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Protecting whistleblowers is vital

By Staff | Nov 20, 2019

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley has been a tireless and unrelenting opponent of wasteful and fraudulent federal government expenditures. He recognizes that much of the money spent by assorted government agencies and programs is an aggregation of the tax dollars paid by Americans of modest means. Grassley never forgets that those people work hard to earn that money and have the right to expect it will be spent honestly and with wisdom and frugality.

That’s why the Iowa Republican has long been a champion of efforts by Congress to protect government employees who bring to the attention of authorities waste, fraud or other types of wrongdoing in government agencies and programs. Grassley regards these so-called “whistleblowers” as an essential adjunct to congressional oversight efforts.

Making sure that whistleblowers feel safe in bringing misconduct to the attention of supervisors or other specified officials is important. With that in mind, Grassley has teamed with three other senators to introduce the Whistleblower Programs Improvement Act. The goal of the WPIA is to extend whistleblower protections to more individuals who report wrongdoing and violations of securities and commodities laws. It will also guard against retaliation against whistleblowers. This bill has strong bipartisan support. Joining Grassley in asking their colleagues to back this legislation are senators Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Dick Durbin, D-Illinois.

“There’s no reason why those who want to report wrongdoing internally should face potential retaliation from the exact people they are reporting to,” Grassley said. “Internal disclosures can be the fastest and most effective way for a company to remedy problems, prevent fraud and protect investors. Our bill will ensure that those who do the right thing and report violations will be protected.”

Government employees are ideally positioned to become aware of unacceptable actions by others in positions of trust. Grassley’s determination to make sure this resource is used fully by Congress deserves praise. Whistleblowers can help make government more efficient and freer of waste and misuse of funds.

The WPIA is backed enthusiastically be a wide range of good government advocates including the National Whistleblower Center, the Project on Government Oversight and Public Citizen.

Farm News salutes Grassley’s unrelenting dedication to honesty and frugality. We are also pleased that Ernst has joined with him in promoting the WPIA. Her commitment to public service is very much in harmony with our senior senator’s approach. At a time when many Americans are cynical about politicians and distrustful of their motives, we are proud that Iowa’s senators counter this disillusionment by the examples they set.

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