Friday, May 22, 2009

Whistleblower Seeks Protection for Federal Workers

One of my readers passed this letter along in response to my previous blog posting Stimulus Protects Some Workers.

As I mentioned, the stimulus law provides some remedies for workers in case they get fired or demoted or otherwise retaliated against for reporting fraud, abuse, or waste in how institutions actually spend the stimulus funds. But it does not protect federal workers.

Here's part of the letter, written by Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, Former Procurement Executive, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who reports that she faced retaliation after testifying in Congress last week:

"Dear Friends,

"I wrote to you last week that I would be testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform because I believe that all employees should be protected from retaliation for reporting waste, fraud, and abuse. I did not expect that within hours of my testimony I would be subject to additional retaliation.

"At 6:23 p.m. I was forwarded an email written by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief of Staff stating that from now on, all testimony before Congress must be pre-approved by the Army Corps and that all oral testimony must conform to the approved written testimony.

"I am shocked by this blatant violation of the First Amendment. I said nothing improper during my testimony, I simply told the truth. I was testifying on my own time while I was on unpaid leave.

"I appeared at the invitation of Congress, to explain what happened when I reported improprieties surrounding the awarding of contracts to Halliburton-KBR just prior to the invasion of Iraq. The restriction imposed upon my right and the right of other federal employees to testify before Congress in our personal capacity free from restrain and censorship must stop NOW!"

Thanks to sbd for the tip!

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