The Honorable Charles Schumer
Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

February 15, 2022

Dear Leader Schumer and Leader McConnell:

The undersigned civil society organizations urge you to allow the full Senate to consider and vote on pending nominations to all three vacancies on the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), which serves millions of federal employees as the primary adjudicative agency for worker claims of whistleblower retaliation and other prohibited personnel practices.

While this letter does not take a position for or against specific Board nominations, we are united in our advocacy of whistleblower protections as a crucial safeguard against waste, fraud, and misconduct in government. That is why we are alarmed by the fact that since January 2017, the Board has been unable to perform critical functions and responsibilities due to the unfilled vacancies preventing a statutorily-required quorum of Senate-confirmed Members. These Board responsibilities include providing relief to whistleblowers, issuing final rulings, promulgating new regulations to address changes in the law, and overseeing U.S. Office of Personnel Management rules and activities. As a result, government whistleblowers waiting for Board review of their retaliation claims remain in limbo while the largest-ever backlog of more than 3,500 cases continues to grow.

We urge you to go beyond these abstract descriptions to consider the devastating impact on people’s livelihoods and careers, as well as the corrosive toll on the public interest and the public purse. Behind these cases are individuals and their families desperately seeking legal relief, often from reprisal like job termination and loss of income after they patriotically sought to expose governmental waste or wrongdoing at great personal and professional risk to themselves. Paralysis on the Board is even creating perverse incentives for federal agencies to appeal the most meritorious whistleblower claims that won in earlier stages to the full Board, knowing that those claims will then be forced to sit unresolved. Furthermore, the longer that federal employees’ merits system cases are forced to wait for resolution, the larger the back pay ordered to be paid could be to federal employees with wrongful termination or demotion claims.

As a broader matter, it should raise your profound concerns that the Board’s lack of a quorum due to lack of Senate-confirmed Members leading it is jeopardizing the existence of meaningfully enforceable employment rights for millions of Americans, including whistleblowers. That is contrary to our shared values and our most cherished principles about how our government should work. We hope that surely you would agree these concerns merit the Senate’s attention and time.

This is a crisis that the U.S. Senate can and should rectify as soon as possible. Now that the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has considered and reported nominations to fill all MSPB vacancies to the full Senate, the next step is clear: bring the nominations to the Senate floor.

It is time for the U.S. Senate to meet its advice-and-consent obligations under the Constitution and make the final decision in the confirmation process for all the Board nominations. Doing so is vital not only to advance the rights of whistleblowers and to make good on bipartisan calls for greater accountability in government, but also to ensure that current law can be implemented and upheld as envisioned.

For these reasons, we ask you to bring all the MSPB nominations already on the Senate Executive Calendar to the Senate floor for consideration by the full chamber as soon as possible. Should you have any questions, we stand ready to assist you.


Alaska Community Action on Toxics
Alliance for Human Research Protection
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
American Civil Liberties Union
Animals Are Sentient Beings, Inc.
Arab American Institute (AAI)
Atlantic States Legal Foundation
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action
Better Government Association
Blacks in Law Enforcement of America
Blue Wave Postcard Movement
Broward for Progress
California Employment Lawyers Association
California Clean Money Campaign
Center for Auto Safety
Center for Gender & Refugee Studies
Citizens Awareness Network
Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC)
Clark Law Group, PLLC
Clean Elections Texas
Climate Science Legal Defense Fund
Coalition for Integrity
Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety
Constitutional Alliance
Consumer Action
Corruption Kills
Defending Rights & Dissent
Demand Progress
Dialysis Advocates & Associates
Economic Policy Institute
Environmental Watch
Equal Justice Society
Equal Rights Advocates
Faiths for Safe Water
Farm Action Fund
Federally Employed Women
Fight for the Future
Food & Water Watch
Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics
Friends of the Earth
Government Accountability Project
Government Information Watch
Greenpeace USA
Hanford Challenge
Harrington Investments, Inc.
Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health
Jobs to Move America
Kentucky Resources Council
Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto
Justice in Motion
National Center for Health Research
National Council for Occupational Safety and Health
National Employment Law Project
National Federation of Federal Employees
National Freedom of Information Coalition
National Immigration Law Center
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
National Organization for Women
National Taxpayers Union
National Whistleblower Center
National Whistleblower Legal Defense & Education Fund
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
No More Guantánamos
Northwest Environmental Advocates
Open The Government
Oregon Wildlife Federation
Pax Christi USA
Professional Managers Association
Project Lifeline
Project On Government Oversight
Protect Democracy
Public Citizen
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)
Public Justice Center
Revolving Door Project
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
Senior Executives Association
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Shriver Center on Poverty Law
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
The Advocates for Human Rights
The Center for Policing Equity
The Ecotopian Society
The Rutherford Institute
The Workers Circle
Transparency International U.S. Office
Truman Center for National Policy
Union of Concerned Scientists
Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
WESPAC Foundation, Inc.
Whistleblower Aid
Whistleblowers of America
Whistleblower Network News
Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice
Workplace Fairness