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Now We Know Who Blocked the Whistleblower Protection Act

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 6, 2011 7:50 AM |

Let it be known that with this commentary the Sense on Cents Hall of Shame inducts Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). What have they done to deserve this “honor”? A recent release points the finger squarely at them for assaulting our prized virtues and never ending pursuit of truth, transparency, and integrity. Let’s navigate.

This past January 10th, I inquired Which U.S. Senator Blocked the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act? and wrote:

Let’s bang the drum once again to promote truth, transparency and integrity. In this rendition, let’s collectively work to expose the Congressional coward, that is the United States Senator, who blocked the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. In the process, Senator “Coward” took a stand against our prized virtues while defending the monied interests of corporate elitism.

Did you just vomit thinking that our hallowed halls upon Capitol Hill are populated with such louts? Why haven’t others on Capitol Hill raised a hue and cry? Fellow cowards? You think? Getting their bread “buttered” in the process? You think? What happened to our country? High five and major kudos once again to the Project on Government Oversight for bringing attention to this travesty. Let’s call out the cowards and demand the answer as to whom blocked this act. How so? Let’s navigate as POGO writes:

Help Identify the Senator Who Placed a Secret Hold on the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act WNYC’s On the Media and our partners at the Government Accountability Project (GAP) are spearheading an effort to identify the senator who torpedoed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) with a secret hold. As you may recall, the WPEA—the product of a twelve-year effort to secure credible protections for federal whistleblowers—failed to reach the president’s desk despite being passed unanimously in both chambers of Congress within a two-week period. So what happened? After the House passed a watered-down version of the bill that had been passed unanimously in the Senate earlier in December, one senator placed a secret hold on the bill and promptly skipped town as the sun set on the 111th Congress.

Who placed the hold on the bill? Who showed their lack of support and appreciation for truth, transparency, and integrity—the cornerstones of capitalism—while protecting the corporate interests who line their pockets? The Government Accountability Project points the ‘red hot poker’ squarely at Kyl, Sessions, and Boehner. Let’s review as GAP writes, House Republican Leadership Asked Senator to Place “Secret Hold” on Federal Whistleblower Bill:

This past weekend, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) and the NPR show On The Media (OTM) announced an end to their “Blow the Whistle” campaign, which sought to identify which U.S. Senator placed a ‘secret hold’ during the final hours of the last session of Congress, killing the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA).

The crowd-sourcing effort, which relied on citizens to contact their respective senators and report back findings, led GAP and OTM to eliminate all but two senators during the three month campaign. A shocking revelation about the ‘secret hold’ emerged during the campaign. According to GAP, based on multiple sources inside congressional offices, one of the two remaining senators killed the bill at the request of Republican leadership in the House of Representatives.

GAP Legal Director Tom Devine commented, “Whistleblowers risk their professional lives to fight government fraud, waste and abuse. How can taxpayers trust any politician who campaigns on that pledge, and then secretly kills rights for government workers who risk their careers to deliver it? House leadership owes taxpayers an explanation as to why they started sabotaging those campaign promises just weeks after the election, before they even began governing. Even more important, Speaker John Boehner owes taxpayers a commitment that this will not happen again.”

GAP and OTM are able to confirm, based primarily on information from our supporters and listeners (respectively), that all but two senators were not responsible for the hold on the bill. The final, remaining suspects are Republican Jon Kyl of Arizona, and Republican Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

Both Senate offices have steadfastly refused to identify which one formally placed the hold. But the distinction is academic. Four times now since 2004, these two senators have taken turns placing holds that blocked Senate action on the WPEA.

Late last week, GAP ruled out another senator — Republican James Risch of Idaho — based on several conversations with his office. Although Sen. Risch refuses to deny placing the hold (his policy is simply to not comment on secret holds), GAP ruled him out when learning from multiple sources that the hold was placed by Senate Republican leadership at the request of House Republican leadership.

Senator Risch’s office confirmed to GAP that the senator had no policy objections to the WPEA last Congress, nor was he working with Senate leadership on the legislation. That left Senators Kyl and Sessions, both part of the Senate leadership team. “If there’s a silver lining to this procedural loophole, it’s that the hold turned a harsh spotlight on the dismal state of federal whistleblower protections,” said GAP Legislative Campaign Coordinator Shanna Devine. “The WPEA is expected to be reintroduced in the Senate shortly, and now senators have heard directly from constituents about the importance of this legislation.”

Do you think there was even one individual within the SEC who may have wished serious whistleblower protections were in place so he/she may have blown the whistle on the Madoff fiasco? Might the same be asked of the abomination surrounding the Stanford investigation? What about issues within the mortgage industry? Is there any doubt that potentially these travesties and other examples of the Wall Street-Washington incest may have been exposed?

As for Senators Kyl, Sessions, and Speaker Boehner, what say you? “John, are you crying because you have been exposed?”

My position as a registered Independent is growing ever stronger. Where is the mainstream media to call them on the carpet? Those who love America and capitalism deserve so much better.

Larry Doyle
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I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

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