WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is marking “Sunshine Week” – a national initiative to promote open government and freedom of information – by introducing multiple bills that strengthen transparency and accountability in government.
Since her work as Missouri’s State Auditor, McCaskill has fought to target waste, fraud, and abuse. Now serving as the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, she is responsible for leading oversight over the federal government.
“I take very seriously my responsibility to shine a spotlight on government on behalf of taxpayers, to cut down on wasteful government spending, and uphold the highest ethical standards,” McCaskill said. “That’s why this week I’ll be introducing commonsense bills that boost transparency in government spending and protect whistleblowers to help prevent waste, fraud, and abuse. The more transparency we have, the better we know how to strengthen government efficiency and effectiveness.”
In her first 10 weeks as Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, McCaskill has introduced legislation and made requests to the Administration about government transparency and accountability. For example, she has joined with Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson to introduce two bills that seek to expand whistleblower protections, requested an investigation into opioid distributor enforcement, called for increased accountability at the Social Security Administration, and more.
Her efforts continue during ‘Sunshine Week’ with three new bill introductions:
- The Ensuring Protections for Intelligence Community Contractor Whistleblowers Act, which expands whistleblower protections to intelligence community contractors, who are often indistinguishable from federal employees in the intelligence community, but have no protections from reprisal when they want to report wrongdoing to the proper authorities.
- The Congressional Whistleblower Protection Act, which gives Congressional staffers the protections necessary to call out waste, fraud, and abuse without losing their jobs.
- The Contractor Accountability and Transparency Act, which requires all federal contracts over $150,000 be publicly available through online postings.
In previous years, McCaskill has targeted waste, fraud, and abuse by expanding whistleblower protections to government contractors, subcontractors, and others who the federal government directly or indirectly hires through bipartisan bills that have been signed into law. She has also partnered with the chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to pass a bill further empowering inspectors general to conduct oversight. During her first term in the Senate, McCaskill waged a successful six-year effort to crack down on waste, fraud, and abuse in wartime contracting. And as one of her first actions as Senator, McCaskill helped pass into law the most sweeping ethics reforms since Watergate.