Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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Grassley Discusses History of Oversight: The Lloyd-La Follette Act

Jul 02, 2018

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is releasing five videos every day this week examining the history of oversight as a part of a summer-long initiative highlighting the importance of congressional oversight. Grassley has championed congressional oversight throughout his Senate career, keeping close tabs on the judicial and executive branches to make sure the government of the people and by the people works for the people. Today’s video details the importance of the Lloyd-La Follette Act of 1912, which granted federal employees the right to directly share information with Congress. The video can be found here and the text can be found below.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make any sound?  I’ll leave that to philosophers and physicists to figure out.

If a federal worker had no rights to communicate directly to Congress, would fraud and corruption grow in the federal bureaucracy?

My answer to that question is absolutely yes.

More than 100 years ago, Congress enacted protections for federal workers so they could speak up to Congress. The Lloyd-La Follette Act of 1912 guaranteed the right of federal employees to directly share information with Congress. And that it “may not be interfered with or denied.”

We need all the eyes and ears we can get to hold government accountable.

That’s why I work to: strengthen whistleblower protections; Root out non-disclosure agreements that don’t have clear exceptions for whistleblowers; And, use the power of the purse to impose anti-gag measures on federal agencies, just as three examples.

Lloyd-La Follette gave the green light to federal workers to speak to Congress, without the consent of their bosses. Open communication is a critical function of representative government. It helps inform congressional oversight – that’s a vital check on the other branches of government.

Without it, we would have an aristocratic government. One that would be dominated by the executive branch.

As long as I’m in the U.S. Senate, I’ll keep pushing for transparency and keep my door wide open to those who want to help clean up corruption, weed out wrongdoing and help keep taxpayers from being taken for a ride.

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