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CFPHR letter Supporting Swift Action to Restore Strong, Comprehensive Whistleblower Rights

CFPHR letter Supporting Swift Action to Restore Strong, Comprehensive Whistleblower Rights September 8, 2008.

211 Public Interest Organizations Support Swift Action to Restore Strong, Comprehensive Whistleblower Rights
September 8, 2008

To: Sen. Joseph Lieberman; Sen. Susan Collins; Sen. Daniel Akaka; Sen. George Voinovich; Rep. Henry Waxman; Rep. Tom Davis; Rep. Todd Platts; Rep. Chris Van Hollen

The undersigned organizations, representing millions of Americans, write to support the completion of the landmark, eight-year legislative effort to restore a credible Whistleblower Protection Act. We offer our support to expeditiously conclude the process of reconciling House and Senate passed versions of this vital good government legislation, H.R. 985 and S. 274.

Unfortunately, every month that passes has very tangible consequences for scores of whistleblowers who still lack viable legal rights. In just the first three months of this year, since both chambers passed their versions of the legislation, whistleblowers have a 2-49 win-loss record in initial decisions from administrative hearings at the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). For final rulings by the MSPB, the record is 2-53 under the current Chair. Since January, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, which has a monopoly on appellate review, has ruled against whistleblowers in another thirteen consecutive decisions on the merits, leaving a track record of 2-203 since October 1994 when Congress last strengthened the law!

We stand ready to provide any information that would help expedite the process, and to help you come to agreement on any unresolved issues. Any compromise should protect several critical provisions, which have already passed with overwhelming support. It is crucial that the final bill:

• Grant employees the right to a jury trial in federal court;

• Specifically protect federal scientists who report efforts to alter, misrepresent, or suppress federal research;

• Extend meaningful protections to FBI and intelligence agency whistleblowers;

• Strengthen protections for federal contractors, as strong as those provided to DoD contractors and grantees in last year’s defense authorization legislation;

• Extend meaningful protections to Transportation Security Officers (screeners);

• Neutralize the government’s use of the “state secrets” privilege;

• Bar the MSPB from ruling for an agency before whistleblowers have the opportunity to present evidence of retaliation;

• Provide whistleblowers the right to be made whole, including compensatory damages;

• Grant comparable due process rights to employees who blow the whistle in the course of a government investigation or who refuse to violate the law; and

• Remove the Federal Circuit’s monopoly on precedent-setting cases.

We know that your offices share the commitment of every group signing the letter below and we deeply appreciate the years of effort to create more accountability in government. Please let us know how we can participate to expeditiously complete this badly needed good government reform. Once the reconciled version becomes law, the real winners will be the public!


Adele Kushner, Executive Director
Action for a Clean Environment

Pamela Miller, Director
*Alaska Community Action on Toxics

Dan Lawn, President
*Alaska Forum on Environmental Responsibility

Cindy Shogun, Executive Director
*Alaska Wilderness League

Susan Gordon, Director
*Alliance for Nuclear Accountability

Rochelle Becker, Executive Director
Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility

Gil Mileikowsky, M.D.
Alliance for Patient Safety

Linda Lipsen, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs
American Association for Justice (AAJ)

Mary Alice Baish, Acting Washington Affairs Representative
American Association of Law Libraries

F. Patricia Callahan, President and General Counsel
American Association of Small Property Owners

John W. Curtis, Ph.D., Director of Research and Public Policy
*American Association of University Professors

Christopher Finan, president
American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression

Caroline Fredrickson, Director, Washington Legislative Office
American Civil Liberties Union

Michael D. Ostrolenk
*American Conservative Defense Alliance

Dr. Paul Connett, Executive Director
*American Environmental Health Studies Project, Inc.

John Gage, National President
American Federation of Government Employees

Charles M. Loveless, Director of Legislation
*American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME)

Mary Ellen McNish, General Secretary
*American Friends Service Committee

Caitlin Love Hills, National Forest Program Director
*American Lands Alliance

Jessica McGilvray, Assistant Director
*American Library Association

Alexandra Owens, Executive Director
American Society of Journalists and Authors

Patricia Schroeder, President and CEO
*Association of American Publishers

Ms. Bobbie Paul, Executive Director
Atlanta WAND (Women’s Action for New Directions)

Samuel H. Sage, President
*Atlantic States Legal Foundation, Inc.

Jay Stewart, Executive Director
*Better Government Association

Matthew Fogg, First Vice-President
*Blacks in Government

Nancy Talanian, Director
Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Diane Wilson, President
*Calhoun County Resource Watch

Peter Scheer, Executive Director
*California First Amendment Association

Terry Franke, Executive Director
*Californians Aware

William Snape, Senior Counsel
Center for Biological Diversity

Charlie Cray, Director
Center for Corporate Policy

Gregory T. Nojeim, Senior Counsel and
Director, Project on Freedom, Security & Technology
Center for Democracy and Technology

Joseph Mendelson III, Legal Director
*Center for Food Safety

J . Bradley Jansen, Director
Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights

Paul Kurtz, Chairman
*Center for Inquiry

Robert E. White, President
*Center for International Policy

Merrill Goozner, Director
Integrity in Science
Center for Science in the Public Interest

Linda Lazarus, Director
Center to Advance Human Potential

Craig Williams, Director
*Chemical Weapons Working Group & Common Ground

Leonard Akers
*Citizens Against Incineration at Newport

Evelyn M. Hurwich, President and Chair
Circumpolar Conservation Union

David B. McCoy, Executive Director
Citizen Action New Mexico

Doug Bandow, Vice President for Policy
*Citizen Outreach

Deb Katz, Executive Director
Citizens Awareness Network

Barbara Warren, Executive Director
*Citizens’ Environmental Coalition

Elaine Cimino
*Citizens for Environmental Safeguards

Gerard Beloin
*Citizens for Judicial Reform

Laura Olah, Executive Director
*Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger

Anne Hemenway, Treasurer
*Citizen’s Vote, Inc.

Rick Piltz
*Climate Science Watch

John Judge
Coalition on Political Assassinations
9/11 Research Project

Zena Crenshaw, 2nd Vice-Chair
3.5.7 Commission on Judicial Reform

Sarah Dufendach, Vice President for Legislative Affairs
Common Cause

Clarissa Duran, Director
Community Service Organization del Norte

Joni Arends, Executive Director
Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety

Lokesh Vuyyuru, MD, Founder
*Concerned Citizens of Petersburg

Daniel Hirsch, Member, Executive Committee
Concerned Foreign Service Officers

Matthew Fogg, President
Congress Against Racism & Corruption in Law Enforcement (CARCLE)

Ellen Bloom, Director of Federal Policy
Ami Gadhia, Policy Counsel
Consumers Union

Bob Shavelson, Director
*Cook Inlet Keeper

John Issacs, Executive Director
*Council for a Livable World

Cathy Harris, Founder, Executive Director
*Customs Employees Against Discrimination Association

Mary Elizabeth Beetham, Director of Legislative Affairs
Defenders of Wildlife

Sue Udry, Director
Defending Dissent Foundation

Ben Smilowitz, Director
Disaster Accountability Project

Dr. Patrick Campbell
*Doctors against Fraud

Dr. Disamodha Amarasinghe
*Doctors for National Healthcare

James J. Murtagh, Jr., President
*Doctors for Open Government

Dr. John Raviotta
*Doctors for Reform of JCAHO

Stephen D’Esposito, President

Thea Harvey, Executive Director
*Economists for Peace and Security

Lisa Walker, executive director
Education Writers Association

Gregory Hile

Chuck Broscious, President
Environmental Defense Institute

Judith Robinson, Director of Programs
*Environmental Health Fund

Peter Montague, Ph.D, Director
*Environmental Research Foundation

John Richard
Essential Information

George Anderson
Ethics in Government Group (EGG)

Janet Kopenhaver, Washington Representative
*Federally Employed Women (FEW)

Steven Aftergood, Project Director
Federation of American Scientists

Marilyn Fitterman, Vice President
Feminists For Free Expression

Ellen Donnett, Administrative Director
*Fluoride Action Network

Andrew D. Jackson, Asst. Campaign Coordinator
Focus-On-Indiana for Judicial Reform

Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director
Food and Water Watch

Bob Darby, Coordinator
Food Not Bombs/Atlanta

Andy Stahl
*Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics (FSEEE)

Tom Ferguson, Coordinator
Foundation for Global Community/Atlanta

Ruth Flower, Legislative Director
Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers)

Conrad Martin, Executive Director
Fund for Constitutional Government

Karyn Jones, Director

Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution
Gwen Marshall, Co-Chairman

Georgians for Open Government
Denny Larson, Executive Director

*Global Community Monitor
Paul F. Walker, Ph.D., Legacy Program Director

Global Green USA
(The US Affiliate of Green Cross International, Mikhail Gorbachev, Chairman)

Bill Owens, President
*The Glynn Environmental Coalition

Tom Devine, legal director
Government Accountability Project

Molly Johnson, Area Coordinator
Grandmothers for Peace, San Luis Obispo County Chapter

Alan Muller
*Green Delaware

Jenefer Ellingston
Green Party of the United States

James C. Turner, Executive Director
HALT, Inc. — An Organization of Americans for Legal Reform

Tom Carpenter, Executive Director
Hanford Challenge

Arthur S. Shoor, President
*Healthcare Consultants

Helen Salisbury, M.D.
Health Integrity Project

Vanessa Pierce, Executive Director
*Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah (HEAL Utah)

Gerry Pollet
*Heart of America Northwest

Doug Tjapkes, President
*Humanity for Prisoners

Keith Robinson, Interim President
*Indiana Coalition for Open Government

Scott Armstrong, Executive Director
*Information Trust

Arjun Makhijani, Ph.D., President
Institute for Energy and Environmental Research

Donald Soeken, President
Integrity International

Michael McCray, Esq., Co-Chair
International Association of Whistleblowers

Mory Atashkar, Vice President
Iranian American Democratic Association

Mark S. Zaid
James Madison Project

John Metz, Executive Director

Brett Kimberlin, Director
Justice Through Music

Elizabeth Crowe, Director
*Kentucky Environmental Foundation

Tom FitzGerald, Director
*Kentucky Resources Council, Inc.

James Love
*Knowledge Ecology International

Jonathon Moseley, Executive Director
*Legal Affairs Council

James Plummer
Liberty Coalition

Greg Mello, Executive Director
*Los Alamos Study Group

Dr. Janette Parker
*Medical Whistleblower

Jill McElheney, Founder
Micah’s Mission
Ministry to Improve Childhood & Adolescent Health

Mary Treacy, Executive Director
*The Minnesota Coalition on Government Information

Helen Haskell
*Mothers Against Medical Error

Mark Cohn, President
*MPD Productions, Inc.

James Landrith, Founder
The Multiracial Activist

Larry Fisher, Founder
National Accountant Whistleblower Coalition

Tinsley H. Davis, Executive Director
National Association of Science Writers

Jim L. Jorgenson, Deputy Executive Director
*National Association of Treasury Agents

Dominick DellaSala, Ph.D., Executive Director of Programs and Chief Scientist
*National Center for Conservation Science & Policy

Joan E. Bertin, Esq., Executive Director
National Coalition Against Censorship

Russell Hemenway, President
*National Committee for an Effective Congress

Sally Greenberg, Executive Director
National Consumers League

Terisa E. Chaw, Executive Director
National Employment Lawyers Association

Andrew Jackson
National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc.

Paul Brown, Government Relations Manager
National Research Center for Women & Families

Sibel Edmonds, President and Founder
*National Security Whistleblowers Coalition

Pete Sepp, Vice President for Policy & Communications
National Taxpayers Union

Colleen M. Kelley, National President
National Treasury Employees Union

Steve Kohn, President
National Whistleblower Center

Amy Allina
National Women’s Health Network

Terrie Smith, Director
*National Nuclear Workers For Justice

Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Ron Marshall, Chairman
New Grady Coalition

Rick Engler, Director
New Jersey Work Environment Council

Caroline Heldman Ph.D., Director
*New Orleans Women’s Shelter

Marsha Coleman-Abedayo, Chair
*No FEAR Coalition

Nina Bell, J.D., Executive Director
*Northwest Environmental Advocates

Alice Slater, Director
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, New York

David A. Kraft, Director
Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS)

Michael Mariotte, Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service

Jay Coghlan, Executive Director
*Nuclear Watch New Mexico

Gwen Lachelt, Executive Director
*Oil & Gas Accountability Project

Sean Moulton, Director, Federal Information Policy
OMB Watch

Rob Kall
*Op Ed News

Patrice McDermott, Executive Director

Paul Loney, President
*Oregon Wildlife Federation

Ellen Paul, Executive Director
*The Ornithological Council

Joe Carson, Chair
P. Jeffrey Black, Co-Chair

OSC Watch Steering Committee

Judy Norsigian, Executive Director
Our Bodies Ourselves

Betsy Combier, President and Editor

Blake Moore
*Patient Quality Care Project

Dianne Parker
*Patient Safety Advocates

Former Special Agent Darlene Fitzgerald
Patrick Henry Center

Paul Kawika Martin, Organizing, Political and PAC Director
Peace Action & Peace Action Education Fund

Bennett Haselton, Founder

Rev. Paul Alexander, Ph.D., Director
Pentecostals & Charismatics for Peace & Justice

Michael McCally, MD, PhD, Executive Director
*Physicians for Social Responsibility

Vina Colley, President
*Portsmouth/Piketon Residents for Environmental Safety and Security (PRESS)

David Banisar, Director, FOI Project
Privacy International

Robert Bulmash, President
*Private Citizen, Inc.

Ronald J Riley, President
Professional Inventor’s Alliance

Dr. Paul Lapides
*Professors for Integrity

Danielle Brian, Executive Director
Project On Government Oversight

Ellen Thomas, Executive Director
Proposition One Committee

David Arkush, Director, Congress Watch
Public Citizen

Jeff Ruch, Executive Director
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

Robert L. FitzPatrick, President

Lucy A. Dalglish, Executive Director
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Kirsten Moore, President and CEO
Reproductive Health Technologies Project

Tim Little, Executive Director
*Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment

John W. Whitehead, president
The Rutherford Institute

Adrienne Anderson, Coordinator
Safe Water Colorado and Nuclear Nexus Projects
Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center
(Whistleblower Anderson v Metro Wastewater)

Angela Smith, Coordinator
*Seattle Healthy Environment Alliance (Seattle HEAL)

Dr. Roland Chalifoux
The Semmelweis Society International (SSI)

Rufus Kinney
*Serving Alabama’s Future Environment (SAFE)

Shane Jimerfield, Executive Director
*Siskiyou Project

Andrea Shipley, Executive Director
*Snake River Alliance

Matthew Petty, Executive Director
*The Social Sustenance Organization

Dave Aekens, National President
Society of Professional Journalists

Don Hancock, Director of Nuclear Waste Safety Program
*Southwest Research and Information Center

Kevin Kuritzky
The Student Health Integrity Project (SHIP)

Daphne Wysham, Co-Director
Sustainable Energy and Economy Network (SEEN)

Jeb White, Executive Director
Taxpayers Against Fraud

Alec McNaughton
*Team Integrity

Marylia Kelley, Executive Director
*Tri-Valley CAREs
Communities Against a Radioactive Environment

Paul Taylor
Truckers Justice Center

Francesca Grifo, Ph.D., Director
Scientific Integrity Program
Union of Concerned Scientists

Dane von Breichenruchardt, President
U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation

Dr. Joseph Parish
*U.S. Environmental Watch

Gary Kalman, Director, Federal Legislative Office
U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S.PIRG)

Nick Mangieri, President
*Valor Press, Ltd.

Dr. Jeffrey Fudin, Founder
Veterans Affairs Whistleblowers Coalition

Nada Khader, Foundation Director
*WESPAC Foundation

Gloria G. Karp, Co-Chair
*Westchester Progressive Forum

Mabel Dobbs, Chair
Livestock Committee
Western Organization of Resource Councils

Ann Harris, Executive Director
We the People, Inc

Janet Chandler, Co-Founder
Whistleblower Mentoring Project

Linda Lewis, Director
Whistleblowers USA

John C. Horning, Executive Director
*WildEarth Guardians

Kim Witczak

Cc: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Speaker Nancy Pelosi
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer
House Minority Leader John Boehner