Whistleblower Bill Awaits Congressional Action

January 28, 2009

Many of the highest-impact news stories of the past decade depended entirely on a whistleblower — a source inside the government disclosing (often anonymously) some kind of fraud, waste, abuse, or wrongdoing. Many whistleblowers suffer retribution from the bosses whose wrongdoing they disclose.

The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is supposed to protect them, but it rarely if ever does. That is because Congress and the courts have gutted it and the executive branch has not enforced it. Now legislation is moving in the current Congress to fix that.

The House will vote soon on an amendment adding whistleblower protection to the economic stimulus bill before the House — possibly as early as the afternoon of January 28, 2009.

The amendment is sponsored by Reps. Todd Platts (R-PA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). It has been supported by a coalition of some 260 citizen groups and corporations. The amendment is essentially the same language as a bill (HR 985) passed by the House in the 110th Congress.