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Protecting Whistleblowers since 1977

House Adopts Anti-Gag Amendment in Energy Spending Bill

July 11, 2014
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Today, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) praised Representative Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) for her sponsorship of an anti-gag amendment that was adopted yesterday by the House of Representatives without opposition. The measure, which bans spending to silence Department of Energy (DOE) contractors who report wrongdoing, is part of the appropriations law that funds DOE – the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2015.

The amendment provides, "None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 4712 of title 341, United States Code." This means that DOE cannot legally spend funds to silence its contractor employees if/when they try to blow the whistle. The DOE has authority for the safety and security of nuclear weapons laboratories and production units, as well as storage of radioactive waste such as plutonium from nuclear power and weapons plants.

GAP Legal Director Tom Devine commented:

Representative Speier deserves appreciation for defending those who defend the taxpayers. For over three decades the Energy Department has been ignoring or defying whistleblower rights for its employees and contractors through repressive gag orders, while insisting that it fully complies with the law. It has consistently defied contractor whistleblower rights repeatedly enacted and strengthened in the National Defense Authorization Act and the False Claims Act, as well as the Whistleblower Protection Act and the Lloyd Lafollette Act protecting communications with Congress. DOE’s secrecy enforced by repression is unacceptable for an agency that literally has “lost” millions of gallons of highly radioactive waste – a potentially fatal error that was only made public by whistleblowing. If it starts to cost money, hopefully the Energy Department will stop a tradition of secrecy enforced through repression and start obeying our nation’s whistleblower laws.
 

Contact: Tom Devine, GAP Legal Director
Phone: 202.457.0034, ext. 124; cell 240.888.4080
Email: tomd@whistleblower.org

Contact: Sarah Damian, Communications Manager
Phone: 202.457.0034, ext. 130
Email: sarahd@whistleblower.org

Government Accountability Project
The Government Accountability Project is the nation's leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP's mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.

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