Making Government Operations More Open

Federal Whistleblower Protection

292 Organizations and Corporations Support Swift Action to Restore Strong, Comprehensive Whistleblower Rights

 

May 14, 2009

 

An Open Letter to President Obama and Members of Congress

 

The undersigned organizations and corporations 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 pass legislation that includes the critical reforms listed below. 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, on average, 16 whistleblowers a month lost initial decisions from administrative hearings at the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). Since 2000, only three out of 53 whistleblowers have received final rulings in their favor from the MSPB. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, the only court which can hear federal whistleblower appeals of administrative decisions, has consistently ruled against whistleblowers, with whistleblowers winning only three cases out of 209 since October 1994 when Congress last strengthened the law.

 

It is crucial that Congress restore and modernize the Whistleblower Protection Act by passing all of the following reforms:

 

• Grant employees the right to a jury trial in federal court;

• 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 you share the commitment of every group signing the letter below to more transparency and accountability in government. Please let us know how we can participate to make this good government reform law to protect federal whistleblowers and taxpayers.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Marcel Reid, Chair

ACORN 8

 

Adele Kushner, Executive Director

Action for a Clean Environment

 

David Swanson, co-founder

AfterDowningStreet

 

Pamela Miller, Director

Alaska Community Action on Toxics

 

Dan Lawn, President

Alaska Forum on Environmental Responsibility

 

Cindy Shogun, Executive Director

Alaska Wilderness League

 

Ruth Caplan

Alliance for Democracy

 

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, Director, Government Relations Office

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

 

Tom DeWeese, President

American Policy Center

 

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

 

Prudence Adler, Associate Executive Director

Association of Research Libraries

 

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

 

Jay Feldman, Executive Director

Beyond Pesticides

 

Matthew Fogg, First Vice-President

Blacks in Government

 

Chip Pitts, President

Bill of Rights Defense Committee

 

Diane Wilson, President

Calhoun County Resource Watch

 

Jane Williams, Executive Director

California Communities Against Toxics

 

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

 

J. Bradley Jansen, Director

Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights

 

Joseph Mendelson III, Legal Director

Center for Food Safety

 

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

 

John Richard

Center for Study of Responsive Law

 

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

 

Neil Cohen, Publisher

Computer Law Reporter, Inc.

 

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)

 

Linda Sherry, Director of National Priorities

Consumer Action

 

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

 

Miho Kim, Executive Director

DataCenter

 

Mary Elizabeth Beetham, Director of Legislative Affairs

Defenders of Wildlife

 

Sue Udry, Director

Defending Dissent Foundation

 

Bob Fertik, President

Democrats.com

 

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

 

Marco Simons, Legal Director

EarthRights International

 

Bruce Baizel, Senior Staff Attorney

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

 

Carol Werner

Environmental and Energy Study Institute

 

Judith Robinson, Director of Programs

Environmental Health Fund

 

Eric Shaeffer, Executive Director

Environmental Integrity Project

 

Peter Montague, Ph.D, Director

Environmental Research Foundation

 

Jason Zuckerman

The Employment Law Group

 

Rob Weissman

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

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

Foundation for Global Community/Atlanta

 

Ruth Flower, Legislative Director

Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers)

 

Brent Blackwelder, President

Friends of the Earth

 

Conrad Martin, Executive Director

Fund for Constitutional Government

 

Gail Naftalin, Owner

Gail’s Vegetarian Catering

 

Karyn Jones, Director

G.A.S.P

 

Gwen Marshall, Co-Chairman

Georgians for Open Government

 

Neil Tangri

Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance

 

Denny Larson, Executive Director

Global Community Monitor

 

Reede Stockton

Global Exchange

 

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

 

Tracy Frisch

Greenwich Citizens Committee

 

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

 

Ernie Reed, Council Chair

Heartwood

 

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, Owner

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

 

Eileen Dannemann, Director

National Coalition of Organized Women

 

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

 

Lewis Maltby, President

National Workrights Institute

 

Terrie Smith, Director

National Nuclear Workers For Justice

 

Tim Hermach, President

Native Forest Council

 

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

 

Douglas Meiklejohn, J.D., Executive Director

New Mexico Environmental Law Center

 

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. Blake Moore, President

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

 

Gillian Caldwell, Campaign Director

1Sky

 

Andrea Shipley, Executive Director

Snake River Alliance

 

Matthew Petty, Executive Director

The Social Sustenance Organization

 

Dave Aekens, National President

Society of Professional Journalists

 

Laureen Clair

SOL Communications Inc

 

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

 

Mauro Oliveira

StopClearCuttingCalifornia.org

 

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

 

Peter Barnes

Tomales Bay Institute

 

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.

 

Brad Friedman, co-founder

Velvet Revolution

 

Dr. Jeffrey Fudin, Founder

Veterans Affairs Whistleblowers Coalition

 

Sonia Silbert, Co-Director

Washington Peace Center

 

Nada Khader, Foundation Director

WESPAC Foundation

 

Janine Blaeloch, Director

Western Lands Project

 

Gloria G. Karp, Co-Chair

Westchester Progressive Forum

 

Greg Costello, Executive Director

Western Environmental Law Center

 

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

 

George Nickas, Executive Director

Wilderness Watch

 

Tracy Davids, Executive Director

Wild South

 

Scott Silver, Executive Director

Wild Wilderness

 

Kim Witczak

WoodyMatters

 

Tom Z. Collina, Executive Director

20/20 Vision

 

Paula Brantner, Executive Director

Workplace Fairness

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Idea No. 755