On July 30, the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus announced two new caucus members: Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH). The announcement was made on National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.
The Whistleblower Protection Caucus was established in 2015. The caucus aims to foster bipartisan discussion on legislation issues concerning whistleblower protections. It also seeks to educate Senate offices in need of information on how to handle whistleblower disclosures or retaliation allegations.
“Whistleblowers bravely come forward, often at their own expense, to expose wrongdoing at federal agencies,” said Senator Hassan. “Their bravery helps reduce waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement at federal agencies, which helps to save taxpayer dollars and improve how the government serves the American people. I am committed to preserving the protections that allow whistleblowers to speak out without fear of reprisal.”
Alongside other members of the Whistleblower Protection Caucus, Hassan helped introduce the CFTC Fund Management Act, which was signed into law on July 6. The Act saves the successful Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Whistleblower Program from financial collapse and ensures it can continue to reward whistleblowers who expose commodities fraud.
“Whistleblowers play an important role in ensuring the accountability of our government and exposing waste, mismanagement, fraud, abuse, and illegal activity,” said Senator Collins. “As the author of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act that became law in 2012, I have worked to support whistleblowers and protect them from retribution for making legitimate disclosures of wrongdoing.”
Collins has previously been criticized by whistleblower advocates for her role in stripping federal employee whistleblower protections from the 2009 stimulus bill.
The Whistleblower Protection Caucus is led by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). On July 27, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution, introduced by caucus members, to officially recognize July 30 as National Whistleblower Appreciation Day. Both Grassley and Wyden spoke at the National Whistleblower Center’s National Whistleblower Day celebration.
“Brave citizens who shine a light on fraud, waste or misconduct in government – often at great risk to their own careers and reputations – ought to be celebrated, encouraged and defended,” said Senator Grassley. “I’m grateful to be joined in this effort by the entire Whistleblower Protection Caucus and welcome its newest members, Senators Collins and Hassan. Whistleblowers need as much support as they can get, so I’m happy to see the caucus growing its ranks.”
“Whistleblowers make the unenviable choice to stand up against powerful institutions and shine a light on waste fraud and abuse. They deserve the full support of Congress, which is why I’m so pleased to welcome Senators Hassan and Collins as the newest members of the Whistleblower Caucus,” added Senator Wyden.
There are now eighteen members of the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus. In addition to Grassley, Wyden, Collins, and Hassan, the members of the caucus are Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Maize Hirono (D-HI), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Gary Peters (D-MI), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Tom Carper (D-DE), John Boozman (R-AR), Ed Markey (D-MA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).