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Real Federal Employee Whistleblower Protections Needed

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opednews.com Headlined to H3 12/22/10

In our tripartite system of government, we need a legislative solution to our nation's need to protect those who bring forward valid whistleblower complaints. Just like former President Abraham Lincoln needed to know which military contractors were adulterating the troops gun power with sawdust, our leaders need hear the truth, otherwise they cannot wisely govern.

But when whistleblowers urgently wish to "Tell Truth To Power" and there is no avenue for protected disclosure that permits leadership to consider valid complaints, the media then becomes a vehicle for exposing needed information. This kind of leaking often leads to a political response to the message rather than a balanced and reasoned review of facts.

Uncontrolled leaks of sensitive classified information are not the pathway to well-considered actions to correct systemic governmental problems. The media does sometimes jolt us out of our complacency and demands action from government officials. But the media does not always handle such materials in appropriate ways and, once disclosed, the outcome is not always as expected or wanted.

A more orderly method to legally consider whistleblower complaints is critical to the proper functioning of our government, which is why there are official channels for whistleblower complaints. But even a cursory review of the functioning of this internal system to provide U.S. governmental agencies feedback about their own performance problems will demonstrate a system that is broken. Currently, this system does not properly function to protect whistleblowers from violations of their civil and human rights and it also does not protect the safety and security of the American public.

Our federal employees are mandated to report violations of civil rights and also violations of human rights to the United States Office of Special Counsel (OSC). The Special Counsel is the highest position in the OSC, which upholds anti-discrimination laws and whistleblower protections for federal employees.

While Scott Bloch was in charge, the OSC refused to hear cases, and dismissed or closed hundreds of whistleblower complaints without investigation. Whistleblowers were punished for exposing wrongdoing and for speaking the truth. Criminal fraud against the American taxpayer and violations of the civil and human rights of US Citizens were not investigated. As Special Counsel of the OSC, Scott Bloch even destroyed evidence of his own obstruction of justice by destroying official files and impeding an official federal investigation.

There was evidence found by the FBI that Scott Bloch deleted emails from governmental computers. Scott Bloch had used an outside company to "scrub" computer files to prevent an inquiry into whether he had violated the Hatch Act by mixing politics with his job, which was supposed to shield whistleblowers, not use their protected disclosures to protect political ambitions.

With the head of the Office of Special Counsel actually working to prevent investigation into violations of civil rights and violations of the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA), it is clear that our nation did not have an effective watch dog to protect the US taxpayers purse or their security and safety. Finally under the cloud of a FBI investigation, on April 27, 2010, the former Special Counsel at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), Scott J. Bloch pleaded guilty to criminal contempt of Congress and left his job. But there has still been no major reform of the Office of Special Counsel and thus whistleblowers, especially those reporting on national security concerns or human rights violations are particularly vulnerable to retliation -- workplace, professional and personal.

Another internal system for federal whistleblowers to present their complaints is the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). But the record of MSPB is clearly stacked against whistleblowers, with the vast majority of cases summarily dismissed without whistleblowers ever getting a chance to present their evidence in front of the Board. It is a broken agency which desperately needs extensive reform.

Without meaningful reform, the MSPB could continue to dismiss whistleblowers without hearings based just on agency affidavits. A sole whistleblower going up against a governmental agency and its extensive bureaucracy is never a fair fight, so it is critical that employees who are in positions related to our national defense and security have the opportunity to have their voices heard.

We need to pass legislation that contains the necessary changes to our governmental infrastructure so that we have true reform -- not illusion -- but real protections for the rights of federal whistleblowers. This critical infrastructure for protected disclosure of whistleblower complaints is needed to keep our nation safe and to prevent our national security from being eroded by fraud, criminal activity and waste.

In this next week, the US House will consider S-372 the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA). Protecting whistleblowers is a reform that has strong support across ideological lines and from both sides of the aisle.

Federal employees must have the tools to fight back when they are fired, harassed or demoted in retaliation for their efforts to protect public health and safety, and taxpayer dollars. There can be no adequate whistleblower protection without the implementation of a constitutional right to trial by jury secured by the 7th amendment, combined with repealing the government's immunities for committing violations of the law.

Let us make this legislation as strong as possible to protect those whistleblowers risking their careers and their personal reputations to bring "Truth To Power."

 

Take action -- click here to contact your local newspaper or congress people:
Federal Whistleblower Protections Need to be REAL

Click here to see the most recent messages sent to congressional reps and local newspapers

http://www.medicalwhistleblower.viviti.com

Medical Whistleblower is an organization dedicated to advocacy and emotional support for those who have bravely stepped forward to "Tell Truth to Power" to the Medical Establish. Medical Whistleblowers report Medical Fraud, Abuse and Neglect to (more...)
 

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