Prepared Opening Remarks by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Introduction of Tristan Leavitt to serve on the Merit Systems Protection Board
Wednesday, September 22, 2021

 
Thank you for this opportunity to introduce to the Committee Tristan Leavitt, an individual who I believe is a perfect choice to serve on the Merit Systems Protection Board. It’s a privilege for me to introduce him and his wife, Brittany, and their two eldest children.
 
Tristan, I know we wish the whole family could be here today, and that they’re proud of you.
 
The MSPB is the guardian of the merit system, a set of principles designed to ensure we have a qualified, effective civil service that truly serves We the People. The MSPB adjudicates appeals of federal employees’ claims of prohibited personnel practices and whistleblower retaliation.
 
I’ve known Tristan since 2011, when he began working for me on my Oversight team. All of my staff know my views on the key role whistleblowers play in holding our government accountable to the taxpayer. But, there are few who have worked harder to protect whistleblowers than Tristan.
 
When he worked for me, Tristan helped me put together the first ever congressional resolution recognizing National Whistleblower Appreciation Day. He worked with me to propose the creation of the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus, and some of you I’m happy to say are now members. In Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean, the first ever case before the Supreme Court to consider the Whistleblower Protection Act, Tristan helped me put together a bicameral, bipartisan amicus brief that helped secure the right of whistleblowers to provide information to Congress. When I last served as Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee in the 112th Congress, Tristan was instrumental in my efforts to oversee federal law enforcement and improve protections for FBI employees. Indeed, Tristan’s efforts contributed greatly to the further strengthening of whistleblower protection laws for employees across the federal government. You’ll be hard pressed to find someone with more experience working for good government and accountability.
 
Perhaps most important, Tristan has spent thousands of hours working with hundreds of whistleblowers who risked their livelihoods to try to make the government work the way it’s supposed to. He’s listened to their stories, and he’s worked hard to make sure their claims were investigated fairly. Through it all, Tristan has shown tremendous patience, compassion, and wisdom.
 
I have no doubt that if confirmed, Tristan will serve on the MSPB with skill and integrity. I wholeheartedly recommend him to you for this position.