262 Organizations Support Strong Whistleblower Reforms

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

January 29, 2009

To: President Barack Obama;
Senator Daniel Akaka,
Senator Susan Collins,
Senator Joseph Lieberman,
Senator George Voinovich,
Rep. Edolphus Towns,
Rep. Darrell Issa,
Rep. Chris Van Hollen

The undersigned organizations and corporations, representing millions of Americans, write to support the completion of the landmark, nine-year legislative effort to restore credible whistleblower rights for government employees. We offer our support to expeditiously re-initiate the process of reconciling House and Senate passed versions of this vital good government legislation, which both chambers passed last Congress as H.R. 985 and S. 274.  Whistleblower protection is a foundation for any change in which the public can believe. It does not matter whether the issue is economic recovery, prescription drug safety, environmental protection, infrastructure spending, national health insurance, or foreign policy. We need conscientious public servants willing and able to call attention to waste, fraud and abuse on behalf of the taxpayers.

Unfortunately, every month that passes has very tangible consequences for federal government whistleblowers, because none have viable rights. Last year an average of 16 whistleblowers lost every month 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 thirteen consecutive decisions on the merits, leaving a track record of 3-206 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,

Marcel Reid, Chair
ACORN 8

Adele Kushner, Executive Director
Action for a Clean Environment

Pamela Miller, Director
Alaska Community Action on Toxics

Dan Lawn, President
Alaska Forum on Environmental Responsibility

Cindy Shogun, Executive Director
Alaska Wilderness League

Ryan Pleune, Outreach
Alice Ferguson Foundation

Susan Gordon, Director
Alliance for Nuclear Accountability

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

John W. Curtis, Ph.D., Director of Research and Public Policy
American Association of University Professors

Christopher Finan, president
American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression

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

Michael D. Ostrolenk
American Conservative Defense Alliance

Dr. Paul Connett, Executive Director
American Environmental Health Studies Project, Inc.

John Gage, National President
American Federation of Government Employees

Charles M. Loveless, Director of Legislation
American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME)

Mary Ellen McNish, General Secretary
American Friends Service Committee

Caitlin Love Hills, National Forest Program Director
American Lands Alliance

Jessica McGilvray, Assistant Director
American Library Association

Alexandra Owens, Executive Director
American Society of Journalists and Authors

Charlotte Hall, President
American Society of Newspaper Editors

Patricia Schroeder, President and CEO
Association of American Publishers

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

Samuel H. Sage, President
Atlantic States Legal Foundation, Inc.

Jay Stewart, Executive Director
Better Government Association

Matthew Fogg, First Vice-President
Blacks in Government

Nancy Talanian, Director
Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Diane Wilson, President
Calhoun County Resource Watch

Peter Scheer, Executive Director
California First Amendment Association

Terry Franke, Executive Director
Californians Aware

Reece Rushing, Director of Regulatory and Information Policy
Center for American Progress

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

Joseph Mendelson III, Legal Director
Center for Food Safety

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

Paul Kurtz, Chairman
Center for Inquiry

Robert E. White, President
Center for International Policy

Lawrence S. Ottinger, President
Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest

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

Linda Lazarus, Director
Center to Advance Human Potential

Craig Williams, Director
Chemical Weapons Working Group & Common Ground

Phil Fornaci, Counselor
C.H.O.I.C.E.S.

Leonard Akers
Citizens Against Incineration at Newport

Evelyn M. Hurwich, President and Chair
Circumpolar Conservation Union

David B. McCoy, Executive Director
Citizen Action New Mexico

Doug Bandow, Vice President for Policy
Citizen Outreach

Deb Katz, Executive Director
Citizens Awareness Network

Barbara Warren, Executive Director
Citizens' Environmental Coalition

Elaine Cimino
Citizens for Environmental Safeguards

James Turner, Chairman of the Board
Citizens for Health

Michael McCormack, Executive Director
Citizens for Health Educational Foundation

Gerard Beloin
Citizens for Judicial Reform

Laura Olah, Executive Director
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger

Anne Hemenway, Treasurer
Citizen's Vote, Inc.

Rick Piltz
Climate Science Watch

John Judge
Coalition on Political Assassinations
9/11 Research Project

Zena Crenshaw, 2nd Vice-Chair
3.5.7 Commission on Judicial Reform

Sarah Dufendach, Vice President for Legislative Affairs
Common Cause

Greg Smith, Co-Founder
Community Research

Clarissa Duran, Director
Community Service Organization del Norte

Joni Arends, Executive Director
Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety

Lokesh Vuyyuru, MD, Founder
Concerned Citizens of Petersburg

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

Bob Shavelson, Director
Cook Inlet Keeper

Neil Takemoto, Director
CoolTown Betta Communities

Tonya Hennessey, Project Director
CorpWatch

Louis Wolf, Co-Founder
CovertAction Quarterly

John Issacs, Executive Director
Council for a Livable World

Anne Weismann, Chief Counsel
CREW, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

Cathy Harris, Founder, Executive Director
Customs Employees Against Discrimination Association

Mary Elizabeth Beetham, Director of Legislative Affairs
Defenders of Wildlife

Sue Udry, Director
Defending Dissent Foundation

Paul E. Almeida, President
Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO

Courtney Dillard, Founder
Dillard-Winecoff Boutique Hotel

Ben Smilowitz, Director
Disaster Accountability Project

Dr. Patrick Campbell
Doctors against Fraud

Dr. Disamodha Amarasinghe
Doctors for National Healthcare

James J. Murtagh, Jr., President
Doctors for Open Government

Dr. John Raviotta
Doctors for Reform of JCAHO

Stephen D'Esposito, President
Earthworks

Larry Chang, Founder
EcolocityDC

Thea Harvey, Executive Director
Economists for Peace and Security

Lisa Walker, executive director
Education Writers Association

Mike Ewoll, Founder and Director
Energy Justice Network

Gregory Hile
EnviroJustice

Chuck Broscious, President
Environmental Defense Institute

Judith Robinson, Director of Programs
Environmental Health Fund

Peter Montague, Ph.D, Director
Environmental Research Foundation

Jason Zuckerman
The Employment Law Group

John Richard
Essential Information

George Anderson
Ethics in Government Group (EGG)

Bob Cooper
Evergreen Public Affairs

Gabe Bruno
FAA Whistleblowers Alliance

Robert Richie, Executive Director
FairVote

Janet Kopenhaver, Washington Representative
Federally Employed Women (FEW)

Steven Aftergood, Project Director
Federation of American Scientists

Marilyn Fitterman, Vice President
Feminists for Free Expression

Ellen Donnett, Administrative Director
Fluoride Action Network

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

Andy Stahl
Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics (FSEEE)

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

Gail Naftalin, Owner
Gail’s Vegetarian Catering

Karyn Jones, Director
G.A.S.P
Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution

Gwen Marshall, Co-Chairman
Georgians for Open Government

Denny Larson, Executive Director
Global Community Monitor

Paul F. Walker, Ph.D., Legacy Program Director
Global Green USA
(The US Affiliate of Green Cross International, Mikhail Gorbachev, Chairman)

Bill Owens, President
The Glynn Environmental Coalition

Tom Devine, legal director
Government Accountability Project

Bill Hedden, Executive Director
Grand Canyon Trust

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

Alexis Baden-Mayer
Grassroots Netroots Alliance

Luci Murphy
Gray Panthers of Metropolitan Washington

Alan Muller
Green Delaware

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

Arthur S. Shoor, President
Healthcare Consultants

Helen Salisbury, M.D.
Health Integrity Project

Vanessa Pierce, Executive Director
Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah (HEAL Utah)

Gerry Pollet
Heart of America Northwest

Liz Havstad, Chief of Staff
Hip Hop Caucus

Doug Tjapkes, President
Humanity for Prisoners

Keith Robinson, Interim President
Indiana Coalition for Open Government

Scott Armstrong, Executive Director
Information Trust

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

Brenda Platt, Co-Director
Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Donald Soeken, President
Integrity International

Michael McCray, Esq., Co-Chair
International Association of Whistleblowers

Mory Atashkar, Vice President
Iranian American Democratic Association

Mark S. Zaid
James Madison Project

John Metz, Executive Director
JustHealth

Brett Kimberlin, Director
Justice Through Music

Elizabeth Crowe, Director
Kentucky Environmental Foundation

Tom FitzGerald, Director
Kentucky Resources Council, Inc.

Kit Wood, Director
Kit’s Catering

James Love
Knowledge Ecology International

Josephine Carol Cicchini
LeapforPatientSafety

Jonathon Moseley, Executive Director
Legal Affairs Council

James Plummer
Liberty Coalition

Greg Mello, Executive Director
Los Alamos Study Group

Dr. Janette Parker
Medical Whistleblower

Ayize Sabater, Organizer
Mentors of Minorities in Education's Total Learning Cic-Tem

Jill McElheney, Founder
Micah's Mission
Ministry to Improve Childhood & Adolescent Health

Ellen Smith, Owner and Managing Editor
Mine Safety and Health News

Mary Treacy, Executive Director
The Minnesota Coalition on Government Information

Helen Haskell
Mothers Against Medical Error

Mark Cohn, President
MPD Productions, Inc.

James Landrith, Founder
The Multiracial Activist

Larry Fisher, Founder
National Accountant Whistleblower Coalition

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

Jim L. Jorgenson, Deputy Executive Director
National Association of Treasury Agents

Dominick DellaSala, Ph.D., Executive Director of Programs and Chief Scientist
National Center for Conservation Science & Policy

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

Russell Hemenway, President
National Committee for an Effective Congress

Sally Greenberg, Executive Director
National Consumers League

Terisa E. Chaw, Executive Director
National Employment Lawyers Association

Andrew Jackson
National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc.

Kim Gandy, President
National Organization for Women

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

Sibel Edmonds, President and Founder
National Security Whistleblowers Coalition

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

Terrie Smith, Director
National Nuclear Workers For Justice

Doug Kagan, Chairman
Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom

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

Caroline Heldman Ph.D., Director
New Orleans Women’s Shelter

Marsha Coleman-Abedayo, Chair
No FEAR Coalition

Nina Bell, J.D., Executive Director
Northwest Environmental Advocates

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

Jay Coghlan, Executive Director
Nuclear Watch New Mexico

Gwen Lachelt, Executive Director
Oil & Gas Accountability Project

Sean Moulton, Director, Federal Information Policy
OMB Watch

Nikuak Rai, Arts Director
One Common Unity

Rob Kall
Op Ed News

Patrice McDermott, Executive Director
OpenTheGovernment.org

Paul Loney, President
Oregon Wildlife Federation

Ellen Paul, Executive Director
The Ornithological Council

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

Judy Norsigian, Executive Director
Our Bodies Ourselves

Betsy Combier, President and Editor
Parentadvocates.org

Ashley Katz, MSW, Executive Director
Patient Privacy Rights

Blake Moore
Patient Quality Care Project

Dianne Parker
Patient Safety Advocates

Former Special Agent Darlene Fitzgerald
Patrick Henry Center

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

Bennett Haselton, Founder
Peacefire.org

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

Michael McCally, MD, PhD, Executive Director
Physicians for Social Responsibility

Dale Nathan, J.D., President
POPULAR, Inc.

Vina Colley, President
Portsmouth/Piketon Residents for Environmental Safety and Security (PRESS)

David Banisar, Director, FOI Project
Privacy International

Evan Hendricks, Editor/Publisher
Privacy Times

Robert Bulmash, President
Private Citizen, Inc.

Ronald J Riley, President
Professional Inventor's Alliance

Dr. Paul Lapides
Professors for Integrity

Tim Carpenter, Director
Progressive Democrats of America

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

Robert L. FitzPatrick, President
Pyramid Scheme Alert

Dr. Diana Post, President
Rachel Carson Council, Inc.

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

Kirsten Moore, President and CEO
Reproductive Health Technologies Project

Tim Little, Executive Director
Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment

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)

Angela Smith, Coordinator
Seattle Healthy Environment Alliance (Seattle HEAL)

Dr. Roland Chalifoux
The Semmelweis Society International (SSI)

Rufus Kinney
Serving Alabama's Future Environment (SAFE)

Ed Hopkins, Director of Environmental Quality Program
Sierra Club

Shane Jimerfield, Executive Director
Siskiyou Project

Andrea Shipley, Executive Director
Snake River Alliance

Matthew Petty, Executive Director
The Social Sustenance Organization

Dave Aekens, National President
Society of Professional Journalists

Amy B. Osborne, President
Southeastern Chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries
 
Don Hancock, Director of Nuclear Waste Safety Program
Southwest Research and Information Center

Donna Rosenbaum, Executive Director
S.T.O.P. – Safe Tables Our Priority

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

Alec McNaughton
Team Integrity

Ken Paff, National Organizer
Teamsters for a Democratic Union
 
Thad Guyer, Partner
T.M. Guyer & Ayers & Friends

Marylia Kelley, Executive Director
Tri-Valley CAREs
Communities Against a Radioactive Environment

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

Dr. Joseph Parish
U.S. Environmental Watch

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

Nick Mangieri, President
Valor Press, Ltd.

Dr. Jeffrey Fudin, Founder
Veterans Affairs Whistleblowers Coalition

Sonia Silbert, Co-Director
Washington Peace Center

Nada Khader, Foundation Director
WESPAC Foundation

Gloria G. Karp, Co-Chair
Westchester Progressive Forum

Mabel Dobbs, Chair
Livestock Committee
Western Organization of Resource Councils

Ann Harris, Executive Director
We the People, Inc

Janet Chandler, Co-Founder
Whistleblower Mentoring Project
 
Dan Hanley
Whistleblowing United Pilots Association

Linda Lewis, Director
Whistleblowers USA

John C. Horning, Executive Director
WildEarth Guardians

Tracy Davids, Executive Director
Wild South

Kim Witczak
WoodyMatters

Tom Z. Collina, Executive Director
20/20 Vision

Paula Brantner, Executive Director
Workplace Fairness

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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