Senate Committee OKs Whistle-Blower Protections


In a move that would be a boon to investigative journalists, the Senate Homeland Security and Govermental Affairs Committee has passed a bill to better protect government whistle-blowers.

“Congress has consistently supported the principle that federal employees should not be subject to prior restraint or punishment from disclosing wrongdoing. This should give federal workers the piece of mind that if they speak out, they will be protected,” said Senator Susan Collins (R-Me.), the bill's co-sponsor and chairman of the committee.

The legislation would:

Clarify congressional intent on the scope of protections for employees who reveal government waste, fraud and abuse.

Set up an independent review of whether an employee's security clearance had been revoked out retaliation.

Suspend the Federal circuit Court of Appeals 'monopoly' on federal employee whistleblower cases for five years.

Allow the Office of General Counsel, which is supposed to represent whistleblowers, to file amicus briefs.

No word on when it will be brought up before the full Senate, which will be up to Seantor Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who controls the calendar.