Within the past year and a half, both the House and Senate have passed bills granting expanded protections to Federal Employees who become Whistle-Blowers. The term Whistle-Blower has been with us for quite some time now, but rose to national prominence during the recent high profile collapses of Enron, WorldCom, and others. In the aftermath of those scandals Congress acted to protect future corporate Whistle-Blowersa s part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. However, Sarbanes-Oxley protections are limited and do not extend to Federal Employees. It is only in the last year or so that some in Congress have sought to change that.
Perhaps you’re thinking “Great, the Federal Government should protect those who expose corruption wherever it exists, what’s the catch?” The catch is the House and Senate each passed different versions of the bill and have done little to try to reconcile the disparities between the two. Concern is mounting among interested contingents as to whether congress is going to do anything to rectify the situation in an election year.
It would be unfortunate to see another Congress leave office without having addressed the issue. Whichever side of the aisle we may fall on, we can probably all agree that as taxpayers we deserve accountability from our government. Certainly those brave enough to expose Federal corruption and waste deserve adequate protection from retaliation. Hopefully Congress can get past election year politics and do what it has already agreed to do.