U.S. Rep. Rod Blum of Iowa has created a new piece of potential legislation that would better protect federal employees who blow the whistle on wrongdoing within their agencies. This new bill is called the Thoroughly Investigating Retaliation Against Whistleblowers Act, and it already has a bipartisan group of co-sponsors and unanimous support from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
According to Rep. Blum, whistleblowers are absolutely critical to the Oversight Committee, as the 25 to 30 members simply do not have the time to constantly dig into every agency to look for potential wrongdoing. Whistleblowers are able to expose fraud and abuse and keep these agencies clean, but only if they have federal support and protection.
What does the bill do?
This bill reauthorizes whistleblower protections that expired in 2007 while strengthening legislation already in place by increasing the overall effectiveness of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. This office investigates — and occasionally prosecutes — whistleblower claims. This renewed legislation would be reauthorized for a five-year period.
As a result, processes in the Office of Special Counsel would be greatly improved. There would be streamlined evidence-gathering abilities within the office, a reduction of duplicate complaints and a three-year statute of limitations.
It is currently unclear when the bill will appear in front of the U.S. House of Representatives, but Blum hopes it will happen sooner rather than later. He remains positive about its chances of being passed and signed into law by President Barack Obama.
Whistleblower protection is a constantly and rapidly evolving area of law, especially since the ratification of the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010. To stay up to date with all of the protections afforded to whistleblowers in federal agencies and private institutions, consult a respected Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers.