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The President Indicates Support for Whistleblowers

At the beginning of April, we asked President Obama clarify his position on government employees who blow the whistle on waste, fraud and abuse.  We were confused because Obama the candidate, as well as Obama the senator and Obama the young attorney, strongly supported whistleblower protections.  And yet, his first official statement as president regarding whistleblowers sent a mixed signal. 

Congress passed, as part of an omnibus appropriations bill, a whistleblower and accountability-friendly provision to deny pay to any federal officer or employee who interferes with or prohibits certain communications from federal employees to members of Congress.  The president unnecessarily qualified this provision in his signing statement, which could have a chilling effect on the expose of wrongdoing.

We found this puzzling and troubling.  But finally, the president has reaffirmed his support for strengthening whistleblower protections.   In his weekly radio address on April 18, President Obama had this to say about efforts to reform spending and government waste:

That starts with the painstaking work of examining every program, every entitlement, every dollar of government spending and asking ourselves: Is this program really essential?  Are taxpayers getting their money’s worth?  Can we accomplish our goals more efficiently or effectively some other way? 

It’s a process we have already begun, scouring our budget line by line for programs that don’t work so we can cut them to make room for ones that do.  That means ending tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas; stopping the fraud and abuse in our Medicare program; and reforming our health care system to cut costs for families and businesses.  It means strengthening whisteblower protections for government employees who step forward to report wasteful spending.

Yes.  It's time to ensure meaningful protections for the government workers who guard the public trust and money, including access to a jury trial, as President Obama has supported in past statementsLet's get it done soon  - and not waste another tax dollar - or put another career at risk.

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