Dear Chairman Lieberman, Ranking Member Collins, and Members of the Committee:
On behalf of the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I wish to reiterate our strong support for S. 241, the Non-Federal Employee Whistleblower Protection Act. All lawmakers who are concerned about establishing a more robust and credible early warning system for waste, fraud, and abuse in federal spending programs should make passage of this legislation an urgent priority.
Throughout NTU’s institutional history, we have maintained that whistleblower protection is taxpayer protection. On numerous issues, ranging from the C-5A aircraft to the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act, whistleblowers have provided truly constructive information on the malfunctioning machinery of government. And far from simply supplying the media with more lurid headlines about that machinery, whistleblowers can give lawmakers a unique inside perspective on how to fix it. Unfortunately, unless Congress acts to affirm and expand anti-retaliation safeguards to these brave employees, taxpayers will be deprived of the future benefits that such firsthand knowledge can deliver.
While NTU believes that all federal employees should have more secure whistleblower rights (such as those provided in S. 743), the legislation now before you would take a critical step as well. With hundreds of billions of dollars of federal business flowing through contractors, workers who witness fiscal malfeasance on the job could make a tremendous contribution toward more careful stewardship of the government’s balance sheet. Passage of S. 241 could help make the difference between an oversight process characterized by long-after-the-fact reports and often-futile recovery efforts, versus one that can have more near-time, actionable information to stop waste as it is happening.
It is our hope that the Committee will avoid distractions and unite behind this legislation. Whether one supports more “insourcing” or believes in the efficiency of more private-sector contracting of government services, this legislation serves the desirable end of improving management of the nation’s finances. Whether or not one supports less “red tape” surrounding workplace, environmental, and other federal rules for those who do business with the government, whistleblower rights should stand on their own as an essential and sensible component of fiscal transparency and accountability.
Please take this opportunity to express your commitment to protect those who protect taxpayers. Roll call floor votes in favor of S. 241 will be included in NTU’s annual Rating of Congress as pro-taxpayer votes. Please contact me if I can provide further information.
Sincerely,Pete SeppExecutive Vice President