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Fifteen Conservative Groups Tell Congress: Enact Federal Whistleblower Protections Now!
(Alexandria, VA) – “Whistleblower protection is taxpayer protection” – that’s the message headlining an open letter to Congress released this week, which is signed by 15 organizations from the conservative and free market movement. The coalition, spearheaded by the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), calls for passage of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. The legislation (S. 743) has backing from a bipartisan group of 14 Senators led by Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
“Whistleblowers have historically made valuable contributions to the cause of overburdened taxpayers, from uncovering improper subsidy payments, to identifying abuses of power at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), to reporting government agency malfeasance,” the signatories noted. “Unfortunately, at a time when America most urgently needs the best value for every dollar Washington spends, these victories for taxpayers are likely to be rarer.” The signatories expressed this concern because Congress has adopted protections shielding federal whistleblowers from retaliation several times in the past, only to have them undone by hostile court rulings.
S. 743 would not only reaffirm previously enacted provisions, but would also establish new rights such as limited jury trial access and expanded coverage of whistleblower status to national security employees who work within proper channels. The letter makes the case for passing S. 743 from a limited-government perspective while addressing points raised from some right-of-center lawmakers over the effect such legislation would have on national security, judicial workloads, and federal human resources procedures.
“Many Members of the 112th Congress, especially in the freshman class, have staked their political reputations upon changing the culture of tax-borrow-and-spend in Washington,” the letter concluded. “This entails not only fiscal discipline mechanisms to bring reform from without, but also an environment that encourages reform from within. The credibility of this Congress depends upon its willingness to do both, and strengthening federal whistleblower protections ought to be an expeditious and non-controversial way of doing so.”
In addition to NTU, groups signing the letter are: the American Policy Center, the Center for Fiscal Accountability at Americans for Tax Reform, the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, the Center for Individual Freedom, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Family Research Council Action, the Hispanic Leadership Fund, Let Freedom Ring, the Liberty Coalition, The National Center for Public Policy Research, Our Generation, The Rutherford Institute, Take Back Washington, and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.
NTU Executive Vice President Pete Sepp observed that the highly-successful Washington Whistleblower Assembly this week, along with President Obama’s announcement of a new initiative for whistleblower rights, are further signs that all points of the political spectrum may soon be able to reach a consensus on reform legislation. “Whatever future direction fiscal policy may take, everyone in Washington ought to agree that the law should stand in solidarity with those who stand up for taxpayers,” he said. “That process begins by enacting S. 743.”
The 362,000-member NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels.