Dissenters’ Digest takes a look back at the week’s stories covering whistleblowers, watchdogs, and government accountability. Look for it every other Saturday evening at www.mspbwatch.net/digest.
Beyond Reproach: Efforts to pass the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act came under scrutiny this week after it was disclosed by the lead lobbyists that the bill will not contain any jury trial provisions, a long-sought reform. The admission came after the Make It Safe Campaign Steering Committee objected to an open letter to Congress which highlighted flaws in the current bill. However, grassroots efforts, led by this author, pointed out that the Steering Committee has failed to engage the whistleblower community and the public in its lobbying activities, as well as practice transparency and accountability, the values it publicly champions. It remains to be seen whether the Steering Committee will take heed of suggested reforms, the rejection of which may well cost it considerable influence and credibility with the lowest common denominator that truly matters: federal whistleblowers.
Below the Fold:
- Tom Devine and Louis Clark of the Government Accountability Project authored an op-ed calling for “stronger” whistleblower protections.
- Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman and former Harry Reid aide Gregory Jaczko, who has been accused of bullying his own staff, will resign.
- Dover Mortuary officials have been punished for retaliating against whistleblowers.
- Advocates for accused U.S. Army whistleblower Bradley Manning challenge government secrecy during Manning’s court martial.
- Right-of-center government accountability group sues the Federal Trade Commission over disparate treatment of FOIA handling.
- The government-run Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force is looking for whistleblowers to disclose mortgage-backed securities fraud.
- Little known fact: In 1968, as a 31-year old Army Major, Colin Powell tried to cover up the My Lai massacre in front of Congress.
- In 1998, three Vietnam Veterans were quietly honored for putting themselves in the line of fire – American GI fire – by landing a helicopter to prevent the My Lai massacre.
- A Republican NLRB member resigns after leaking internal board rulings and internal documents to a Romney aide.
- BP covered up that an oil spill in the Caspian Sea in 2008 was caused by a mud cap that failed, the same method used in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
- The head of the National Weather Service resigns after improperly shifting funds within the agency.
- How the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs weakened a pilot fatigue rule.
- An OSHA whistleblower who disclosed cozy relations with industry will get a chance to argue for reinstatement following an appeals court ruling.
- An employment lawyer looks at the 12 Douglas factors that determine when a federal employee will lose or keep his job.
- Congress probes allegations of intimidation, covert surveillance of staff, and misuse of tax dollars within the Federal Maritime Commission.
- President Obama has his own 100-person terrorist death panel.
- Advice to corporations is offered: How to introduce an ethics hotline system into your company.
- A corporate-sponsored report shows that most whistleblowers report internally first.
- Could the GSA scandal encourage more whistleblowers?
- National security leaks may be calculated to portray Obama as a ruthless warrior.
- Following Congressional outrage, Attorney General Eric Holder has appointed two U.S. Attorneys to prosecute any unauthorized national security leaks.
- The State Department promotes freedom abroad but suppresses whistleblower here.
- The FBI keeps the agent who botched the Stevens case but hounds out the whistleblower.
- A state whistleblower triggers changes in North Carolina law regarding gag orders.
- The first bank has been criminally indicted for mortgage fraud. As an aside, during the S&L Scandal of the 1980′s, the Office of Thrift Supervision made over 30,000 criminal referrals to the Justice Department. Following the recent subprime mortgage fraud, which is 70x larger than the S&L scandal, the OTS made zero referrals.
- The Washington Post takes a fresh look at the Watergate scandal, 40 years later.
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