Dear MISC member,
Attached, please find a whistleblower letter to Congress drafted by me and fellow whistleblower Evelynn Brown of WhistleWatch.org. We request your consideration and signature.
In the interest of full disclosure, however, the MISC Steering Committee expressed initial objections to it as is, but after we refused to dilute it, they wished to add a comment. That comment is as follows:
The Steering Committee supports and has fought hard for the reforms highlighted in the letter. We have been told repeatedly by Senate and House members that these are not passable in this political climate. It is indeed not a favorable climate for federal whistleblowers. In fact, we are surprised to have any access to court at all given the House leadership’s opposition to the idea. But though we have been repeatedly told that the bill goes as far as it can go, it does not mean we shouldn’t keep asking for what’s right. However, that is with a caveat: there will come a time when we will need the support of all of us to get some reforms through to help as many whistleblowers as we can. There will be a moment when the perfect will become the enemy of the good. We hope that at that time, all federal whistleblowers will stand in solidarity with one another to get a law that serves as many as possible.
My initial response to that comment is available here: http://mspbwatch.net/2012/06/05/pogo-will-have-to-choose-between-whistleblowers-and-congress/. Now I also interpret it as a heavy-handed attempt to quell dissent at the moment of truth. Yesterday, Tom Devine admitted that he expected any community letter to be a “pep talk” for Congress, thus rendering the one I attached counterproductive, or some such thing. One question comes to mind: where in GAP or POGO’s numerous blog posts is any discussion and naming of politicians who oppose basic Magna Carta jury trial rights? How can we say that this is not a good climate for federal whistleblowers when we’re witnessing unprecedented disgust with Washington, public exacerbation with waste, fraud, and abuse, numerous corporate whistleblowers win multi-million dollar awards weekly, and a number of law firms start up whistleblowing practices? Who works for whom – Congress for us, or us for lobbyists and Congress? Why are we accepting as given the status quo – if a politician is against these sensible reforms, let them say so, and why, in the light of day. Until that happens, no, this is not good enough.
In any event, these are just a few rebuttals that would take place if we had a healthy, functioning dialogue in the community. We whistleblowers have lost our voice, handing it over to others who may not necessarily have our best interests at heart. For one thing, there is no whistleblower with voting power on the Steering Committee, which may be why we find ourselves at odds now.
I wish for you to know where the Steering Committee stands with regards to WPEA, which position diverges significantly from the community’s, and is a direct result of failure to substantially involve and be transparent with the whistleblower community. Based on conversations with Steering Committee members, it is unlikely that we will have jury trials, be rid of summary judgment, or divert substantial impact cases from the Federal Circuit, because once the bill passes through Congressional committees, that’s it. The bill may not even be retroactive, denying its coverage to all of us who worked on it and are waiting for our day in court.
Emailing you directly, without supervision or control by the Steering Committee, is a product of our frustrations with such lack of transparency and free flow of ideas. Consider this an initial expression of no confidence in the Steering Committee.
If you wish to sign on to the letter, please email me at [dpardo220 at gmail dot com].
Former Attorney/Advisor, Federal Aviation Administration
Open Letter May 21 (.docx)