On July 29, Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA), the co-chair of the House Whistleblower Protection Caucus, delivered remarks at the National Whistleblower Center’s (NWC) National Whistleblower Day 2021 celebration. Speier thanked whistleblowers for their bravery and discussed the billions of dollars the U.S. government has recovered due to whistleblower disclosures.
In her remarks, Speier also spoke of the need for stronger whistleblower protections. She specifically mentioned the COVID-19 Whistleblower Protection Act and the Whistleblower Protection Improvement Act (WPIA) as key pieces of whistleblower legislation currently pending before Congress.
“Over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen time and time again that whistleblowers serve as the moral compass for our country,” said Representative Speier.
“Congressman Raskin, Senator Warren, and I once again introduced the COVID-19 Whistleblower Protection Act to ensure that relief funds aren’t pillaged and plundered and that those who witness waste, fraud, and abuse have the confidence to come forward,” added Speier.
“Congress must continue to look for additional ways to strengthen whistleblower protections,” Speier continued. “Which is why I am a proud co-sponsor of the bipartisan Whistleblower Protection Improvement Act.”
The COVID-19 Whistleblower Protection Act was introduced by Speier alongside Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on February 4, 2021. The bill strengthens anti-retaliation protections for employees and former employees of recipients of COVID-19 relief funds. The Act is endorsed by several organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, the Project on Government Oversight, and NWC.
The WPIA was introduced by a bipartisan group of Representatives on May 4, 2021. On June 29, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Oversight and Reform Committee voted to approve the Act. The bill strengthens whistleblower protections for federal employees by amending the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA). Most notably, the WPIA would grant federal employee whistleblowers access to jury trials in federal court. This would end the decades-long fight for court access for federal employee whistleblowers.
The National Whistleblower 2021 celebration continues on July 30 with speeches and panels featuring high profile whistleblowers. RSVP here for the event.