Obama Threat to Whistleblower Protections Triggers Alarm in Congress

Thursday, January 24, 2013
(graphic: snippits-and-slappits.blogspot.com)

When President Barack Obama signed the latest defense authorization bill (pdf), he added a signing statement that highlighted his objection to new protections for government whistleblowers that are included in the bill.


Obama said he opposed whistleblowers making non-secret disclosures to Congress, even though lawmakers protect such actions by federal employees.


The legislation provides landmark protections for those who reveal waste, fraud, and abuse by government contractors and grantees, according to Angela Canterbury at the Project on Government Oversight.


“Obama has thrown disclosures to Congress into question by claiming these new rights for whistleblowers ‘threaten to interfere with my constitutional duty to supervise the executive branch,’” Canterbury wrote. “This is especially disturbing given that Obama has long supported whistleblowers and has previously kept every promise to strengthen protections for them.”


In response to the president’s signing statement, several members of Congress wrote to President Obama expressing concern that his objections “could be perceived as potentially eroding protections for federal workers and discouraging them from helping expose improper behavior.” They quoted Canterbury as saying that “the president appears to be thumbing his nose at Congress, whistleblowers, and taxpayers.”


The letter (pdf) was signed by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-California) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland).

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Obama, Bush and the Imbalance of Power (by Angela Canterbury, Project on Government Oversight)

Letter to President Obama from Congressional Representatives (pdf)

Statement by the President on H.R. 4310 (White House)

Labor Department Rejects 98% of Whistleblower Protection Requests (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Obama Anti-Whistleblower Case Collapses (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Lieberman and Collins Try to Pass Bill Weakening FBI Whistleblower Protection (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Boris M. Garsky 9 years ago
Yes there are those disgruntled employees that tattle-tale. However, personnel have come forth with exposing life endangering practices, manufacturing deficiencies of military hardware, fraudulent billing of contracts, fraudulent inflation of contracts and much more. They provide a much needed public service in an era where anything is a go,as long as you don't get caught. The treats to them are very real.
EBrown 9 years ago
Good article. You can read how we are trying to help federal employees on whistlewatch.org. The tangled laws are not being enforced to protect federal whistleblowers. That is very clear when you see the results of agencies violating the No Fear Act. http://whistlewatch.org/2012/10/cabinet-level-agencies-violate-section-203-of-the-no-fear-act/

Leave a comment