Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), noted architect and champion of several whistleblower protection laws, has announced he will create the first-ever Senate whistleblower protection caucus. The caucus, also commonly referred to as a coalition or working group, will consist of a group of senators dedicated to protecting whistleblowers and ensuring that whistleblower laws are enforced. Grassley will be making the rounds in Congress over the next six months rallying support, with the hopes of having a fully operational group by the beginning of Congress’ next session in January 2015.
The announcement came on the twenty-fifth anniversary of one of Grassley’s signature achievements in the whistleblower arena, the passage of the Whistleblower Protection Act in 1989. This was the law designed to protect federal employees who report fraud within the government. It extended to the federal workforce protections similar to those available in the private sector from other laws, such as another of the Senator’s key pieces of whistleblower legislation, his amendments to the False Claims Act in 1986.
The announcement also comes on the heels of a grade report issued by Grassley on how well (actually how poorly) government agencies are doing when it comes to enforcing whistleblower protections. Based on the government’s poor showing in that report, it looks like Grassley’s plan could not come at a better time. According to the Senator, “Whistleblowers are often treated like skunks at a picnic. It takes guts to put your career on the line to expose waste and fraud, and whistleblowers need senators who will listen and advocate for them.” Hopefully, through Senator Grassley’s newest whistleblower protection initiative, he will be joined by a growing list of his Senate colleagues in his long-standing campaign to stand up for the rights and protections of whistleblowers.
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