ok, now that you are up to date on whistleblower news from around the country, keep checking back for more information on the federal employee whistleblower legislation!

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Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end

Axel – February 6, 2009 11:46 AM

Dear NWC, 2/6/2009

Please note that a previous reply to your Sam Dratch NWC Article that mentioned Mr. Stephen and Michael Kohn and Mr. Colapinto willingness to assist our Legislatures and presumably all other vested Entities and/or Individuals in their efforts within this Whistleblower ‘Oversight and Accountability’ Protection Restoration Enhancement Act was removed after several days from your website.

Please note that you continue to have my support even though I have become more aware of some major discrepancies as from my not previously having more fully read the intended legislation Amendment. Also I have not completely and/or more fully read many parts of this impending Legislation Amendment although I would like to re-mention my previous reply which was

‘Thank you Mr. Stephen and Michael Kohn and Mr. Colapinto and all at the NWC for your continued due diligence, proper and forthright, dedication and perseverance with exemplary Fidelity, Integrity and Bravery in your admirable efforts and endeavors on behalf of all to support our great Country, Nation and democracy within and towards the proper and forthright interpretation(s) to preserve and protect our US Constitution, Bill of Rights and our Declaration and endeavors towards Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’.

Please note that in my view and opinion ‘ALL CIRCUIT REVIEW’ in our US Courts including in District, Appellate is mandated in proper and forthright interpretation of our US Constitution Bill of Rights and without a 5 year time limit and may not be excluded as in the Platts//Van Hollen revised HR985 Amendment!! As I presume you well know that this ‘ALL CIRCUIT REVIEW’ is absolutely critical and in compliance of our US Constitution Bill of Rights to hope to insure as best as possible a unfettered balance in our US Legal System and a mandated substantial and necessary reduction to conflict of interest concerns.

Also I am saddened to notice that most of these very same US Legislatures as I have previously stated on NWC, GAP and POGO websites as a blog comment reply have instituted the repeal of Glass Stegal, Gramm//Billing etcetra Act and the 2000 Commodity Futures Trading Act. Also, today I was again further saddened to hear that the new CIA Chief has somehow presumptively stated his recommendation to not prosecute for past (and possibly future??) crimes of torture!! A seemingly complete lack of respect and regard to ‘Oversight and Accountability” and our US Justice Department that has seemingly accomplished remarkable accomplishments in the recent past few weeks!! even though I continue to be saddened that the US application implementation of the Death Penalty has not been halted!! Absolutely appalling!!

Obviously there are many other concerns and acknowledgements that I would prefer to mention at this time, although in my efforts to be brief, I will close and wish you the best of good luck and good wishes.

Thank you and all for your time and considration.

Sincerely,
Axel
Axel V. Sabersky

 

O.K. now, what is different about this from all of the other whistleblower situations where the whistleblowers have been left buffeted about in the wind?  Whistleblower protection should be for all whistleblowers and federal government and defense employees who find themselves dealing with corruption while trying to do their jobs too!  -GFS

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Groups Seek Whistle-Blower Protection in Bailout Legislation

Link to original:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/23/AR2008092303098.html?referrer=emailarticle

 

By Joe Davidson
Wednesday, September 24, 2008; D04

Amid the swirl of activity on Capitol Hill surrounding legislation for a $700 billion bailout of financial giants is a little-noticed effort to protect Frank and Flo Fed if they reveal things their agencies are doing wrong.

Good-government groups have long wanted to strengthen protection for whistle-blowers and they had a good chance to get such legislation passed before the financial markets took a dive. Now that all the attention is on rushing the bailout through Congress, those groups are trying to get on board.

Yesterday, 40 organizations sent a letter to the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and the House Financial Services Committee urging members to include whistle-blower protection in the bailout legislation.

“At a minimum, any credible solution must address one of the current crisis’ fundamental causes — corruption and other abuses of power sustained by secrecy,” the letter said. “Otherwise, the taxpayers could end up giving $700 billion more to repeat the same disasters. Congress must prove it has learned this lesson. Any genuine solution must be grounded in transparency, with all relevant records publicly available and best practice whistleblower protection for all employees connected with the new law.”

The letter was signed by a variety of organizations from across the political spectrum. They include the American Library Association, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Liberty Coalition, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Government Accountability Project and the Project on Government Oversight.

Whistle-blower coalition leaders say they already had more than enough support to secure amendments to the Whistleblower Protection Act that was passed in 1989. The House and Senate overwhelmingly approved separate versions last year, but efforts to reconcile them have languished until recently.

“We are working with other sponsors and supporters of the bill to try to get it enacted before adjournment,” said Leslie Phillips, communications director for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

But whether that’s as part of the bailout remains to be seen.

One factor Congress has to consider is the White House veto warning against the House version. “It could compromise national security, is unconstitutional, and is overly burdensome and unnecessary,” says the threat.

But if the House language is included in the bailout legislation, it would be very tough for the president to follow through on that threat.

One way or another, the coalition hopes the amendments become law soon. They are designed to close looming loopholes that are the result of court decisions.

While the law sought to protect whistle-blowers for “any” lawful disclosures of government wrongdoing, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has turned the definition around so much that it’s reminiscent of President Bill Clinton saying: “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

Now, “any” no longer applies “if the disclosure is made to co-workers, supervisors or others in the chain of command, or those suspected of wrongdoing; if the disclosures are made during the course of doing one’s job duties; if the disclosure challenges illegal or similarly improper policies; and if the whistleblower is not the first to make a disclosure,” said Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project.

The amendments would make “any” mean “any.”

Another sore point with the coalition is a 1999 court decision that Devine says makes it almost impossible for whistle-blowers to qualify for protection, regardless of context. While Congress said employees must reasonably believe a disclosure is about misconduct, the court said workers must prove the bad deeds with “irrefragable” evidence.

Merriam-Webster says irrefragable means “impossible to refute,” and that’s an almost impossible standard to meet. The amendments would restore the reasonable-belief standard.

The court’s interpretation leaves whistleblowers frustrated and angry. Many put their careers on the line to make government honorable, with nothing but scars to show for it.

Ask David Ross, who was a Food and Drug Administration doctor two years ago when he warned managers about evidence of fraud involving an antibiotic drug the agency had approved. The drug, Ketek, was linked to liver failure and death.

“I did everything right,” Ross said. “I tried to work through the system.”

But he found himself marginalized and forced out of the agency. The court’s rulings left him cold. “Because of the court’s impossibly high standard, I was left with fewer rights than a criminal — all because I was trying to prevent more deaths,” he said. “I did not even bother asking for whistle-blower status, because it would have been like painting a target on my back.”

A lot can go wrong when a massive bailout is rushed through the legislative process. Whatever that process produces, federal workers shouldn’t be afraid to speak up, and they should be protected when they do.

Contact Joe Davidson atfederaldiary@washpost.com

 

This was sent to me recently by someone who had written Senator Warner, very concerned about the lack of functional protections and support for whistleblowers in government and industry.  This person’s view is that the current laws are not functioning, particularly in light of the dissembling and disassembling of the Justice Department we have witnessed recently. 

Senator Warner’s response sounds good and in fact if I didn’t know what I know about how many people have been torpedoed by the system, I might believe it.  But, I am only too aware of what is really happening to whistleblowers who dare to stand up.

Anybody care to write Senator Warner with their own story and experience?  It sounds like he would benefit from the experience.

GFS

 

********************************************************************************************************************

June 17, 2008

 

Dear _______________:

 

            Thank you for contacting me regarding the importance of whistleblower protection for federal employees. I appreciate your thoughtful inquiry.

 

            As you are aware, federal employees are critical to detecting and preventing fraud, waste, and abuse in the federal government. Whether they work for the federal government or a private corporation, employees must trust that they will be protected from reprisals and that their reports will be considered diligently and acted upon in order for them to be comfortable in their responsibility to report wrongdoing.

 

            Congress recognized the importance of protecting federal employees against whistleblower retaliation in the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. The legislation established a merit system for fair and nondiscriminatory treatment of the federal workforce and defined prohibited personnel practices, which included reprisal for whistleblowing.

 

            For federal employees who believe that they have been subject to whistleblower reprisal, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) will investigate their complaints and seek corrective action where appropriate. If the federal agency fails to take the necessary corrective action, OSC or the employee may appeal the case to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) for resolution. Alternatively, federal employees also may file a reprisal complaint directly with MSPB. If a federal employee is dissatisfied with the resolution of a whistleblower reprisal complaint, the employee can file an appeal for review by a federal appeals court.

 

            In response to the growing problem of discrimination and retaliation against federal employees, I introduced S. 201, the Federal Employee Protection Act of 2001, to make federal agencies more accountable for prohibited personnel practices. On May 15, 2005, the President signed into law the House version of the bill, H.R. 169, the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (PL 107-143).

 

            The Act required any future settlements or judgments in federal employee discrimination and whistleblower actions must be paid directly from the employing agency’s budget. Previously, the associated costs were disbursed from the Judgment Fund, a permanent and indefinite appropriation to pay settlements and judgments against the federal government. Congress established the Fund to prevent the necessity for specific appropriations to cover government legal costs and, in principle, to allow for prompter payment. However, the Judgment Fund discouraged accountability by permitting an agency to shift the cost of resolution from its budget to the Fund and thus escaped the scrutiny associated with a request for a supplemental appropriation.

 

            To provide additional accountability, the legislation required federal agencies to file an annual report detailing the discrimination and whistleblower cases filed. Specifically, each federal agency is required to file the following information: number of cases filed against them, how the cases were resolved, the amount of any settlements, and the number of agency employee disciplines for discrimination or harassment.

 

            In the 110th Congress, Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) introduced H.R. 985, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007, to modernize, clarify, and expand the federal employee whistleblower protection laws. In particular, the bill would expand coverage of whistleblower protection to federal employees who specialize in national security issues. On March 14, 2007, the House passed the legislation by a vote of 331 to 94. The bill has been referred to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for initial consideration in the Senate.

 

            Please be assured that I will certainly keep your comments as the Senate considers legislation related to whistleblower protection.

 

            Again, thank you for sharing your views with me.

 

            With kind regards, I am

 

                                                            Sincerely,

 

                                                            John Warner

                                                            United States Senator

 

JW/hb

 

Please note this email address does not accept incoming email. Should you wish to share additional views with me, please do not hesitate to visit my website at http://warner.senate.gov/contact/offices.htm; call my office at 202-224-2023; or write to me at United States Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510