This week, the Senate took a vital step towards improving government accountability and protecting those government workers who speak out against waste, fraud, and abuse by passing S. 743, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) by unanimous consent. This landmark legislation, which NTU has been avidly fighting in favor of for years, took over a decade to wind its way up to the sitting president’s desk and now finally appears poised to become law.
Although similar legislative efforts have been made in the past, they have largely been undone through the courts, leaving would-be whistleblowers few avenues for reporting government abuses on the job without fear of retaliation. S.743 has been crafted with these past defects in mind, and seeks to remedy former oversights. Among the new safeguards are provisions to:
- Close loopholes previously created by the courts that eliminated protections for some of the most frequently encountered whistleblower problems
- Extend the span of protections into more sectors of government
- Allow the Office of Special Counsel to file amicus briefs in support of whistleblowers
These new measures will go a long way towards helping streamline the whistleblower process, strengthening the protections for federal employees who speak out, and essentially making government more accountable to the people whom it serves.
NTU is just one of the many organizations across the political spectrum who have advocated along with members of Congress for a stronger whistleblower protection law. In September, Republican Congressman Todd Platts of Pennsylvania thanked NTU and a number of others for our work on behalf of the legislation, saying:
“Without all of their efforts, we would not be in a position to finally secure enactment of this important legislation that insures whistleblowers with the courage to report waste, fraud, and abuse are applauded---not punished.”