AALL recently signed on to this open letter to members of Congress to urge completion of the landmark, decades-long legislative effort to restore credible whistleblower rights for federal employees. While the Senate passed its Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA), S. 743, in May 2012, the House has not yet considered its bill, H.R. 3289. Signed by 141 diverse groups ranging from the Sierra Club to the National Organization for Women and including the Southeastern Chapter of AALL (SEAALL) and Susan Nevelow Mart, director of the William A. Wise Law Library at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the letter calls for swift action to “send a final bill to the President’s desk that includes the best of both H.R. 3289 and S. 743—not a watered-down version.”
AALL has long supported the need for improved protections for federal whistleblowers. Whistleblowers protect taxpayer dollars and help to ensure government accountability by speaking out against waste, fraud, and abuse. Government employees who blow the whistle also act as an alert system for problems and issues within the government that can impair the public’s right to know. In fact, it was an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) whistleblower that first alerted AALL to the proposed closure of the EPA libraries in 2006.
Since Congress last revised the Whistleblower Protection Act in 1994, a series of court decisions and a flawed administrative process have eroded the law so that it no longer adequately protects government whistleblowers. The current law must be enhanced to provide better protections for federal employees who wish to legally report problems at their agencies. By passing a strong bipartisan whistleblower reform law, Congress would ensure more efficient, transparent, and accountable government and save taxpayer money.
For more information on the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, see AALL’s advocacy one-pager, written in January 2012 by Emily M. Janoski-Haehlen of the 2012-2013 Government Relations Committee. Be sure to also check out AALL’s Formal Statements for the latest on our legislative positions and coalition work, including that on the WPEA.