Whistleblowers to gather on Capitol Hill

Thursday - 5/20/2010, 10:31am EDT

Tom Devine, legal director, Government Accountability Project

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

You might think that whistleblowers are protected under the law. After all, the Whistleblower Protection Act has been around since 1989 and there were statutory rights before then.

But Tom Devine, legal director for the Government Accountability Project told Federal News Radio, "it's a reality on paper and it's a horrible ugliness as far as keeping your job."

According to Devine, the Whistleblower Protection Act "in reality, it's a trap. A mechanism that efficiently rubberstamps almost any retaliation."

The problem, said Devine, is there is "no viable due process. Federal workers don't have access to court to enforce their free speech rights and have a jury trial," like corporate whistleblowers do.

In order to show support for the pending Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2009, whistleblowers and good government groups will be in Washington early next week for the 2010 National Whistleblower Assembly.

Devine promises a "real good show" for whistleblowers "as an opportunity to get together, for the public to learn about what's the point of this whole thing of taking on the government, and for members of Congress to get more grounded in the legislation they're about to pass."

Devine said the event, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, May 24th and 25th at venues across Capitol Hill will demonstrate "everybody supports it" in the hopes the Senate can get the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) out of Congress and adopted into law.