On July 29, Representative John Garamendi (D-CA) advocated for the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act, which he reintroduced in March. The bill extends whistleblower protections to Peace Corps volunteers.
At the National Whistleblower Center’s (NWC) National Whistleblower Day celebration, Rep. Garamendi thanked whistleblowers for their contributions and acknowledged their importance in government oversight. “I know that Congress needs whistleblowers,” Garamendi said in his address. “We can’t do our job unless there’s whistleblowers.”
Rep. Garamendi referenced NWC’s help in drafting the Peace Corps Reauthorization. “I counted on [NWC] for advice and counsel as we put forward the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act,” Garamendi said.
“There are probably seven, eight thousand volunteers all around the world… They need to be able to file their complaints and they need to make sure that their complaints, their concerns are handled,” Garamendi continued. “That is now going to be embedded in the law which I think Congress is going to pass in the next few months.”
Garamendi reintroduced the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act on March 1, 2021. The bill would extend the whistleblower and anti-retaliatory protections which currently apply to Peace Corps contractors to Peace Corps volunteers. The bill would create explicit anti-retaliation and anti-discrimination protections for Peace Corps volunteers who come forward to report waste, fraud, abuse of authority, and other violations of law. It would also allow Peace Corps volunteers to testify before Congress.
According to NWC, “[t]he anti-retaliatory and anti-discrimination features of this legislation will serve as a valuable tool to protect Peace Corps volunteers and employees who come forward to report wrongdoing, and they align with best practices of whistleblower protection law.”
Sara Thompson, a Peace Corps volunteer who blew the whistle on the Peace Corps’ misuse of an anti-malaria medication, also spoke at the National Whistleblower Day 2021 celebration.