Peters & Braun Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Whistleblower Protections for Federal Contractors Advances in the Senate 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bipartisan legislation authored by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Mike Braun (R-IN) that would expand whistleblower protections for government contractors and grantees has advanced in the Senate. The legislation closes existing loopholes in whistleblower protection laws that have left employees of federal contractors who have disclosed waste, fraud or abuse in federal agencies vulnerable to acts of reprisal. These loopholes have also resulted in a lack of accountability for government officials who retaliate against whistleblowers working for federal contractors. The bill was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where Peters serves as chair. It now moves to the full Senate for consideration. 

“This bipartisan legislation assures potential whistleblowers that they can bring attention to instances of government misdeeds without fear of retaliation,” said Senator Peters. “Whistleblowers play an essential role in holding federal officials accountable and ensuring that taxpayer dollars are used responsibly.” 

“Whistleblowers who expose corruption at any level are courageous individuals, and should not have to fear for their safety or any sort of retaliation. I’m proud to join this bipartisan bill that bolsters protections for federal contractors and encourages brave men and women to blow the whistle when they witness misconduct,” said Senator Braun.  

A lack of clarity in whistleblower protection laws have raised questions about whether whistleblowers who work for federal contractors are effectively safeguarded from acts of reprisal from federal officials. In some instances, these loopholes have allowed federal officials to retaliate against whistleblowers with no accountability.  

The Expanding Whistleblower Protections for Contractors Act would close existing loopholes to expand whistleblower protections for federal contractors and grantees who blow the whistle on waste, fraud, and abuse. The bill clarifies that whistleblower protections cannot be waived by nondisclosure agreement or other conditions of employment. The legislation would also ensure that these employees are not retaliated against for refusing to perform an action they believe is illegal. Finally, the bill would clarify that executive branch officials do not have the authority to request that contractors retaliate against whistleblowers, and would allow agencies to take disciplinary action against officials who do so.