GAP Praises Legislation Aimed at Safeguarding Taxpayer Dollars
(Washington, D.C.) -- The Government Accountability Project (GAP) praised Senator Daniel Akaka and a bipartisan group of 11 other sponsors for today’s introduction of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA).
The legislation is identical to that unanimously approved last December by the Senate with one exception – removal of a loophole that would have excluded anti-retaliation protection for disclosures of “trivial” illegality which is minor, inadvertent, and occurs during the conscientious carrying out of official duties.
The bill includes protection for national security whistleblowers that the House removed last December after objections by retiring member Pete Hoekstra (R.-Mich.), the former ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Although both parties agreed to the removal and the bill passed that chamber unanimously, GAP has learned over the last several weeks that House Republican leadership secretly asked Senate Republican leadership to block the legislation’s passage, and the shrunken bill was killed on December 22 by a "secret hold" hours before Congress adjourned (see more below).
GAP Legal Director Tom Devine expressed appreciation for the bipartisan persistence by Senators Akaka, Charles Grassley (R.-Iowa), Joseph Lieberman (I.-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R.-Maine), stating: “These four Senate offices have been a bipartisan 'Good Government Gang of Four' with a marathon commitment since 2000 to pass this reform for both taxpayers and the public servants who defend them against bureaucratic abuses.” Devine explained “The whistleblower bill always has had bipartisan public support, but these offices defend whistleblowers behind closed doors as well.”