McCaskill Aims for Stronger Whistleblower Protections
Senator: Whistleblowers are the unsung heroes of rooting out waste, fraud and abuse, and boosting accountability in government
March 15, 2012
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is once again leading the fight to ensure people who sound the alarm when they see waste or fraud in government are getting needed protections from retaliation in the workplace.
As part of her broader effort to "clean up Congress", McCaskill is honoring Sunshine Week by calling on her colleagues to pass legislation she introduced to bolster the rights of non-federal employees working under government funds-a move she says is critical to enhancing accountability and transparency in government.
"Whistleblowers are the unsung heroes of our fight to root out waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government," said McCaskill, a former prosecutor and Missouri State Auditor. "We must ensure we're taking every possible step to protect them from being punished for their work to protect taxpayer dollars."
Under current law, employees of federal contractors are not afforded the same whistleblower rights as federal employees. McCaskill's legislation would provide federal contract employees the same whistleblower protections as federal employees. Similar provisions were included in the FY2009 National Defense Authorization Bill for defense contractors and in the American Reinvestment Recovery Act of 2009.
Since arriving in the Senate, McCaskill has fought to protect whistleblowers and has emphasized the important role they play in uncovering problems in the government. In 2009, McCaskill won a major victory for federal employees when a provision that grants a right to a jury trial for many federal employee whistleblowers who have experienced prohibited reprisals was added to a bill being considered by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
McCaskill's efforts this week round out years of work to reform government, including:
- Expanding protections for whistleblowers
- Establishing a moratorium on earmarks and introducing bipartisan legislation to permanently ban them from the legislative process
- Fighting to open up to the public the consideration and markup of the National Defense Authorization bill
- Spearheading the effort to establish an independent watchdog in the form of a Senate Inspector General, to root out waste of taxpayer dollars in the chamber's budget
McCaskill also recently introduced landmark legislation along with Senator Jim Webb (Va.) to overhaul the federal government's planning, management, and oversight of contracting during overseas contingency operations and eliminate the systemic problems that have led to the waste of billions of taxpayer dollars.
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