Good Government Groups Urge Removal of Whistleblower Provisions from the CR
A coalition of nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations has banded together to voice their concerns and urge the Senate to remove provisions from the Continuing Resolution (CR) that they say would not adequately protect whistleblowers at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO), Government Accountability Project (GAP), Senior Executives Association (SEA) and Public Citizen issued a joint statement today, outlining their concerns regarding the creation of a Central Whistleblower Office.
“The language buried in this bill sounds like it’s designed to protect whistleblowers -- but it may well be a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Danielle Brian, Executive Director at POGO.
Tom Devine, Legal Director of GAP said, “In GAP’s experience, federal agency-based whistleblower offices don't work.”
SEA President, Bill Valdez also noted that, historically, an agency’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has been the recipient of whistleblower disclosures.
“We share the fear that the proposed new Central Whistleblower Office, which is not independent, will be used by political appointees and management to retaliate against employees,” stated Valdez. “Further, the success of this new VA-specific whistleblower protocol is dependent on new obligations on supervisors and managers, who do not have the independence, experience, capacity, or power that would enable them to appropriately make determinations about disclosures.”
“The Central Whistleblower Office proposed in the CR will likely not be an effective mechanism to protect whistleblowers who bravely disclose waste, fraud, and abuse within the VA,” said Emily Gardner, Health and Safety Advocate at Public Citizen. “Moreover, such an office could be used as a trap, leaving whistleblowers vulnerable to employer retaliation.”
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