For Immediate Release:
Whistleblowing Community Blasts Merit Systems Vacancies
Make It Safe Coalition Calls for Reforms to Whistleblowing Laws
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the members of the Steering Committee of the trans-ideological, bi-partisan whistleblower support coalition, the Make It Safe Campaign, sent a letter calling on congressional leadership to revive crippled Whistleblower Protection Act rights. The coalition asked Congress to — restore the right to seek justice through administrative remedies at the Merit Systems Protection Board, enact overdue reforms to the whistleblowing legal landscape, and shield whistleblowers from retaliation beyond workplace harassment. Groups joining the message included the Acorn 8, American Civil Liberties Coalition, Government Accountability Project, Liberty Coalition, National Security Counselors, National Taxpayers Union, Project on Government Oversight, Public Citizen, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Taxpayer Protection Alliance, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Whistleblowers of America.
The coalition called on legislators from both parties to reaffirm the bi-partisan commitment to protect those who risk their careers to expose fraud, waste, or abuse. The letter recognizes absolute dysfunction at the Merit Systems Protection Board. Due to a political impasse, it has no members to issue final decisions or act on requests by the Office of Special Counsel for temporary relief. The Board has a backlog of over 2,500 cases and is at the risk of full paralysis due to a constitutional challenge that will deprive even administrative hearings. The coalition urged the Senate to restore Whistleblower Protection Act enforcement by confirming two noncontroversial presidential nominees.
The coalition also asked Congress to finish what it started in the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 by adding overdue reforms including the right to jury trials, temporary relief, and protection from retaliatory investigations. Finally, the coalition recommended following the lead of the European Union and Ukraine, who recently passed whistleblower laws that shield whistleblowers from retaliatory civil and criminal lawsuits. Those attacks can be far more chilling than workplace harassment.
Government Accountability Project’s Legal Director Tom Devine stated:
“Due to a political impasse, currently there is almost no enforcement for the Whistleblower Protection Act or any other laws that keep corruption or politics out of the federal work force. That is because since 2015 the Senate has refused to act on any nominees for the now dormant Merit Systems Protection Board. Congress needs to stop dawdling, because the public is getting burned.”
Contact: Tom Devine, Legal Director
Phone: (202) 457-0034 ext. 124
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.