WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate late last night unanimously passed a resolution acknowledging the contributions of whistleblowers to shed light on fraud, waste and abuse in the United States. The resolution, introduced by Senator Chuck Grassley and cosponsored by Senator Ron Wyden and all members of the bipartisan Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus, also designates July 30, 2016 as National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.
Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Whistleblower Protection Caucus, said:
“Since the early days of our nation, our Founding Fathers recognized that whistleblowers, our eyes and ears in government, are essential to ensuring that government is functioning properly and efficiently. They said that raising the alarm when employees encounter fraud, waste or misconduct is not only encouraged, but a duty. Yet today, these brave citizens often face blowback from within their own ranks for simply exposing flaws in government.
“The Senate’s approval of this resolution signals our unified commitment to support and encourage whistleblowers, whose efforts save taxpayers billions of dollars each year and lead to a more accountable government.”
Senator Ron Wyden, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus, said:
“Whistleblowers are still experiencing retaliation for their bravery in shedding light on threats to public safety and wasted taxpayer dollars. The Senate is now on record recognizing the obligation Congress has to fight for fair treatment for these courageous workers and the risks they take. The Whistleblower Protection Caucus will keep fighting to make sure whistleblowers get fair treatment for speaking out.”
The resolution highlights the United States’ history of supporting and encouraging whistleblowers, dating back to the days of the Continental Congress. Legislation passed by that body on July 30, 1778, stated that government employees have a duty to report misconduct, fraud and other crimes in government to the appropriate authorities in a timely manner. Similar public policies remain in place today, yet whistleblowers are frequent targets of retaliation from within their own agencies.
The resolution commemorates the 238th anniversary of the nation’s earliest whistleblower law by designating July 30, 2016, as National Whistleblower Appreciation Day. It also encourages federal agencies to acknowledge employees who call attention to fraud, waste and abuse and remind employees of their legal rights as whistleblowers.
The resolution is cosponsored by Grassley and Wyden as well as senators Mark Kirk of Illinois, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Tom Carper of Delaware, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Barbara Boxer of California, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Gary Peters of Michigan and John Boozman of Arkansas.
The bipartisan Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus launched in 2015 to raise awareness of the need for adequate protections against retaliation for private sector and government employees who call attention to wrongdoing. The caucus’ mission is to foster bipartisan discussion on legislative issues affecting the treatment of whistleblowers and serve as a clearinghouse for current information on whistleblower developments as well as best practices for responding to whistleblower disclosures and claims of retaliation.
Full text of the resolution can be found HERE.