Douglas Peters, a seven-year veteran of the Federal Aviation Authority, told a congressional committee that his supervisor, during a visit to Peters' home, pointed to a photograph of Peters' family on a shelf, and said: "This is what's important."
Then, his voice halting and shaking, Peters said his boss told him, "You have a good job here and your wife has a good job. ... I'd hate to see you jeopardize yours and her careers trying to take down a couple of losers."
-- from CNN: "Whistle-blower: FAA boss threatened career"
Every day here at POGO, we hear from people like Douglas Peters, who tried to protect the public from lax safety inspections at the FAA by raising his concerns. Like it or not, big institutions have a nasty way of protecting themselves. When it comes to whistleblowers, the playbook is almost always the same--try to discredit the person blowing the whistle, take away their career, take away their dignity, and just generally attempt to silence them.
Things are so bad for whistleblowers right now, that we always tell government employees not to blow the whistle publicly. There simply are no legal rights that allow them to have their day in court, get their job back, or somehow be made whole when the bureaucracy tries to crush them and destroy their careers. The rules are so stacked against them, that about 99% of the whistleblowers lose their cases when they come before the kangaroo courts that hear their cases over at the Merit Systems Protection Board and the Federal Circuit.
That is why POGO has joined more than 100 organizations today to urge Congress to finish legislation that will allow government employees and employees of federal contractors to challenge retaliation. Included are journalism organizations like the Society for Professional Journalists and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, as are organizations on the right like National Taxpayers Union and on the left like American Federation of Government Employees.
Last year, Congress took an important step toward restoring whistleblower rights by advancing a vital piece of legislation that will protect whistleblowers from retaliation--HR 985/S 274. Both the House and Senate passed bills by a veto-proof majority. Now, it is up to Congress to finish the job by reconciling the House and Senate versions, and sending a finalized bill to the president for his signature.
Please take a moment to write to your member of Congress at our action page to let them know you want the bill done and done right.
-- Beth Daley
UPDATE: Read today's Steve Barr column in the Washington Post about the bill.