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CFPHR Joins 406 Organizations on Whistleblower Protection Sign on Letter

CFPHR Open Letter to President Obama and Members of Congress Joining 406 Organizations, Associations and Businesses Supporting Swift Action to Restore Strong, Comprehensive Whistleblower Rights
September 22, 2010
Wpa Sign on Letter4

406 Organizations, Associations and Businesses Support Swift Action to Restore Strong, Comprehensive Whistleblower Rights

An Open Letter to President Obama and Members of Congress

September 22, 2010

The undersigned organizations and corporations write to support the completion of the landmark,nine-year legislative effort to restore credible whistleblower rights to federal employees. We offerour support to expeditiously pass legislation that includes the critical reforms listed below.Whistleblower protection is a foundation for any change in which the public can believe. It doesnot matter whether the issue is economic recovery, prescription drug safety, environmentalprotection, infrastructure spending, national health insurance, or foreign policy. We needconscientious public servants willing and able to call attention to waste, fraud and abuse on behalf of the taxpayers.

Unfortunately, every month that passes means the status of federal government whistleblowerscontinues to erode because none have viable rights. In 2009, on average, 16 whistleblowers amonth lost initial decisions from administrative hearings at the Merit Systems Protection Board(MSPB).

From 2000 through 2009, only two out of 54 whistleblowers received final rulings in their favorfrom the Merit Systems Protection Board. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, the only courtwhich can hear federal whistleblower appeals of administrative decisions, has consistently ruledagainst whistleblowers. Since 1994, when Congress last strengthened the law, whistleblowershave won only three cases out of 211. A strong Whistleblower Protection Act would:

−Grant employees the right to a jury trial in federal court;
−Extend meaningful protections to FBI and intelligence agency whistleblowers;
−Strengthen protections for federal contractors to make them as strong as those provided toDoD 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 topresent 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 you share our commitment to more transparency and accountability in government.Passing a strong, bipartisan whistleblower reform law would do much to restore the public’s faithin Congress, ensure efficient and accountable government, and save taxpayer dollars.