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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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."