UPDATE: 3/14–FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HISTORIC VICTORY FOR WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION
House Overwhelmingly Approves Whistleblower Enhancement Act
Senate Action Needed to Finish the Job
Washington, DC, March 14, 2007. Today, by a vote of 331 to 94, The House of Representatives passed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (H.R. 985). The Enhancment Act is the first major reform of federal whistleblower laws in 18 years, and cures numerous weaknesses in existing legislation. The Enhancement Act will:
* For the first time, provide most federal employees with a right to have their claims heard in federal court;
* Protect most federal employees who expose waste fraud and corruption through their chain of command;
* Provide a new remedy for federal contractors who expose fraud on the taxpayers
Stephen Kohn, the President of the National Whistleblower Center, issued the following statement regarding the passage of H.R. 985:
“This is a historic victory for oversight and accountability. For the first time in 18 years, Congress is getting serious about protecting Federal employee-whistleblowers. The House has taken the first step in passing…. It is now up to the Senate to get the job done. We fully expect that at the end of the day that Congress will pass, and the President will sign, effective whistleblower protections; we will accept nothing less.”
For more information about this legislation, please visit: www.whistleblowers.org
Press Release Information:
National Whistleblower Center, 3238 P Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20007
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Stephen M. Kohn (202)342-6980
Aaron Parness (202) 342-1903
Sent by the National Whistleblower Center (whistleblowers.org), this action should be taken by every reader, immediately. We encourage you not just to send an email, but to call your Representative and follow up with a fax–“Please Vote NO on Amendments 3 and 4 to H.R. 985, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.” (For quick access to information on how to contact your Rep, see the link to Congress.org’s handy tool, in our left-hand column here under “Get Involved.”) If we are ever to truly determine and expose the truth of 9/11/01, it must be possible for whistleblowers to come forward without fear of retaliation. Just this weekend we learned, through an FBI whistleblower, that illegal, warrantless spying has been more widespread than we even imagined. Please help support more in coming forward.
[Original story, posted 3/13, begins here]
HOUSE VOTE ON LANDMARK WHISTLEBLOWER BILL ENDANGERED BY “POISONED PEN” AMENDMENTS
Yesterday, our staff asked for your help, on behalf of all Federal employee-whistleblowers, in supporting H.R.985, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007. If passed as written, H.R. 985 is a landmark piece of legislation that would sure up protections for government whistleblowers and close the dangerous loopholes that exist in the current laws.
Unfortunately, several last minute amendments have been proposed which would completely undermine the intent of the bill. The floor vote for H.R. 985 has been scheduled for tomorrow, and if these “poisoned pen” amendments are approved, the bill will be completely ineffective in protecting federal employee-whistleblowers from retaliation when they raise concerns of misconduct at work.
We are asking again for your help. Please send an urgent email letter to your Representative to make them aware of the injurious effect that these amendments will have on this legislation. Your letter will ask your Representative to support the bill, but to oppose the amendments that would destroy it.
The most egregious of these amendments are:
* Amendment number 3,offered by Representative Pete Hoekstra (MI), which would strike the section of the bill that extends whistleblower protection to national security whistleblowers, such as employees of the FBI, CIA and the Dept. of Homeland Security.
* Amendment number 4, offered by representative Tom Davis (VA), would bar whistleblowers from having their claims heard in all federal courts, but rather continue the practice of funneling all whistleblower claims through one court, the Federal Circuit, which has been noted for its hostile decisions toward employees in the past.
We need your help to defeat these unacceptable amendments and retain the strength of H.R. 985 as it was originally drafted.
Please send this email to your representative today, and pass this on to any interested parties. Click here to sign a petition advocating stronger laws for whistleblowers
The National Whistleblower Center Staff