Holiday greetings to all the readers of the LA Beat,
At long last, both houses of Congress passed the whistleblower legislation that will protect federal employees who expose the censorship and misuse of government science. The bill (pdf) went today to President Obama’s desk; he’s expected to sign it.
My colleague, Senior Washington Representative Celia Wexler, put it best:
“The [legislation] recognizes for the first time that censorship of federal information is as harmful to the country as other types of waste, fraud, and abuse in government…At a time when science seems to be routinely under attack in Congress, this legislative success is a breath of fresh air and a reminder that bipartisan cooperation is still possible.”
Many organizations across the political spectrum worked for more than a decade to strengthen U.S. whistleblower law. But it was the Union of Concerned Scientists who pushed for protections for agency scientists when their work was suppressed or misused. Celia and other UCS staff spent hundreds of hours on Capitol Hill educating lawmakers on this critical issue.
We first asked public citizens to contact Congress about this issue in 2007. Thankfully, the emails, phone calls, and donations made a big difference over the years, as we saw lawmakers begin to understand the importance of whistleblower protections and then advocate for them.
We particularly are grateful to representatives Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Steve Pearce (R-NM), Todd Platts (R-PA), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and senators Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO). These elected officials saw the legislation through to the end, ensuring that it would not die with the end of this session of Congress.
Thank you for being with us—and speaking out—during the long haul.