Dissenters’ Digest for September 2012
Dissenters’ Digest takes a look at last month’s top stories covering whistleblowers, watchdogs, and government accountability.
National Security Creep. The month began with a setback for federal employees with a ruling by the Federal Circuit that allows agencies to designate employees’ positions as “non-critical sensitive” and thereby strip away any civil service protections.
Politicizing the Workplace. A Washington watchdog shed light on potential Hatch Act violations by FAA officials who instructed employees that voting for the GOP–and the attendant budget cuts that that would supposedly involve–might cost them their jobs.
$104 Million. UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld received a $104 million IRS award, the largest ever, for his help in bringing many tax cheats to justice. Despite his actions, Birkenfeld spent 40 months in jail. However that sentence may have been based on false information.
House Passes WPEA. The House of Representatives passed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act by unanimous consent. The Senate is due to consider the measure after the November elections. The measure passed by the House will not protect national security whistleblowers, provide jury trials, or protect whistleblowers terminated under the Bush and Obama administrations. These provisions were under serious consideration, and some of them were even passed by the Senate in May, but lack of fearless, transparent advocacy by the lead lobbyists is to blame for a bill that falls short of what’s needed. Further, efforts to raise awareness among the federal whistleblower community about the lobbyists’ questionable tactics largely fell on deaf ears, raising questions about the extent to which the liberal good government establishment has “cornered the market” by co-opting its victims and suppressing dissent.
Below the Fold:
- An ethics institute noted that whistleblower retaliation is on the rise.
- The Obama campaign bragged about its whistleblower persecutions
- A Libyan alleged waterboarding by the CIA, according to a watchdog report.
- Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is staged in an Ecuadorian embassay in London, accused President Obama of exploiting the Arab Spring.
- The Federal Circuit’s monopoly on patent issues is said to have caused it to “wreck” the patent system.
- The Office of Special Counsel found that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius violated the Hatch Act when she urged the re-election of President Obama in a speech while on official duty. Calls for her dismissal have begun.
- In September, there were 82 articles about the WPEA, as measured by Google News.