In a recent online Q&A session, as well as during a speech at the National Whistleblower Center’s National Whistleblower Day celebration, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) reinforced his unwavering support for whistleblowers and underlined their instrumental role in maintaining government transparency. As a beacon for whistleblower rights, Grassley has worked to ensure those who expose corruption are protected and celebrated, not subjected to retribution.
Senator Grassley, co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus, reintroduced a bipartisan resolution to designate July 30th, 2023 as “National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.” This move marks the tenth consecutive year that the resolution has been put forth. The resolution honors the United States’ first whistleblower law, adopted unanimously by the Continental Congress in 1778, and Grassley emphasized that the resolution’s intent aligns with the founders’ vision of urging citizens to report misconduct.
In his Q&A, Grassley insisted that backing whistleblowers is not just a one-day affair but a year-round commitment. He declared his continuous effort to bolster whistleblower protections and hold accountable those who retaliate unlawfully.
“I keep my nose to the grindstone in Washington to protect taxpayer dollars and weed out corruption and wrongdoing at all levels of government,” Grassley said.
During his National Whistleblower Day speech, Grassley repeatedly emphasized the contributions and sacrifices made by whistleblowers.
“Whistleblowers are critical to good government, or just what government is supposed to be doing,” Grassley said. “That’s enforcing the laws, or as the president takes the oath to faithfully execute the laws.”
“Whistleblowers risk their jobs, their livelihoods and reputations when they blow the whistle on government waste, fraud and abuse.”
In both his Q&A and speech, the senator also stressed the importance of whistleblower input in his oversight work in Congress. Through whistleblowers, Grassley has brought to light numerous instances of misconduct, such as the mishandling of the investigation into convicted sex offender Larry Nassar. Whistleblowers have further revealed lapses in the protection of veterans’ private information, prompting the senator to call for enhanced accountability.
Turning to legislation, Senator Grassley pointed to his successful efforts in 1986 to update the False Claims Act, commonly known as “Lincoln’s Law,” which has since facilitated the recovery of more than $72 billion from defrauders of federal agencies. The senator emphasized that the key qui tam provision in the updated law, which empowers whistleblowers to sue alleged fraudsters on the government’s behalf, has been a significant deterrent for fraud. Grassley noted that during the week of National Whistleblower Day he introduced bipartisan amendments to strengthen the FCA. He also highlighted reform bills he has introduced to strengthen the CFTC, SEC and IRS whistleblower programs.
Beyond legislation, Grassley called on the administration to publicly honor whistleblowers in a ceremony at the White House, thus enabling them to “bask in the limelight of appreciation of a nation well-served by their courage and sacrifice.”
“For me, there’s no middle ground when it comes to whistleblowers. They must be protected and fought for. Full stop,” said Grassley in his speech.