March 18, 2016

Wyden, Grassley, McCaskill, Bill Expands Whistleblower Protections to the Legislative Branch

WASHINGTON – In celebration of Sunshine Week, Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., joined Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., in introducing legislation to shield congressional employees from retaliation when they call attention to fraud, waste or mismanagement. The bill extends whistleblower protections in place at many executive branch agencies to the legislative branch of government.

“Everyone in government needs to do more to protect those who blow the whistle on waste of taxpayer funds, fraud or abuse. That includes Congress itself. This bipartisan bill will strengthen whistleblower protections, so legislative branch employees have the same safeguards as other federal workers,” Wyden said.

Wyden has fought hard to bring new sunlight to government, by standing up for whistleblowers. This week the Navy announced it would reverse its decision to promote an admiral who retaliated against military whistleblowers after Wyden forced the department to reconsider the move.

“Congress has worked hard to encourage employees in the bureaucracy to come forward and disclose misconduct or waste at work, and we’ve put in place many protections so that these patriotic employees don’t face retribution for exposing the truth.  But Congress is not without its own flaws, and legislative branch employees should enjoy the same protections.  This bill simply applies to Congress the same philosophy that government workers should not be punished for disclosing wrongdoing,” Grassley said.

“Whistleblowers are our first line of defense against the abuse of taxpayer dollars. They play a critical role in ensuring government remains accountable to the public by exposing waste, fraud and abuse—and their place of employment shouldn’t mean they aren’t afforded legal protections that enable to them to come forward to report wrongdoing,” McCaskill said.

The senators’ bill is modeled after the Whistleblower Protection Act, which establishes a process for whistleblowers in many executive branch agencies to disclose concerns and prohibits agency authorities form retaliating against employees for such disclosures. The bill amends the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 to include the same principles.  Grassley has led the effort to bring whistleblower protections to Capitol Hill in each Congress since 2006

Full text of the bill can be found HERE.