Senate Addresses Whistleblower Protections

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing today on the False Claims Act, a law that allows whistleblowers to file lawsuits on behalf of the federal government when the government is the victim of fraud. Under the False Claims Act, plaintiffs generally receive 15-25 percent of the financial award. The Act has returned $20 billion dollars of taxpayer money to the treasury. The hearing today will focus on legislation (S. 2041) introduced by Senator Grassley (R-IA) last September to strengthen the Act against recent federal court decisions that have weakened the law. The hearing is happening now, and a webcast is available on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s website.

Yesterday, AALL and 45 good government and consumer groups sent a letter to Senators in support of whistleblower protections in legislation to strengthen the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The legislation (S. 2663), sponsored by Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR), includes “best practices” whistleblower protections for employees of the CPSC, which is responsible for ensuring the safety of consumer products such as toys, power tools, and household chemicals. The massive toy recall last year makes clear that employees of the CPSC need protections so that they can speak out about unsafe practices. AALL supports whistleblower protections as a means of ensuring government accountability and advancing a more open government.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

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