Washington Post, once a beacon for whistleblowers, now attacks whistleblower protections

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The Washington Post’s February 2 editorial calling for whistleblower protections to be stripped from the economic stimulus bill is a stain on the record of a newspaper that once published the Watergate revelations and the Pentagon Papers. 

On January 28, the House of Representatives unanimously adopted, as part of the economic stimulus legislation, H.R. 1, an amendment by Todd Platts (R-PA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) that adds landmark whistleblower protections for federal employees, restoring and strengthening the Whistleblower Protection Act.

See the joint statement by the Government Accountability Project (GAP) and 9 other organizations: “House Passage of Taxpayer Accountability Amendment Safeguards Stimulus Dollars”

Also:  GAP’s “Statements and Explanation of Whistleblower Amendment in Stimulus Package”
The Washington Post editorialized on February 2 (“Wrong Way to Protect”).

Jesselyn Radack of GAP, blogging on DailyKos, blows the whistle on the Post’s misguided position (“WaPo Wants Whistleblower Provision Stripped From $825 Billion Stimulus Package: Tell Senate No!”).  She says, in part:

As the stimulus bill goes into conference this week, there were warnings of subtle but determined opposition from Senate offices to block key provisions of whistleblower protection.  The opposition is no longer subtle.  It’s loud and unapologetic….

Whistleblowers tried to warn of the current economic crisis years ago, but they still don’t have a fighting chance for justice when they challenge fraud, waste and abuse.  With current so-called “rights,” their chances of winning are less than one half of one per cent. Studies consistently conclude that whistleblowers are the most effective weapon that exists against fraud. After the bailout, there is no excuse to spend another $800 billion without locking in accountability…. 

There was no whistleblower protection in the Administration’s unprecedented bailout of Wall Street—despite promises that it would be added “later”—and now we learn that a sizeable chunk went to pay corporate bonuses….

Secrecy was the breeding ground for this disaster, because it sustained the reckless decisions and corruption that caused it. Now the Administration proposes to give $800 billion—the largest stimulus in history—and the Washington Post doesn’t want any accountability for how it is spent: no judicial review; no whistleblower rights; no public acces to records; and waiver of normal government contract rules. Apparently, one financial disaster wasn’t enough for the Post.

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