FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 4, 2021
House and Senate Propose Best Practice Whistleblower Rights for COVID Spending
WASHINGTON – Today, good government leaders in both chambers of Congress introduced a bill for accountability in the most expensive, high stakes government spending program in history: the combined stimulus laws responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Representatives Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) reintroduced the COVID-19 Whistleblower Protection Act with 19 House co-sponsors. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and 14 Senate co-sponsors reintroduced identical Senate legislation. This bill would protect whistleblowing employees of businesses or contractors who receive federal COVID-19 relief funding under the CARES Act or other laws. Lawmakers first introduced the legislation last Congress, along with then-Senator Kamala Harris. The bill seeks to ensure that the trillions of dollars in funding have accountability mechanisms against waste, fraud, and abuse.
The legislation would institute global best practice whistleblower protections to:
- close coverage loopholes and inconsistencies through consistent rights for all those blowing the whistle on misspending stimulus funds;
- protect disclosures that evidence illegality, danger to public health or safety, abuse of authority, gross mismanagement or waste;
- provide administrative relief through the Department of Labor with access to a federal court jury trial in the absence of a timely ruling;
- strengthen whistleblower confidentiality protections and negate gag orders; and
- provide comprehensive relief for those who prevail, including costs.
Government Accountability Project Legal Director Tom Devine commented,
“Since last year, hundreds of thousands of deaths and trillions of dollars spending spotlight a fundamental truth. The COVID-19 Whistleblower Protection Act is just what the doctor ordered for accountability of stimulus spending programs, whether to save lives or save businesses. Inspectors General credit whistleblower protection in the 2009 stimulus bill for minimizing fraud, waste and abuse when the government injected hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy. Now that the government is injecting trillions, whistleblowers are more essential than ever as the human factor that is America’s best weapon against corruption.”
Contact: Andrew Harman, Director of Communications
Phone: (202) 457-0034 x156
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.