WASHINGTON – The leadership of the whistleblower rights coalition, the Make It Safe Coalition (MISC), today praised Congress for unanimous passage of the Whistleblower Protection Coordination Act, S. 1869. On June 14, Congress sent the legislation to President Trump for his signature and it is awaiting his approval.
The bill makes permanent a pilot program requiring ombudsman-style whistleblower protection coordinators in all Offices of Inspectors General to provide guidance and counseling on rights and responsibilities in the Whistleblower Protection Act. In the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012, Congress created the pilot program. MISC has been advocating its adoption over the last year.
This legislation is significant for a solid infrastructure supporting federal whistleblower rights. Whistleblower Coordinators’ duties are to educate employees, contractors, and grantees about prohibitions on retaliation for protected disclosures, as well as their rights, responsibilities and remedies under the WPA. The Coordinators also are responsible to assist Inspectors General (IG) in facilitating communications between whistleblowers and other stakeholders, such as the Office of Special Counsel and Congress.
The bill reflects bi-partisan support, with leadership from Senators Charles Grassley, (R.-Iowa), Ron Johnson (R.-WI) and Claire McCaskill (D.-MO), and Representatives Rod Blum (R.-Iowa) and Elijah Cummings (D.-MD) Representative Blum and Senator Grassley are majority chairs for the House and Senate whistleblower caucuses, respectively. MISC Steering Committee representatives offered the following expressions of appreciation:
Tom Devine, Government Accountability Project legal director, commented, “This legislation makes permanent the infrastructure for Whistleblower Protection Act rights to take root. It also is Iowa’s good government gift to taxpayers. Senator Grassley and Representative Blum lead the Senate and House Whistleblower Caucuses. This law reflects long-term, bi-partisan commitments to whistleblowers.”
Shanna Devine, worker health and safety advocate for Public Citizen, commented “Congress has risen above partisanship to protect our most vulnerable government employees – whistleblowers. Its unanimous passage of this good government bill will strengthen and make permanent whistleblower coordinators throughout the government, helping to guide our modern day heroes as they risk retaliation to defend democracy.”
Rebecca Jones, Beth Daley Policy Associate for the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), commented, “POGO applauds the unanimous passage of this truly bi-partisan effort. This is a laudable re-commitment to whistleblowers, our nation’s first line of defense against waste, fraud, and abuse. Providing a dedicated Coordinator within IG offices is crucial for whistleblowers to understand their rights as they come forward with vital disclosures.”
Contact: Andrew Harman, Communications Director, GAP @ AndrewH@whistleblower.org
The Make It Safe Coalition
The Make It Safe Coalition is a nonpartisan, trans-partisan network of 74 good government, taxpayer, scientific, labor, civil liberties, and law enforcement organizations dedicated to strengthening protections for whistleblowers in private and public sector who protect the public by exposing waste, fraud and abuse in government.