This article discusses how passage of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) – a bill that would strengthen federal whistleblower protections – was derailed by the uproar over WikiLeaks, and ultimately killed in Congress by one anonymous senator’s secret hold on the legislation. Passage of the WPEA would have aided a group of federal air marshals (including GAP client Robert MacLean) who have been the subjects of several whistleblower retaliation cases.
Last week, the Senate voted to end the practice of secret holds – the action which defeated the whistleblower bill. However, GAP and On The Media are continuing a campaign to contact each senator’s office in order to ask them if they were the party who wrongfully killed the WPEA.
So far, 55 senators have confirmed that they did not place the secret hold. We are making progress, but we need your help to continue narrowing it down. Please call or write your respective senator, and, however they may answer, report your correspondence to On The Media at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Key Quote: "The WikiLeaks chaos creates new urgency to pass legislation," [GAP's Tom] Devine said. "If federal workers try to work within the system of professional checks and balances to report waste, fraud, and abuse, it almost guarantees professional suicide."
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On Thursday, Philadelphia officials requested a temporary ban on drilling new gas wells into areas that are sources for the city's water supply. Philadelphia is the latest in a string of cities and towns that are attempting to locally regulate controversial gas drilling – known as hydraulic fracturing – while the government continues its investigation into the technique.
Government Executive: MSPB Upholds Employee Appeal Rights
The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) ruled last week that federal workers can appeal to the MSPB if they have been “determined unfit for government employment and have been removed from their jobs.” The Board heard oral arguments in October about whether a decision to evaluate two government employees as “unsuitable” for their jobs should be subject to appeal.
Lindsay Bigda is Communications Fellow for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower advocacy organization.