The best way to improve the federal government is to encourage people inside the bowels of the bureaucracy to step forward and reveal fraudulent, wasteful or illegal activities. But government whistleblowers more often than not earn “15 minutes of fame and 40 years of misery” as one Pentagon insider told Mother Jones magazine in an article titled, “Don’t whistle while you work.”
In March a bill authorizing strong protections for federal whistleblowers passed the House of Representative with a veto-proof margin.
Starting Monday (May 14) the lobbying effort moves to the Senate when a coalition of 45 groups will coalesce on Capitol Hill for Washington Whistleblower Week.
The most powerful advocates for better protections are the whistleblowers themselves. Read 10 short snippets about current whistleblowes who stepped forward to reveal things like fraudulent clinical trials and coverups involving drug smuggling — and got fired for their honesty.
This is not a partisan issue. Since 9/11 the tone and tenor of government has changed toward less openness and greater executive power. Just the other day a Boston Globe article reported that “The Pentagon has placed unprecedented restrictions on who can testify before Congress.”
At this rate Congress is going to need whistleblowers just to get a straight answer out of this and future administrations.
We must help Congress restore the checks and balances that lawmakers of both parties foolishly ceded to the Executive after the World Trade Center attacks.
Lets remind that Senate that it is supposed to be the world’s greatest deliberative body — not its most pompous rubber stamp.