State, Federal Whistleblower Rules a Key Tool for Journalists

October 31, 2012

Journalists lucky enough to have a confidential source inside government who may expose waste, fraud, or abuse know how rare and valuable whistleblowers are.

Such sources could well dry up if journalists do not protect them.

Sadly, whistleblowers are often subject to reprisals by the agencies whose wrongdoing they expose. State and federal whistleblower protection laws offer some limited protection.

How good is your state's whistleblower protection law — if it has one? The watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has published a guide to state whistleblower laws. It starts with a map — and you click on any state to link to its whistleblower law and other related info.

At the federal level, there is currently a bill in play in Congress which would strengthen the notoriously weak federal whistleblower protections. The House passed the bipartisan bill in September 2012, and the Senate may take it up after the election.