NTU urges all Representatives to vote “YES” on H.R. 2988, the Whistleblower Protection Improvement Act (WPIA). Whistleblower protections are taxpayer protections, and this bipartisan legislation will make a number of best-practice improvements to existing whistleblower law. At a time when the federal government is spending historic amounts of taxpayer money, Congress should ensure that there is a robust oversight and accountability structure in place for waste or abuse of federal funds. Whistleblowers are an essential component of government oversight, yet blowing the whistle is still too difficult and too punishing for too many citizens. The WPIA would provide better support for these courageous individuals.
Congress has committed a historic level of funds to combatting the public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, on top of the trillions of taxpayer dollars the federal government already spends in a given year. Unfortunately, with significant and fast federal spending comes a substantially increased risk for waste, fraud, abuse, and misuse of taxpayer dollars. The Inspector General of the Department of Labor estimated that 10 percent of federal spending on enhanced unemployment insurance (UI) benefits -- $63 billion of $630 billion total -- has been misspent. Over 10 months in 2020 and 2021, the Department of Justice announced charges “in over 100 fraud-related cases associated with [Paycheck Protection Program] PPP loans, charging at least 170 defendants.”
Lawmakers have several tools at their disposal to oversee activity and spending decisions conducted by the sprawling executive branch, from committee work to GAO investigations to the robust federal Inspectors General system. NTU believes that whistleblowers are critical contributors to lawmakers’ oversight work. The WPIA contains several best-practice improvements to legal whistleblower protections, including prohibiting federal employees from retaliating against individuals who blow the whistle on government waste, fraud, and abuse of power; and protecting the privacy and confidentiality of whistleblowers so that they avoid unwelcome attention or harassment in the public square.
Contrary to some misperceptions, the vast majority of whistleblowers do not blow the whistle for political gain or personal fame. In fact, most individuals blow the whistle despite great risks to their careers and financial security. Congress should improve the legal support system for whistleblowers by passing the bipartisan WPIA.
Roll call votes on H.R. 2988 will be included in NTU’s annual Rating of Congress and a “YES” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.
If you have any questions, please contact NTU Director of Federal Policy Andrew Lautz at email@example.com.