Senator Charles Grassley has publicly announced his intention to run for an eighth term in the U.S. Senate. This is welcome news for whistleblowers.
Senator Grassley has been the most effective advocate for whistleblowers in the history of the U.S. Congress. No other member of the House or Senate has fought for whistleblower rights as aggressively and consistently as Senator Grassley. His imprint is on all of the major whistleblower laws passed in the last forty years. His record of bi-partisanship stretches as far back as his support for the Defense Department official Ernie Fitzgerald, who was fired by President Richard Nixon after testifying in Congress to billions in waste and fraud in defense contracting.
After becoming a Senator in 1981, Grassley worked with Fitzgerald in devising new laws to protect whistleblowers who exposed frauds in government contracting. This ultimately resulted in the 1986 amendments to the False Claims Act, a law designed to hold powerful special interests accountable when they defrauded taxpayers by paying kickbacks to get government contracts, overbilling Medicare, or violating the requirements of federal anti-fraud laws.
Today, the False Claims Act is the most important whistleblower law ever passed. It has unanimous support from all the recent executives in the Department of Justice, regardless of political affiliation. Thousands of whistleblowers have won their cases under that law, obtaining over $7 billion paid directly from those who defrauded the government. Better still, the taxpayers directly recovered over $60 billion from fraudsters, while numerous fraudsters were sent to jail, debarred from government contracting, or forced into bankruptcy after pleading guilty to crimes.
The False Claims Act proved to be so successful that Senator Grassley was able to obtain bi-partisan support for other similar highly effective whistleblowers laws, most notably the IRS tax whistleblower law and the whistleblower laws included in the Dodd-Frank Act (covering securities and commodities frauds). The IRS and Dodd-Frank Act whistleblower laws are joining the False Claims Act as model laws. They have held more fraudsters accountable, compensated more whistleblowers, and recovered more damages to the government and harmed individuals than any other whistleblower laws.
Senator Grassley also has understood the personal plight whistleblowers face. He has aggressively defended hundreds (if not thousands) of whistleblowers who faced retaliation, including two members of the National Whistleblower Center’s Board of Directors, Frederic Whitehurst and Jane Turner. When the history of America’s first whistleblowers was “rediscovered” through historical research, Senator Grassley was the first Member of Congress (House or Senate) to understand the importance of the law passed on July 30, 1778, by the Continental Congress. That law reflected the Founders of the American Republic mandate to recognize that “every inhabitant” of the United States had an obligation to report “frauds” and other violations of law to “appropriate authorities. Senator Grassley used this monumental historical fact to endorse a National Whistleblower Appreciation Day, designed to change the anti-whistleblower culture that permeates the current workplace culture. Senator Grassley formed a bi-partisan Whistleblower Caucus and obtained the unanimous consent of the entire U.S. Senate to honor Whistleblower Appreciation Day for eight straight years.
Today, Senator Grassley continues his unprecedented and bi-partisan support for whistleblowers. He supports critical amendments designed to improve the False Claims Act, IRS, securities, and commodities whistleblower laws. He is working to fix the numerous problems in the money laundering whistleblower law and strongly supporting efforts to protect federal employees who face retaliation.
As another election year approaches, voters will be focused on numerous “hot button” and often highly devise issues. Senator Grassley has been the best friend that whistleblowers have ever had in the U.S. Congress. For seven terms, he has stuck to his guns. WNN hopes that the voters of Iowa will continue to recognize the incredible legislative achievements that Senator Grassley has made in holding those who defraud the American people accountable. His work on whistleblower issues continues to be bi-partisan and effective. He has had a real positive impact on the lives of thousands of honest men and women who reported illegal activity and were protected by the laws Senator Grassley wrote and successfully worked to have signed into law.
It is up to the voters of Iowa to determine whether they want him to serve another term. When deciding who should represent the people of Iowa in the U.S. Senate, WNN hopes that the voters will keep in mind his contributions to oversight, accountability, and whistleblower protection.