FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 1, 2021
Advocacy Organizations Urge Senate to Vote on Pending MSPB Nominations
WASHINGTON – As trillions of dollars flow into the economy to fund COVID-19 recovery and domestic priorities such as infrastructure spending, it’s more important than ever that those witnessing waste, fraud, or abuse in our government are protected when they choose to speak out. Government Accountability Project, as well as 15 other civil society organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Public Citizen, and Demand Progress, urge the Senate to consider and vote on pending nominations to all three vacancies on the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). As the primary adjudicative agency for worker claims of whistleblower retaliation and other prohibited personnel practices for federal employees, MSPB is essential to the prevention of waste, fraud, and abuse of power.
The board hasn’t had a quorum for more than four-and-a-half years, and it hasn’t had any members at all since March 2019, resulting in the largest-ever backlog of more than 3,500 cases. As a result, government whistleblowers waiting for board review of their retaliation claims remain in limbo while their only due process channel for relief under the Whistleblower Protections Act is paralyzed. This inaction opens an opportunity to many larger issues, like federal agencies taking advantage of the long wait on unresolved cases, large back pay ordered to be paid to federal employees with wrongful termination or demotion claims, and the jeopardizing of the existence of meaningfully enforceable employment rights for millions of Americans.
In September 2021, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee considered and reported nominations. Now the Senate must bring the nominations to the floor. Doing so is vital to advance the rights of whistleblowers and to make good on bipartisan calls for greater accountability in government.
Government Accountability Project Legal Director Tom Devine commented:
“No legislator who is serious about fighting fraud, waste and abuse can continue to block justice by paralyzing nominations for the Merit System Protection Board. This is the only enforcement authority with teeth that federal employees have when they risk their professional lives to defend the public. Soon the backlog will hit 4000 due to years of partisan stalemate. The merit system is supposed to be about service to taxpayers, not politics.”
Read the full letter to Members of Congress here.
Contact: Andrew Harman, Communications Director
Phone: (202) 926-3304
Government Accountability Project
Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, Government Accountability Project’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, Government Accountability Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.