On July 30, the U.S. Senate’s Kennedy Caucus Room was packed with whistleblowers, their families and whistleblower advocates as six senators and one representative each gave moving remarks in recognition of National Whistleblower day. This event, hosted by the National Whistleblower Center, marked the first Congressional celebration of National Whistleblower Day. The commemoration of July 30th as National Whistleblower Day recognizes the passage of the first ever whistleblower law that date in 1778, as well as the crucial role whistleblowers play today in defending our nation from waste, fraud and abuse.
Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, one of two keynote speakers for the event told the audience “Experience shows us that silencing patriotic people that we call whistleblowers, just allows wrongdoing to fester and spread. By pointing out problems, whistleblowers foster transparency and make it possible for their organizations to do better. Transparency brings accountability.”
Grassley went on to say, “With their words and actions, leaders have to make clear that whistleblowers are important and retaliation is not tolerated. For many years I’ve asked the President of the United States to have a Rose Garden ceremony honoring whistleblowers. Because we need to have it from the top of bureaucracy to the lowest levels of bureaucracy.”
Ron Wyden of Oregon, the other keynote speaker, assured the crowd that the newly created Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus “truly appreciates whistleblowers and what you do to make our country a better place. You have a solemn pledge from all of us, democrats and republicans that are a part of the Whistleblower Caucus. We want you to know that we are going to stay at it until everybody in America can feel comfortable to come forward and say ‘This is wrong, I need to say something and for the first time people in government will have my back when I do it.’”
The other legislators who spoke were Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Mark Kirk of Illinois, who are members of the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus. Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California also spoke in support of whistleblowers.
The Senate passed a resolution again this year marking July 30th as National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.
More information about making July 30th a permanent day of recognition honoring whistleblowers: www.nationalwhistleblowerday.org
Photo Credit: Tom Wolfe