Washington, DC - April 26, 2016 - U.S. Representatives Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Rod Blum (R-IA) today announced the formation of the bipartisan House Whistleblower Protection Caucus, an informal group of House Members dedicated to protecting the rights of whistleblowers, who often take on significant personal and professional risk in order to report improper activity in government agencies, help improve congressional oversight and transparency, and eliminate fraud, abuse and wasteful spending. The Caucus will work to build bipartisan support for strong whistleblower protections, raise awareness about retaliation against whistleblowers, and provide guidance to other House offices about how to respond to whistleblower disclosures and allegations of retaliation.
The House Whistleblower Protection Caucus has been endorsed by several organizations across the political and ideological spectrum, including the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), the Government Accountability Project (GAP), the Liberty Coalition, Public Citizen, the National Taxpayers Union, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, and the Union of Concerned Scientists Center for Science and Democracy.
“Whistleblowers help us do our jobs more effectively. They come forward to give us the facts so that we can hold people accountable, protect tax dollars, and make our government work better for the people we serve – and they often do so knowing they may face retaliation and may be risking their careers,” said Representative Kathleen Rice. “Whatever issues may divide Democrats and Republicans in Congress, whistleblower protection must remain a bipartisan priority so that people can continue coming forward without fear of retaliation and we can continue to rely on the information they provide.”
“In many cases whistleblowers are on the front lines discovering fraud and corruption and all too often risking their careers to report it. Certainly that is the case in many of the recent VA scandals,” said Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO). A Marine Corps combat veteran, Coffman serves on the House Armed Services Committee and House Veteran’s Affairs Committee, where he is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. “We owe these men and women our gratitude and must ensure they are protected from retaliation.”
“Whistleblowers are on the front lines, working to uncover waste, fraud, and abuse,” said Speier. “Throughout my career, whistleblowers have been central to my work in oversight and reform. They’ve brought to light wasteful spending, hostile workplaces, and dangerous practices from the Pentagon to the pipelines beneath our feet. We must provide them with the protections they need to work with Congress and the Inspectors General to conduct genuine oversight. I look forward to working with my colleagues to fight for strong whistleblower protections across all departments and agencies.”
“I am pleased to join my colleagues Reps. Rice, Coffman, and Speier to found the bipartisan Whistleblower Protection Caucus so we can educate other members of Congress on the issue and work together to implement common sense measure that protect whistleblowers. Federal employees with the courage to blow the whistle play a key role in exposing abuse and mismanagement in our government, and this caucus will play a leading role in raising awareness about the need to support those who are willing to take a risk and report wrongdoing,” said Rep. Rod Blum.
“Despite a period of extreme partisanship, Congress is banding together to create a foundation of support for employees committed to the truth,” said Shanna Devine, Legislative Director for the Government Accountability Project. “The House Whistleblower Protection Caucus is the latest action in a cultural sea change toward whistleblowers; since the start of the 114th Congress, more than a tenth of the Senate has joined its companion caucus.”
Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), said: "In this charged political climate, it's encouraging to see members of Congress from both sides of the aisle come together with the aim of strengthening protections for whistleblowers. A more accountable and effective federal government is in the interest of Americans of all political stripes. I applaud Reps. Rice, Coffman, Speier, and Blum for getting the ball rolling with this important caucus and look forward to supporting their work."