Victory for Federal Scientists as Congress Passes “Whistleblower” Legislation

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.

Senators Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) were crucial to the successful passage of the WPEA. Photo courtesy of The Union for Concerned Scientists. Copyright 2012.

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.


Kevin Knobloch
Kevin Knobloch
President, Union of Concerned Scientists

Shirley Pena

About Shirley Pena

A native of Southern California, Shirley Peña began her career as a music journalist almost twenty years ago, writing for her websites "Stars In My Eyes: the Girlhowdy Website" and "La Raza Rock!" and progressed to creating various fan sites on Yahoo, including the first for New Zealand singer/songwriter Tim Finn. From there, she became a free agent, arranging online interviews for Yahoo fan clubs with various music artists (Andy White, John Crawford, Debora Iyall, John Easdale, etc.). She also lent her support in creating and moderating a number of Yahoo fan clubs for various music artists from the 1990s-today. As a music journalist, Shirley Peña has contributed to a number of magazines (both hard copy and online), among them: Goldmine, American Songwriter, Classic Drummer Magazine and UK-based Keyboard Player (where she was a principal journalist). A self-confessed "fanatic" of 1960s "British Invasion" bands, Classic Rock and nostalgic "Old Hollywood ", she also keeps her finger on the pulse of current trends in music, with a keen eye for up and coming artists of special merit. Shirley Peña loves Los Angeles, and is thrilled to join the writing staff of The Los Angeles Beat!
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