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.






Marcel Reid, Chair



Adele Kushner, Executive Director

Action for a Clean Environment


David Swanson, co-founder



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



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



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



Mary Elizabeth Beetham, Director of Legislative Affairs

Defenders of Wildlife


Sue Udry, Director

Defending Dissent Foundation


Bob Fertik, President


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



Larry Chang, Founder



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



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



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



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



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



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



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


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


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


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



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



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


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



Tom Z. Collina, Executive Director

20/20 Vision


Paula Brantner, Executive Director

Workplace Fairness

Why Is This Idea Important?

This message posts an idea that has broad public support -- 292 NGO's and businesses ask that the President live up to his campaign and transition policies of best practice rights for whistleblower protection, enforced by full access to court so that the rights have enforcement credibility. Because the birth of this transparency dialogue was so opaque, and limited to a one week turnaround during a holiday weekend, it is not realistic to organize volumes of individual posts before the White House shuts down the process. Hopefully the deep base of public support reflected in this letter will be sufficient to include the topic of whistleblowing in the blog phase of this transparency dialogue.



642 votes
Idea No. 755