The undersigned organizations, corporations, and individuals write to seek your leadership to ensure that those who defend the public can defend themselves. 2022 will be the year of truth for whether Congress will act to meet unprecedented challenges facing our country by passing legislation that strengthens America’s antiquated whistleblower laws. Those challenges cannot be met without a safe channel for the truth—and those who tell it.
America’s whistleblowers do not have credible rights. Federal civil service employees who can best expose fraud, waste or abuse are the only major group in the labor force without access to jury trials in court to challenge retaliation. Government contracts are the greatest source of corruption—an estimate by the Secret Service and Justice Department Office of Inspector General found upwards of $100 billion stolen from pandemic relief alone—but the government contractor law that protects whistleblowers covers neither misspending by state or local governments domestically nor any that occurs internationally. America has been torn apart by police abuses, but officers who risk their lives to protect the public against police lawlessness do not have any whistleblower law to protect themselves.
This is not just a matter of injustice. Whistleblowers are the country’s best weapon to fight abuses of power that betray the public trust. As seen in the recent Netflix documentary Meltdown: Three Mile Island, whistleblowers may have prevented a Chernobyl-style accident—threatening a multi-year East Coast evacuation—by warning about brazen nuclear safety violations resulting from corporate shortcuts that the government oversight agency chose to disregard. It does not matter whether the issue is economic recovery, prescription drug safety, environmental protection, infrastructure spending, election security, or foreign policy. Public servants in every sector who protect the public need protections themselves. Without these protections, Profiles in Courage are the exception, not the rule.
This year there are multiple opportunities to strengthen protections for the courageous workers who we depend on to enforce our laws and protect the public’s interests:
We are not alone in calling for your leadership to join and support significant whistleblower legislation. A Marist poll of likely voters before the 2020 election found that 86% want Congress to pass stronger whistleblower protection laws. Enacting them is a win-win for all except those who seek to sustain corruption through secrecy. We urge you to exercise leadership, support and speak out for each of these whistleblower reforms whenever there is an opportunity. This is the year of truth for Congress to provide genuine protection for truth tellers.