Most importantly, it provides federal whistleblower protection laws to members of the Intelligence Community for the first time. I strongly support this provision. It provides protections without harming national security. Coupled with a new process to challenge suspensions of security clearances, it provides real protections for Intelligence Community employees.
This important bill is now pending in the House. I know that Congressman Issa is a supporter of this legislation and that the bill has been referred to his Committee, along with some others. I'd encourage all of you to work constructively with the House to make sure that this legislation continues to progress.
It would be a great victory for all whistleblowers to have this bill signed into law. Protections for federal employees need to be strengthened, and this bill does that.
I've said it for many years--I'd like to see the President of the United States have a Rose Garden ceremony honoring whistleblowers. This would send a message from the very top of the government to the bottom about the importance and value of whistleblowers. They deserve it, and we all ought to be grateful for their efforts. It would be the perfect event for the President to sign a bill like the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.
But, federal employee whistleblowers are only one story in a fight on many fronts. Other legislation provides significant protections for private sector employees working in critical sectors.
I was an original sponsor of the False Claims Act Amendments Act of 1986, the Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower protections, and the new whistleblower protections at the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Corporation. These groundbreaking laws represent a commitment on the federal level that recognizes the good that whistleblowers bring when they are free to speak. They provide an opportunity to ensure that the truth comes out in our financial sector.
However, these important laws are only as strong as the resolve of the whistleblowers to stand up, speak out, and fight to bring the forward the truth. Every day whistleblowers like you are doing your part. By attending events like this and coming forward to tell your stories, you help to put a face and a name on whistleblower issues. I thank you for coming here today to tell these stories in a public setting.In closing, I'd like to again thank you all for putting together this forum. It represents the hard work and patriotic spirit of individuals. As long as I'm around in Congress, I'll keep fighting for whistleblowers right beside you. Thank you.
The conference also included a historic panel discussion with distinguished authors of whistleblower books who were present to autograph and discuss their books and advocacy, following a whistleblower film screening at Busboys and Poets at 14th and V. Street.
A native of the Arkansas Delta
Region, Michael McCray traveled to Washington during the Clinton Administration
and worked at U.S. Department of Agriculture on the Federal Empowerment Zone
Program, which was a Clinton White House Initiative. But he blew the whistle on
over $40 Million of waste, fraud and abuse at USDA and the mismanagement of
millions of dollars intended to benefit low and moderate income communities. He
became a federal whistleblower.
ACORN 8: Race, Power & Politics (Book Cover) by American Banner Books
After suffer devastating discrimination and retaliation at USDA, McCray continued his advocacy on behalf of marginalized people by joining ACORN. You can say he wrote the book on ACORN corruption, because he really did. His new book ACORN 8: Race Power & Politics describes the inner struggle within the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now and how it exploited the low-income and minority members it was founded to serve.