The Public Suffers as Corporations and Government Stonewall and exploit loopholes
Washington- Department of Labor studies this month confirm America's whistleblower laws, including the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act, are ineffective, and that patriotic truth tellers are being ignored, retaliated against and betrayed by cronies of the Bush administration. In response, 182 public interest groups are calling on the presidential candidates to take a stand, and to debate protection of our nation through whistleblower protection.
“Why don't the presidential candidates speak out?” asked Dr. James Murtagh, co-chair of the International Association of Whistleblowers (IAW), "The byzantine loopholes in SOX puts the public at risk- in defense, in environment, and in healthcare. This is bipartisan, and the candidates must take a pledge, and should debate this issue. We are losing our country to fraudsters!”
Sen. Leahy and Sen. Grassley, who wrote SOX provisions to protect whistleblowers, said that "there is simply no basis to assert" that employees of the subsidiaries of publicly traded companies aren't covered under the act, as the department has asserted in numerous recent cases.
Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project, (GAP), called the department's stance "dysfunctional," saying: "This one is a no-brainer. There is nothing in the law that allows for that type of loophole."
Department of Labor statistics show that the government has ruled in favor of whistleblowers only 17 times out of 1,273 complaints filed since 2002, according to department records. Another 841 cases have been dismissed. "Absolutely, this is opposite of the intent of the Congress that drafted Sarbanes-Oxley," stated Dr. Murtagh. "Now, we need a grass-roots democratic action to show the public won't stand for this nonsense. Pass the WPA now!"
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Dr. James Murtagh, co-chair of IAW, presents award to Senator Grassley
Mike McCray, Esq. co-chair of the IAW explained “Whistleblower's provide an import check on abusive government and corporate power. The media used to perform this function as the as the Fourth Estate, but since media conglomeration; large corporate interests control the media and both political parties. So whistleblowers are the only check left on governmental and corporate abuse of power.”
“Patients suffer the most,” continued Dr. Blake Moore, spokesperson t of the Semmelweis Society, a group that champions medical integrity. “That's why we work with a broad coalition of patient groups that want to protect truth tellers in hospitals. It is a matter of life and death to stop medical fraudsters.”
Tom Devine testified to Congress in May 2007, along with truth-teller Dr. Jeffrey Wigand (aka "The Insider"): "Most frustrating under Sarbanes Oxley, it is not enough to blow the whistle on illegality. The question still has not been clearly answered, "How illegal is illegal enough for free speech rights?"
Richard Moberly, a University of Nebraska law professor, has compiled data showing that corporations skirt Sarbanes-Oxley by working through corporate subsidiaries.
The Bush administration's Labor Department's administrative review board, has been the chief obstacle, routinely ignoring, betraying and retaliating against whistleblowers.
Michael McCray condemned this practice. "Our nation must have an absolute policy to protect truth tellers. This entire mortgage fiasco and predatory lending melt-down could have been avoided if SOX had teeth. Right now, whistleblowers are like David against Goliath without even a slingshot.”
"Courts are at fault," stated Zena Crenshaw, Esq. treasurer of the IAW. "Courts have taken the muddy areas of this law, and muddied them further. Judges need to enforce Congress's original intent to protect truth-tellers and free speech, and stop legislating from the bench to protect corporate cronies in their jurisdictions." The problem is not the law; it is the administration of the laws through the courts and administrative procedures. There is less than a 2% chance of victory in Title VII cases or for judicial whistleblowers. Judges' official statistics for 1997-2006 show that the judiciary engaged in the systematic dismissal of judicial misconduct complaints without any investigation: In those 10 years, 7,462 complaints were filed, but the judges appointed only 7 special investigative committees.
The IAW has joined with GAP and more than 182 public interest groups to pass Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA), H.R. 985 and S. 274. C urgently, this act is in reconciliation committee led by 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
"We live in a historic time," stated Dr. Murtagh. "We are planning massive events and campaigns to close these loopholes. America has suffered too many Enrons, Worldcoms, Tenets, and other fiascos. From the shuttle explosion to mortgage meltdowns, disasters can be avoided only if the truth is protected."
"That is why passing the WPA is our top priority."
Rob Kall and Op Ed News Urges every public interest group at local, state and national levels to sign onto the letter urging swift passage of the WPA to fix this horrible state of affairs. No group is too small or to large. 182 good government groups have joined the fight. We believe Op Ed News can recruit at least double this number. Every good government group in the nation must act now!
Let's increase the coalitions' fighting strength to at least 500! Write to us now! Join the force to take back our country!
James J. Murtagh, Jr. is a doctor of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine, and the Medical Director of several sleep laboratories in Southern Ohio. Dr. Murtagh extensively writes on medical ethics. Dr. Murtagh is the founder of a new (more...