National Whistleblower Day

On July 30, 2015, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon was a keynote speaker at the first Congressional celebration of National Whistleblower Day. The event, hosted by the National Whistleblower Center, marked the commemoration of July 30th as National Whistleblower Day and recognized the passage of the first ever whistleblower law that date in 1778, as well as the crucial role whistleblowers play today in defending our nation from waste, fraud and abuse.
Continue Reading Senator Wyden Pledges to Support Whistleblowers

On July 30, the U.S. Senate’s Kennedy Caucus Room was packed with whistleblowers, their families and whistleblower advocates as six senators and one representative each gave moving remarks in recognition of National Whistleblower day. This event, hosted by the National Whistleblower Center, marked the first Congressional celebration of National Whistleblower Day. The commemoration of July 30th as National Whistleblower Day recognizes the passage of the first ever whistleblower law that date in 1778, as well as the crucial role whistleblowers play today in defending our nation from waste, fraud and abuse.
Continue Reading Senators Honor Whistleblowers at First Congressional Celebration of National Whistleblower Day

The Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus announced on April 14, that it is adding two new members. Senators John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) are joining the bipartisan caucus, a group of senators committed to raising awareness of the value and need to protect individuals who call attention to fraud, waste and misconduct.

“Whether it is in the government or private sector, whistleblowers play an invaluable role to keep organizations accountable. Unfortunately, these brave and patriotic citizens often face ridicule and retaliation for their disclosures.  I’m happy that Senators Boozman and Carper are joining our effort on the Whistleblower Protection Caucus to protect whistleblowers and send the message that they should be commended, not condemned, for their work to keep their organization honest,” Grassley said. 
Continue Reading Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus Adds Members

Washington, D.C.  February 24, 2015.  On Wednesday, February 25, at 2:30 p.m. (ET), Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Wyden will host a press conference to launch the Whistleblower Protection Caucus in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.  Sen. Grassley is the chairman of the caucus and Sen. Wyden is the vice-chairman.

A number of whistleblowers and whistleblower advocates will also be in attendance, including FBI crime lab whistleblower Dr. Frederic Whitehurst and Stephen M. Kohn, executive director of the National Whistleblower Center.

Senator Grassley, the leading champion of whistleblower protection on Capitol Hill, announced the formation of a Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus on the 25th Anniversary of the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 this past April 10th. 
Continue Reading Press Alert: Press Conference Wednesday to Launch Whistleblower Protection Caucus

In an editorial published yesterday in Politico Magazine, Senators Ron Wyden and Chuck Grassley criticize the IRS whistleblower program. The editorial, “Will the IRS Ever Listen?” states that the backlog on cases is too long and that the IRS needs to better manage its relationships with whistleblowers.  They point out that 799 whistleblower claims made prior to 2007 remain open.

The Senators made reference to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s August 2014 Policy statement, stating they hope his “message is just the beginning of real reforms in the way whistleblowers are treated.” But state that while there has been some success with the IRS whistleblower program that they routinely hear complaints from whistleblowers about how the IRS handles their cases.
Continue Reading Senators advise IRS to be more receptive to whistleblowers

Yesterday, Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Wyden expressed optimism that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) whistleblowers may receive better protection under new guidelines outlined in a proposal to President Barack Obama.  The Department of Justice forwarded a copy of the Attorney General’s report titled “Department of Justice Report on Regulations Protecting FBI Whistleblowers.”  As I wrote in a previous post, the Senators requested a copy of this long overdue report in August 2014.

“Nobody’s got on rose-colored glasses that the culture for whistleblowers at the FBI will change anytime soon, but many of the items outlined in the FBI’s analysis are promising.  I’m not a fan of all of the recommendations, but it would at least be a step forward if some of them are actually implemented and carried out.  That said, in an agency with so much focus on the chain of command, it makes no sense for the FBI to be the only agency in the federal government not to protect disclosures of waste, fraud, and abuse to immediate supervisors,” Grassley said.
Continue Reading DOJ Releases Report on FBI Whistleblower Protections

Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Wyden issued the following press statement today in regard to the National Intelligence Agency’s plans to implement continuous monitoring of security clearance holders and it’s impact on whistleblowers who communicate with members of Congress:

Grassley, Wyden Press for Answers on Continuous Monitoring of
Whistleblower and Legislative Branch Communications

            WASHINGTON – Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Wyden are pressing the Director of National Intelligence to explain in detail how the intelligence community plans to implement continuous monitoring of security clearance holders without undermining legal protections for whistleblowers or constitutional protections for the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branch.

In a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Grassley and Wyden noted that any monitoring within the executive branch must preserve the rights and confidentiality of whistleblowers when making protected disclosures to Congress or Inspectors General.

The senators wrote, “If whistleblower communications with Inspectors General or with Congress are routinely monitored and conveyed to agency leadership, it would defeat the ability to make protected disclosures confidentially, which is especially important in an intelligence community context.  Truly meaningful whistleblower protections need to include the option of a legitimate channel for confidential disclosures.  Inspectors General and Congress provide such an option.  However, if potential whistleblowers believe that disclosing waste, fraud or abuse means putting a target on their backs for retaliation, they will be intimidated into silence.  The failure to provide such protected alternatives could result in whistleblowers choosing to make unprotected disclosures in public forums, with potential negative consequences for national security.”
Continue Reading Senators Demand Answers on Surveillance of Whistleblower Communications with Congress