WASHINGTON – To raise awareness of the need for adequate protections against retaliation for private sector and government employees who call attention to wrongdoing, a bipartisan group of senators today launched the Whistleblower Protection Caucus. The caucus will foster bipartisan discussion on legislative issues affecting the treatment of whistleblowers and serve as a clearinghouse for current information on whistleblower developments of interest in the Senate. It will also coordinate training and consultation for any Senate office in need of assistance in responding to whistleblower disclosures or retaliation allegations.
The founding members of the Whistleblower protection Caucus are senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa (chairman), Ron Wyden of Oregon (vice-chairman), Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Barbara Boxer of California, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, and Ed Markey of Massachusetts.
“As a long-time whistleblower advocate, I constantly hear from federal whistleblowers who are fearful of retaliation. Some of them have already been targeted for their actions. Much can be done to improve the environment for whistleblowers and actually encourage more people to step forward when they encounter wrongdoing. This group will help inform and equip our Senate colleagues to respond to the needs of these patriotic citizens who play a vital role in protecting against fraud, waste and misconduct,” Grassley said.
“Sunlight is a powerful disinfectant. That’s been true for a long time and there is no better proof than whistleblowers who shine a light where others have not. Sadly, instead of being rewarded for speaking out, whistleblowers often face retaliation and serious career threats for doing what’s right, what’s necessary and for exposing practices that waste tax dollars and even risk public safety. We are all better off when whistleblowers can step forward without fear. That’s what this Caucus is designed to foster and it’s why I’m pleased to join Sen. Grassley and my colleagues in this effort,” Wyden said.
“As the author of the Military Whistleblower Protection Act, I am proud to join Senators Grassley and Wyden as a founding member of the bipartisan Whistleblower Protection Caucus. I look forward to continuing to build on past efforts to protect whistleblowers from harassment and retaliation,” Boxer said.
“The size and scope of the federal government have grown far beyond the ability of Congress to provide oversight on its own. Whistleblowers who courageously expose waste, fraud and abuse are performing an incredibly important service to their fellow citizens. They deserve all the protection from retaliation that Congress can provide,” Johnson said.
“Too often whistleblowers who simply tell the truth end up risking their jobs, or in terrible circumstances, even their own well-being to shine a light on possible safety or security violations. We must do everything we can to ensure whistleblowers are protected and are not subjected to harassment or retaliation for serving as modern-day Paul Reveres. I thank Senators Grassley and Wyden for their leadership convening this caucus and look forward to working with my colleagues to support whistleblowers who come forward when issues arise,” Markey said.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues on initiatives that preserve the liberties of individuals who bring professional and ethical misconduct to light – moral courage that can oftentimes come at great personal cost,” Tillis said.