Senate Hearing on Secret Law and Accountable Government

April 28, 2008

On Wednesday, April 30, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights Subcommittee will hold a hearing, “Secret Law and the Threat to Democratic and Accountable Government.” The hearing will take place at 9 a.m. in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Witnesses will include:

Steven Aftergood
Director
Project on Government Secrecy
Federation of American Scientists
Washington, DC

Bradford Berenson
Partner
Sidley Austin LLP
Washington, DC

Dawn Johnsen
Professor
Indiana University School of Law – Bloomington
Former Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel
Bloomington, Indiana

Heidi Kitrosser
Associate Professor of Law
University of Minnesota Law School
Minneapolis, Minnesota

J. William Leonard
Former Director
Information Security Oversight Office
Leonardtown, Maryland

David Rivkin
Partner
Baker Hostetler
Washington, DC

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

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Senate Addresses Whistleblower Protections

February 27, 2008

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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