By Bryan Rahija
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has re-introduced the Non-Federal Employee Whistleblower Protection Act of 2011 (S. 241), a bill to enhance whistleblower protections for federal contractor employees. Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) is a co-sponsor of the bill.
Under S. 241, "best practice" whistleblower rights that were originally passed in the stimulus bill—such as "no loopholes" free speech protection—would become permanent for all government contractors. The bill specifies that these rights could be enforced by a jury in a federal court, and that agency Inspectors General must investigate whistleblowers' underlying charges of fraud, waste, and abuse. S. 241 would also extend these rights to employees of institutions receiving grants and other reimbursements, including state and local governments receiving federal funds.
"We're glad that this legislation is back on the table," said POGO Director of Public Policy Angela Canterbury. "Not only would the bill protect whistleblowers—it would protect tax dollars vulnerable to fraud, waste, and abuse."
POGO and the Government Accountability Project (GAP) praised the legislation when McCaskill first introduced it in October 2009.
S. 241 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Hopefully lawmakers will soon advance the ball on other items in POGO's reform agenda. If you'd like to take 30 seconds and give them a nudge, we'd greatly appreciate it.
Bryan Rahija edits POGO's blog.