Sunday, June 5, 2011

In the wake of Tucson massacre, GAP & POGO seek to destroy a Republican Senator

In the wake of the Tucson massacre, some groups continue to utilize destructive methods in an attempt to achieve their convoluted agenda.

The Government Accountability Project (GAP), Project on Government Oversight (POGO) and their affiliates have flooded the Internet with a series of inflammatory calls for action that aim to identify and destroy an anonymous Senator who blocked the passage of the controversial Whistleblower Enhancement Act.

The bill S. 372 excluded intelligence workers and national security employees from whistleblower protection. It also failed to deliver the promised statutorily-protected channels for classified whistleblowing disclosures to Congress and new security clearance rights. Additionally, S. 372 would have given the power of summary dismissal without a hearing to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

The MSPB is notorious for ruling against whistleblowers in over 97% of cases. Whistleblower advocates publicly expressed serious concerns that the beleaguered agency would abuse the additional powers they were about to receive if the bill was to pass the Senate. To secure a unanimous approval, GAP and POGO compromised away existing whistleblower rights. In fact, the bill stood to decrease, not enhance, the already scarce whistleblower protections.

Prominent whistleblowers, The National Whistleblowers Center and numerous whistleblower advocates have called on the House of Representatives to remove the poison pills from S. 372.

Greenhouse: Senate Whistleblower Bill "Treats Whistleblowers as Second-class Citizens"

Kill the Bill

Statement by Coleen Rowley on December 15, 2010 Countdown with Keith Olbermann (4:53)

A New Opportunity to Protect Federal Employee Whistleblowers

Fleur De Lis Film Studios Calls for Correction of the Whistleblower Enhancement Act

Senate Passes S.372: A Bad Deal for Whistleblowers

Dr. David Lewis says "Fix S. 372"

Statement by Jane Turner and Dr. Frederic Whitehurst

This is not the first time GAP pushed for legislation that ended up hurting, not helping, whistleblowers. Thomas Devine, one of the key advocates of the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) said: "My baby turned out to be Frankenstein." The WPA has "suffered from a series of crippling judicial rulings [that] have rendered the Act useless, producing a dismal record of failure for whistleblowers and making the law a black hole."

Thomas Devine refers to the WPA as his baby that "turned out to be Frankenstein"

In spite of S. 372’s obvious shortcomings, GAP and POGO insisted that it simply must be signed into law by arguing that “two thirds of a loaf is better than nothing”.  Supporters of the bill said that the bill would “serve as a warning shot” to our elected officials. When the problematic bill failed at the midnight hour, its proponents went ballistic. Thomas Devine, legal director of GAP, fired: "The senator who sabotaged this bill should come out of the closet. Good government groups want to give him the 2010 Friend of Fraud, Waste and Abuse Award." Devine promised a "relentless search to find the politician who is a cowardly enemy of taxpayers."

Washington Post: Bill to empower whistleblowers fails to pass Senate

In the coming days, GAP and POGO, along with its affiliates and associates have spearheaded such a “relentless search”. On January 7, 2011, POGO published an article, stating “We urge the Republican senator who held the bill to come forward instead of hiding in the shadows,” accusing him of “foul play.” GAP and POGO’s associates have also promulgated Internet postings and mass-mailings, calling the Senator in question a “low-life”,  accusing him of having been bought by “Wall Street mobsters” and encouraging the public to ”find this creep and destroy his political career.”

It would be undoubtedly more productive if whistleblower advocates concentrated on improving the deeply flawed bill, instead of terrorizing the lone Senator who allegedly put a stop to the tortured piece of legislation. In the aftermath of the Tucson massacre, angry rhetoric against our elected officials just doesn’t fit the bill.