112 Public Interest Organizations Support Comprehensive Whistleblower Rights

112 Public Interest Organizations Support Swift Action to Restore Strong, Comprehensive Whistleblower Rights

June 4, 2008  To: Sen. Joseph Lieberman; Sen. Susan Collins; Sen. Daniel Akaka; Sen. George Voinovich; Rep. Henry Waxman; Rep. Tom Davis; Rep. Todd Platts; Rep. Chris Van Hollen
 
The undersigned organizations, representing millions of Americans, write to support the completion of the landmark, eight-year legislative effort to restore a credible Whistleblower Protection Act.  We offer our support to expeditiously conclude the process of reconciling House and Senate passed versions of this vital good government legislation, H.R. 985 and S. 274.   

Unfortunately, every month that passes has very tangible consequences for scores of whistleblowers who still lack viable legal rights. In just the first three months of this year, since both chambers passed their versions of the legislation, whistleblowers have a 2-49 win-loss record in initial decisions from administrative hearings at the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).  For final rulings by the MSPB, the record is 2-53 under the current Chair. Since January, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, which has a monopoly on appellate review, has ruled against whistleblowers in another ten consecutive decisions on the merits, leaving a track record of 2-200 since October 1994 when Congress last strengthened the law!  We stand ready to provide any information that would help expedite the process, and to help you come to agreement on any unresolved issues. Any compromise should protect several critical provisions, which have already passed with overwhelming support.  It is crucial that the final bill:  

 

  • Grant employees the right to a jury trial in federal court;
  • Specifically protect federal scientists who report efforts to alter, misrepresent, or suppress federal research;
  • Extend meaningful protections to FBI and intelligence agency whistleblowers;
  • Strengthen protections for federal contractors, as strong as those provided to DoD contractors and grantees in last year’s defense authorization legislation;
  • Extend meaningful protections to Transportation Security Officers (screeners);
  • Neutralize the government’s use of the “state secrets” privilege;
  • Bar the MSPB from ruling for an agency before whistleblowers have the opportunity to present evidence of retaliation;
  • Provide whistleblowers the right to be made whole, including compensatory damages;
  • Grant comparable due process rights to employees who blow the whistle in the course of a government investigation or who refuse to violate the law; and
  • Remove the Federal Circuit’s monopoly on precedent-setting cases.  We know that your offices share the commitment of every group signing the letter below and we deeply appreciate the years of effort to create more accountability in government.  Please let us know how we can participate to expeditiously complete this badly needed good government reform. Once the reconciled version becomes law, the real winners will be the public!   

Sincerely,

Adele Kushner, Executive Director
Action for a Clean Environment 

Rochelle Becker, Executive Director
Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility

 Gil Mileikowsky, M.D.
Alliance for Patient Safety 

Linda Lipsen, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs 
American Association for Justice (AAJ) 

Mary Alice Baish, Acting Washington Affairs Representative
American Association of Law Libraries

 F. Patricia Callahan, president and general counsel
American Association of Small Property Owners

 Christopher Finan, president
American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression 

Caroline Fredrickson, Director, Washington Legislative Office
American Civil Liberties Union 

John Gage, National President
American Federation of Government Employees 

Alexandra Owens, Executive Director
American Society of Journalists and Authors 

Ms. Bobbie Paul, Executive Director
Atlanta WAND (Women's Action for New Directions) 

Nancy Talanian, Director
Bill of Rights Defense Committee 

William Snape, Senior Counsel
Center for Biological Diversity 

Charlie Cray, Director
Center for Corporate Policy 

Gregory T. Nojeim, Senior Counsel and Director, Project on Freedom, Security & Technology
Center for Democracy and Technology

J . Bradley Jansen, Director
Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights 

Merrill Goozner, Director Integrity in Science
Center for Science in the Public Interest 

Linda Lazarus, Director
Center to Advance Human Potential 

Evelyn M. Hurwich, President and Chair
Circumpolar Conservation Union 

David B. McCoy, Executive Director
Citizen Action New Mexico 

Deb Katz, Executive Director
Citizens Awareness Network 

John Judge
Coalition on Political Assassinations 9/11 Research Project 

Michael McCray, Esq., Chair 
3.5.7 Commission on Judicial Reform 

Sarah Dufendach, Vice President for Legislative Affairs
Common Cause 

Clarissa Duran, Director
Community Service Organization del Norte 

Joni Arends, Executive Director
Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety 

Daniel Hirsch, Member, Executive Committee
Concerned Foreign Service Officers 

Matthew Fogg, President
Congress Against Racism & Corruption in Law Enforcement (CARCLE) 

Ellen Bloom, Director of Federal Policy Ami Gadhia, Policy Counsel
Consumers Union 

Mary Elizabeth Beetham, Director of Legislative Affairs
Defenders of Wildlife 

Sue Udry, Director
Defending Dissent Foundation

 Ben Smilowitz, Director
Disaster Accountability Project 

Lisa Walker, executive director
Education Writers Association 

Gregory Hile
EnviroJustice 

Chuck Broscious, President
Environmental Defense Institute 

John Richard
Essential Information 

George Anderson
Ethics in Government Group 

Steven Aftergood, Project Director
Federation of American Scientists 

Marilyn Fitterman, Vice President
Feminists For Free Expression 

Andrew D. Jackson, Asst. Campaign Coordinator
Focus-On-Indiana for Judicial Reform 

Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director
Food and Water Watch 

Bob Darby, Coordinator
Food Not Bombs/Atlanta 

Tom Ferguson, Coordinator
Foundation for Global Community/Atlanta 

Ruth Flower, Legislative Director
Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers) 

Conrad Martin, Executive Director
Fund for Constitutional Government

 Gwen Marshall, Co-Chairman
Georgians for Open Government 

Paul F. Walker, Ph.D., Legacy Program Director
Global Green USA 
(The US Affiliate of Green Cross International, Mikhail Gorbachev, Chairman)
 
Tom Devine, legal director
Government Accountability Project 

Molly Johnson, Area Coordinator
Grandmothers for Peace, San Luis Obispo County Chapter 

Jenefer Ellingston
Green Party of the United States 

James C. Turner, Executive Director
HALT, Inc. — An Organization of Americans for Legal Reform

 Tom Carpenter, Executive Director
Hanford Challenge 

Helen Salisbury, M.D.
Health Integrity Project 

Arjun Makhijani, Ph.D., President
Institute for Energy and Environmental Research 

Donald Soeken, President
Integrity International 

Jim Murtagh, Co-Chair
International Association of Whistleblowers 

Mory Atashkar, Vice President
Iranian American Democratic Association 

Mark S. Zaid
James Madison Project 

Brett Kimberlin, Director
Justice Through Music

Michael D. Ostrolenk, National Director
Liberty Coalition 

Jill McElheney, Founder
Micah's Mission
Ministry to Improve Childhood & Adolescent Health
 
James Landrith, Founder
The Multiracial Activist 

Larry Fisher, Founder
National Accountant Whistleblower Coalition 

Tinsley H. Davis, Executive Director
National Association of Science Writers 

Joan E. Bertin, Esq., Executive Director
National Coalition Against Censorship 

Sally Greenberg, Executive Director
National Consumers League 

Terisa E. Chaw, Executive Director
National Employment Lawyers Association 

Zena D. Crenshaw, Executive Director
National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc. 

Paul Brown, Government Relations Manager
National Research Center for Women & Families 

Pete Sepp, Vice President for Policy & Communications 
National Taxpayers Union 

Colleen M. Kelley, National President
National Treasury Employees Union  

Steve Kohn, President
National Whistleblower Center 

Amy Allina
National Women's Health Network 

Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Ron Marshall, Chairman
New Grady Coalition 

Rick Engler, Director
New Jersey Work Environment Council 

Alice Slater, Director
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, New York 

David A. Kraft, Director
Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS) 

Michael Mariotte, Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service  

Sean Moulton, Director, Federal Information Policy
OMB Watch 

Patrice McDermott, Executive Director
OpenTheGovernment.org 

Joe Carson, Chair P. Jeffrey Black, Co-Chair
OSC Watch 

Judy Norsigian, Executive Director
Our Bodies Ourselves 

Betsy Combier, President and Editor
Parentadvocates.org 

Former Special Agent Darlene Fitzgerald
Patrick Henry Center 

Paul Kawika Martin, Organizing, Political and PAC Director
Peace Action & Peace Action Education Fund 

Rev. Paul Alexander, Ph.D., Director
Pentecostals & Charismatics for Peace & Justice 

David Banisar, Director, FOI Project
Privacy International 

Ronald J Riley, President
Professional Inventor's Alliance

Danielle Brian, Executive Director
Project On Government Oversight 

Ellen Thomas, Executive Director
Proposition One Committee 

David Arkush, Director, Congress Watch
Public Citizen

 Jeff Ruch, Executive Director
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility 

Lucy A. Dalglish, Executive Director
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press 

Kirsten Moore, President and CEO
Reproductive Health Technologies Project 

John W. Whitehead, president
The Rutherford Institute 

Adrienne Anderson, Coordinator
Safe Water Colorado and Nuclear Nexus Projects Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center
 (Whistleblower Anderson v Metro Wastewater)
 
Dr. Roland Chalifoux
The Semmelweis Society International (SSI) 

Clint Brewer, President
Society of Professional Journalists 

Kevin Kuritzky
The Student Health Integrity Project (SHIP) 

Daphne Wysham, Co-Director
Sustainable Energy and Economy Network (SEEN) 

Jeb White, Executive Director
Taxpayers Against Fraud 

Paul Taylor
Truckers Justice Center  

Francesca Grifo, Ph.D., Director Scientific Integrity Program
Union of Concerned Scientists 

Dane von Breichenruchardt, President
U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation 

Gary Kalman, Director, Federal Legislative Office
U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S.PIRG) 

Dr. Jeffrey Fudin, Founder
Veterans Affairs Whistleblowers Coalition 

Ann Harris, Executive Director
We the People, Inc 

Mabel Dobbs, Chair Livestock Committee
Western Organization of Resource Councils 

Janet Chandler, Co-Founder
Whistleblower Mentoring Project 

Linda Lewis, Director
Whistleblowers USA 

Kim Witczak
WoodyMatters   

Cc:  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Speaker Nancy Pelosi
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer
House Minority Leader John Boehner    
 

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