200 citizen groups are uniting to support Whistleblower protection. Now, we need you. It is time to turn words into action.
Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project (GAP), spelled out yesterday that we have a unique and urgent opportunity to pass the most important whistleblower protection act in a generation. Initially, 112 groups joined this effort, which is completely bipartisan and includes all of the good government groups in Washington. But now, we need to make it a grass roots effort.
A New Paradigm?
Partnership between web-based progressive readers/authors/activists and good government groups!
We need every reader of Op Ed news, every author and every group affiliated to join in this unprecedented effort to support public rights and freedom. The power of Op Ed news, when joined to that of leading public interest groups like GAP, is immense. We can bring change by linking new media, the internet, and good government groups.
The time has come for all readers of OpEd news to join, and sign the petition, and have every community grassroots group with a computer contact us today and join. Whether you represent ten people or a entire state, we need you now!
GROUP SIGN-ON OPPORTUNITY!
ALL groups interested in genuine free-speech rights for government workers are encouraged to sign the Whistleblower Protection Act Petition.
E-mail email@example.com with 'WPA Petition' in Subject Line to sign.
To read the letter and to see the full list of organizational signers, www.whistleblower.org/doc/2008/CoalitionLetterJune4.pdf
To send a letter to your members of Congress in support of whistleblower rights for government employees, go to www.whistlebloweraction.org
Public Citizen completely agrees with GAP: "When scientific research is altered or suppressed, government contractors waste millions of taxpayer dollars, or national security documents are falsified, witnesses need to know that they can blow the whistle without reprisals endangering their careers and their lives. Unfortunately, that is not the case today."
We are close to ending retaliation against those who speak up against abuses – and the unmistakable, chilling message that reprisals against whistleblowers sends to all employees that they should keep quiet, or else.
Last year, strong whistleblower protection bills were passed in both houses of Congress. Now it’s time for Congress to finish the job by passing a final bill.
Beth Daley of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) writes: "Last year, Congress took an important step toward restoring whistleblower rights by advancing a vital piece of legislation that will protect whistleblowers from retaliation. Both the House and Senate passed the bill by a veto-proof majority. Now, it is up to Congress to finish the job by reconciling the House and Senate versions, and sending a finalized bill to the president for his signature. Unfortunately, every day that passes without a finalized version of the bill has very tangible consequences for scores of whistleblowers who still lack viable legal rights. Please click on the "Take Action" link below to tell your members of Congress that you support enhanced protections for government employees who blow the whistle on waste, fraud, and abuse."
“Millions of Americans have spoken, in a mind-boggling show of unity” stated Mr. Mike McCray, Esq., co-leader of the Intenational Association of Whistleblowers (IAW): “Citizen groups on both the right and the left have united. Whistleblowers protect the health, safety, environment, civil rights and the rule of law in our society. By protecting whistleblowers, we protect our citizens and our society.”
The Whistleblower legislation is universally endorsed by good government groups, from Public Citizen to the ACLU to the Make It Safe Coalition (MISC), the Liberty Coalition (LC), the International Association of Whistleblowers (IAW) and Doctors coalitions led by the Semmelweis Society International (SSI), and many other non-alligned public interest groups, representing millions of Americans.
This letter, addressed to Sen. Joseph Lieberman; Sen. Susan Collins; Sen. Daniel Akaka; Sen. George Voinovich; Rep. Henry Waxman; Rep. Tom Davis; Rep. Todd Platts; Rep. Chris Van Hollen asked for rapid enactment of the Whistleblower Protection Act, a landmark, eight-year legislative effort to restore a credible Whistleblower Protection.
The original 112 united groups last month asked Congressional support to “expeditiously conclude the process of reconciling House nd Senate passed versions of this vital good government legislation, H.R. 985 and S. 274. However, with new momentum established through the unrelenting pressure of persons associated with Op Ed news, there is no telling how many groups will eventually unite.
"This is the most powerful exercise of grass roots democracy I've ever seen," stated IAW co-chair Dr. James Murtagh. “The partnership of internet-based advocates such as Op Ed News, and good government groups like GAP, POGO, IAW, MISC, Public Citizen is overwhelming."
All involved agreed that this is a test case of how well such a partnership can work to bring about lasting, meaningful, and even astounding change.
Essential provisions of this bill would:
o Grant employees the right to a jury trial in federal court;
o Specifically protect federal scientists who report efforts to alter, misrepresent, or suppress federal research;
o Extend meaningful protections to FBI and intelligence agency whistleblowers;
o Strengthen protections for federal contractors, as strong as those provided to DoD contractors and grantees in last year's defense authorization legislation;
o Extend meaningful protections to Transportation Security Officers (screeners);
o Neutralize the government's use of the “state secrets” privilege;
o Bar the MSPB from ruling for an agency before whistleblowers have the opportunity to present evidence of retaliation;
o Provide whistleblowers the right to be made whole, including compensatory damages;
o Grant comparable due process rights to employees who blow the whistle in the course of a government investigation or who refuse to violate the law; and
o Remove the Federal Circuit's monopoly on precedent-setting cases.
As noted by the unity letter: “Once the reconciled version becomes law, the real winners will be the public! “
112 public interest groups urge all Americans to write their Congresspersons and demand enactment of the WPA. Public safety depends on swift action.
For a complete text of the letter, see the Government Accountability Project at click.
Complete listing of the 112 united groups endorsing the WPA support letter:
Action for a Clean Environment ; Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility ;
Alliance for Patient Safety ; American Association for Justice (AAJ) ; American Association of Law Libraries ; American Association of Small Property Owners ;American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression ;American Civil Liberties Union ; American Federation of Government Employees ; American Society of Journalists and Authors ; Atlanta WAND (Women's Action for New Directions) ; Bill of Rights Defense Committee ; Center for Biological Diversity ; Center for Corporate Policy ; Center for Democracy and Technology ; Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights ; Center for Science in the Public Interest ; Center to Advance Human Potential; Circumpolar Conservation Union; Citizen Action New Mexico ; Citizens Awareness Network ; Coalition on Political Assassinations; 9/11 Research Project ; 3.5.7 Commission on Judicial Reform ; Common Cause ;Community Service Organization del Norte ; Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety; Concerned Foreign Service Officers; Congress Against Racism & Corruption in Law Enforcement (CARCLE) ;Consumers Union ; Defenders of Wildlife ; Defending Dissent Foundation; Disaster Accountability Project; Education Writers Association; EnviroJustice ;Environmental Defense Institute; Essential Information; Ethics in Government Group; Federation of American Scientists; Feminists For Free Expression; Focus-On-Indiana for Judicial Reform; Food and Water Watch; Food Not Bombs/Atlanta; Foundation for Global Community/Atlanta; Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers); Fund for Constitutional Government; Georgians for Open Government; Global Green USA; Government Accountability Project; Grandmothers for Peace, San Luis Obispo County Chapter; Green Party of the United States; HALT, Inc. -- An Organization of Americans for Legal Reform; Hanford Challenge; Health Integrity Project; Institute for Energy and Environmental Research; Integrity International; International Association of Whistleblowers;Iranian American Democratic Association; James Madison Project; Justice Through Music; Liberty Coalition;Micah's Mission; The Multiracial Activist; National Accountant Whistleblower Coalition; National Association of Science Writers; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Consumers League; National Employment Lawyers Association; National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc.; National Research Center for Women & Families;National Taxpayers Union ;National Treasury Employees Union; National Whistleblower Center; National Women's Health Network;NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby; New Grady Coalition; New Jersey Work Environment Council; Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, New York; Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS); Nuclear Information and Resource Service ;OMB Watch; OpenTheGovernment.org; OSC Watch; Our Bodies Ourselves; Patrick Henry Center; Peace Action & Peace Action Education Fund; Pentecostals & Charismatics for Peace & Justice; Privacy International; Professional Inventor's Alliance; Project On Government Oversight; Proposition One Committee ;Public Citizen ;
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility;The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press; Reproductive Health Technologies Project;The Rutherford Institute ;Safe Water Colorado and Nuclear Nexus Projects; The Semmelweis Society International (SSI); Society of Professional Journalists;The Student Health Integrity Project (SHIP); Sustainable Energy and Economy Network (SEEN); Taxpayers Against Fraud; Truckers Justice Center; Union of Concerned Scientists; U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation; U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S.PIRG); Veterans Affairs Whistleblowers Coalition;We the People, Inc; Western Organization of Resource Councils; Whistleblower Mentoring Project; Whistleblowers USA; WoodyMatters
Also, we urge all citizens to join at: