A government of the people and by the people must work for the people. Too often, sprawling bureaucracies wander from this central mission. Over the course of his time in Congress, Senator Grassley has worked to hold government accountable and ensure the laws are faithfully executed.
Whistleblowers are critical to improving government and Government accountability starts with protecting and empowering whistleblowers. With over a trillion dollars sprinkled across roughly 2,000 agencies, whistleblowers are essential in rooting out waste, fraud and abuse. Senator Grassley has led the effort to protect and empower whistleblowers through strong legislation meant to encourage whistleblowing and protect prevent whistleblowers from retaliation. He is also a founding member and current Chairman of the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus.
In 1986, Senator Grassley authored the False Claims Amendments Act, which allowed whistleblowers to sue on the government’s behalf to recover funds lost to fraud and in the process collect a reasonable financial award for their efforts. The success of Senator Grassley’s legislation has resulted in the return of $63 billion to the U.S. Treasury. Applying the same general principles of the False Claims Amendments Act, Senator Grassley drafted legislation applying the same award scheme to the IRS whistleblower program, IRS whistleblower program, which has thus far returned $5.7 billion to Treasury. as of 2019. Senator Grassley was also instrumental in creating the SEC and CFTC whistleblower programs, which has collected over $800 million in CFTC fines, and over $2 billion in SEC fines through 2019, including over $1 billion in disgorgements scheduled to be returned to investors who were defrauded by unscrupulous individuals.
Throughout his tenure, Senator Grassley has also co-authoredled critically important legislation to empower federal whistleblowers such as the Whistleblower Protection Act (1989) and the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (2012) which established and strengthenedprovided protections to federal whistleblowers who report waste, fraud and abuse within the government. Additionally, he co-authored the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act which further strengthened and clarified the scope of protected disclosures for federal employees. Believing that Congress should live by the same rules as everyone else, Senator Grassley also authored the Congressional Accountability Act (1995) which to extends many of the same workplace protections found in other sectors to congressional staff.
Good government accountability also depends on support from a strong, non-partisan, and independent corps of inspectors general. Senator Grassley has successfully pushed for greater inspector general authorities and independence, and led investigations into unsatisfactory Inspectors General that have not met the high bar required to conduct their vital work. In 2015, Senator Grassley authored the Inspector General Empowerment Act. This law provides additional privacy protections to offices of inspectors general when they are conducting investigations, and ensures that created standards regarding inspector general can access to agency records necessary to do their jobs. Senator Grassley has also stood up to Presidents from both parties when they have terminated inspectors general without sufficient explanation. In 2009, he sent a letter to then president Obama concerning the removal ofof the AmeriCorps iInspector Ggeneral Walpin, and in 2020,19, he sent a letter to President Trump concerning the removal of the State Department and Intelligence Community inspectors general.Inspectors General Linick and Atkinson.
Government accountability would not be complete without Congress asserting its Constitutional role to conduct oversight of the laws it passes and the executive branch’s execution and compliance with those laws.Congress has a constitutional duty to ensure that the laws it passes are carried out as intended by the Executive Branch. Senator Grassley has been a leader in congressional oversight for decades to hold agencies across government to account, leading successful oversight investigations into the Justice Department, FBI, and Defense Department, among other agencies. For example, Senator GrassleyHe led investigations into operation OFperation Fast and Furious, improper spending by the Department of Defense, the FBI’s mishandling of the 2016 Russian collusion investigationCrossfire Hurricane, the source of funding for the Steele Dossier and the Russian disinformation contained within it, , including its reliance on politically-funded Russian-sourced disinformation to spy on Trump campaign officials, Secretary Clinton’s mishandling of highly classified information and failure to comply with federal records laws, U.S. Marshals Service, Planned Parenthood’s violation of fetal tissue laws, EpiPen, Foreign Agents Registration Act, and Mosaic Life-Care which resulted in a non-profit hospital forgiving nearly $17 million in debts of struggling patients. Most recently, Senator Grassley has been conducting investigations into insulin prices, conservation easements, foreign threats to taxpayer funded research, the impact of COVID-19 on the pharmaceutical and personal protective equipment supply chain, and the unmasking of U.S. persons by intelligence agencies.
Transparency also brings accountability, and Senator Grassley has long championed government transparency as a means of ensuring accountability. In 2016, Sen. Grassley—as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee—successfully steered the FOIA Improvement Act into law, the most significant update in the 50-year history of our nation’s premier government transparency law. He continues to conduct rigorous oversight of the government’s implementation of FOIA and its 2016 amendments. In 2019, Senator Grassley introduced the Open and Responsive Government Act to combat agency rulemakings that threaten transparency and to restore the limited scope of one of FOIA’s exemptions.