House Committee set to approve landmark whistleblower rights legislation

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The Government Accountability Project (GAP) applauds the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for advancing the most significant whistleblower rights legislation in U.S. history. 

From a Government Accountability Project news release February 12:

House Committee Set to Approve Landmark Whistleblower Rights Legislation

Hearing Set for February 13; Passage would set “Gold Standard” for Whistleblower Rights

(Washington, D.C.)  The Government Accountability Project (GAP) applauds the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for advancing the most significant whistleblower rights legislation in U.S. history. 

The legislation, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007, is co-sponsored by Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), Ranking Member Tom Davis (R-VA), and Rep. Todd Platts (R-PA). The Committee will hold a hearing on the legislation on Tuesday, February 13, and the panel is expected to mark-up and approve the legislation at a business meeting on Wednesday, February 14. GAP Legal Director Tom Devine will testify in support of the whistleblower legislation on Tuesday, February 12, at 10:00 a.m., at the full Committee hearing at 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.

Devine commented, “The Oversight Committee is close to approving a gold standard for public employee free speech rights, and a breakthrough for government accountability.” He continued, “Quick passage of legislation to restore genuine whistleblower rights also would be proof that the new Congressional leadership is serious about two primary voter concerns—effective oversight that ends a pattern of non-transparent government, and structural reform to combat corruption.”

GAP is a founding member of the Make it Safe Coalition, a non-partisan network of organizations whose members pursue a wide variety of missions that span defense, homeland security, medical care, natural disasters, scientific freedom, consumer hazards, and corruption in government contracting and procurement. These groups are united in the cause of protecting those in government who honor their duties to serve and warn the public. At the beginning of this month, the coalition held a day-long summit on the state of whistleblower rights. Devine’s testimony seeks to reflect the coalition’s across-the-board consensus on the need for and structure to achieve significant whistleblower rights reform. 

The Oversight Committee’s legislation meets nearly every requirement for reform endorsed by the Make it Safe Coalition. Notably, it restores the mandate of the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA), which has been gutted by judicial activism since 1994, when Congress unanimously strengthened the WPA. The legislation strengthens the due process enforcement structure for WPA paper rights, granting whistleblowers the right to challenge reprisals in federal district court with their rights decided by a jury of the taxpayers they purport to defend.

GAP Legislative Representative Adam Miles commented, “This legislation reflects seven years of bipartisan cooperation from oversight committees in the House and the Senate. Their commitment to protecting our families and tax dollars is reflected in this bill. The new congressional leadership should respect this commitment by scheduling ‘up or down’ votes without delay.

The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization with offices in Washington, D.C. and Seattle, WA.

For contact information and more detail from this news release see the GAP Web site.

Climate Science Watch is proud to say that we are a program of the Government Accountability Project.

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