Yesterday, Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) introduced the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2011 (WPEA), S. 743. Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) issued the following statement on this bill:
In December of 2010, the National Whistleblowers Center (NWC), the Federal Ethics Center, the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition and the No FEAR Coalition, together with nationally respected whistleblowers and thousands of citizen activists, strongly opposed the prior version of the WPEA (S. 372) calling it a "bad deal for whistleblowers." We laid out seven detailed reasons for why the bill would be detrimental for federal employees and would roll back existing whistleblower protections.
We were strongly criticized for opposing S. 372. We were told that this was the best bill we were going to get and if we did not change our position federal employee whistleblower protections offered in the new Congress would be worse. However, we believed that we were doing what was in the best interest of all federal employee whistleblowers and refused to back down.
Federal employees deserve better and were promised more by President Obama. If the flawed S. 372 had passed in December, all federal employees would have been materially harmed by the roll backs in protections. We had no choice but to stand our ground and it turns out that we were right - changes could be made to improve the bill.
The WPEA was re-introduced yesterday with one of our major concerns fixed. The exception for "minor" and "inadvertent" violations of law in the definition of protection disclosure has now been removed from this latest version of the Senate bill.
We are pleased that the Senate sponsors of the WPEA have agreed with the NWC, the Federal Ethics Center, the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition and the No FEAR Coalition, and the thousands of persons who advocated for this important change in the bill from what was proposed in the last Congress.Continue Reading...