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U.S. Federal Employee 'Gag Orders' May Be Illegal, Lawmakers Warn Trump

Posted  January 27, 2017

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

Senior Democratic lawmakers called on the White House to lift orders barring government agency employees from communicating with the public and Congress, saying such restrictions may violate federal laws meant to protect whistleblowers.

Congressmen Elijah Cummings of Maryland, ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, sent a letter to White House counsel Donald McGahn asking for immediate action to address the administration’s apparent silencing of government whistleblowers.  The letter is in response to directives to employees at various agencies, including the EPA, the Interior Department, the Department of Agriculture and HHS, limiting how they communicate to the public.

In their letter, the lawmakers said, in part, that the directives are no more than “gag orders on federal employees that prevent them from communicating with Congress.”  The Congressmen urged the President to “immediately rescind all policies on employee communications that do not comply with the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act and other federal statutes” and make clear “to all federal employees that they have the right to communicate with Congress and that [the President] and his Administration will not silence or retaliate against whistleblowers.”   Reuters

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