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Updates from GAP's blog:
On October 31, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced the release of a revised whistleblower protection policy and Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Although the IDB claims that its new whistleblower policy maintains â€œalignment with international best practices,â€ in reality the policy violates all best practice cornerstones, as detailed in GAP's review.
The catalyst for the new policy was the U.S. 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which was signed into law in December 2011. According to this law, the U.S. Treasury Department must certify that the IDB is making substantial progress toward implementing best practices for the protection of whistleblowers from retaliation, including best practices for legal burdens of proof, access to independent adjudicative bodies, results that eliminate the effects of retaliation, and statutes of limitation for reporting retaliation,â€ before the Congress will disburse funds to the IDB for its General Capital Increase.
Unfortunately, despite some minor advances, the revised policy does not fully meet any of these standards. According to GAP Legal Director Tom Devine, â€œthis policy cleanly flunks all relevant criteria for a lawful appropriation to the Bank. The IDB's policy also fails to adopt several recommendations made by Global Compliance, the company that the IDB hired to review its ethics system.
Key shortcomings include:
Summary: On the heels of the major Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) victory, GAP has teamed up with TakePart a digital division of Participant Media to demand essential whistleblower protections for federal contractors.
You can visit TakePart.com/whistleblower to view the videos featuring GAP's Tom Devine and sign the petition demanding whistleblower rights for federal contractors!
This campaign coincides with the American Whistleblower Tour stop at Whitman College today in Washington state.
Related Article: Tri-City Herald
Summary: More coverage of President Obama's signing of the WPEA on Tuesday. The law will improve protections for federal employees who expose government wrongdoing.
Related Articles: KHON Channel 2 (HI), The American Conservative, WCSH Portland 6, York Dispatch (PA)
The Guardian (UK): Second Postmortem on Russian Whistleblower Found Dead in Surrey
Summary: A second postmortem test has been done on a Russian whistleblower who died in the UK after having fled to escape a Russian crime syndicate. Police are now awaiting the results of toxicology tests. The whistleblower had accused Russian government officials of involvement with one of the largest tax scandals in the country's history. His death has so far been described as "unexplained."
Related Articles: Reuters, The Daily Telegraph (UK)
GAP Teams Up with TakePart to Demand Accountability!
On the heels of the largest whistleblower rights victory for federal workers in decades, the momentum for advancing an agenda of government accountability and transparency has never been stronger. And while many federal employees now have strong whistleblower protections thanks to this week's passing of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA), GAP is teaming up with TakePart "a digital division of Participant Media" to demand essential whistleblower protections be given to millions of federal contractors, who largely lack any protections.
Visit TakePart.com/Whistleblower to sign the petition demanding whistleblower rights for federal contractors!
As you know, GAP is in the middle of the 2012-13 American Whistleblower Tour: Essential Voices for Accountability, our collegiate program designed to raise awareness of whistleblower issues among university students and the public. TakePart/Participant Media â€“ which teamed up with GAP on our 2010 groundbreaking presentation on the essential role of whistleblowers Anyone Can Whistle â€“ has graciously offered to collaborate with GAP on different stops of this year's Tour.
You can watch the video featuring GAP's Tom Devine below:
President Obama Signs WPEA: Daily Whistleblower News
Associated Press: President Signs Whistleblower Bill to Protect Federal Workers Who Expose Fraud, Waste
Summary: Yesterday, President Obama signed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) into law. GAP has been fighting for these stronger whistleblower protections for the better part of 13 years. The WPEA will afford greater protections to federal workers who expose fraud, waste and abuse. For more specifics, please see GAP's press release, and the WPEA pages on our website.
Key Quote: Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project, said, â€œThis reform took 13 years to pass because it can make so much difference against fraud, waste and abuse. Government managers at all levels made pleas and repeatedly blocked the bill through procedural sabotage.â€
Related Articles: Patriot-News (PA), Mother Jones, Global Post
CNN: Bradley Manning Heads Back to Court
Summary: Yesterday, Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of giving classified information to WikiLeaks, appeared in a pre-trial hearing in Fort Meade. His lawyers argued that some of the charges against him should be dropped on the grounds that he was mistreated while in Quantico, the marine base in Virginia. If that fails, the lawyers are seeking at least a reduced sentence and to qualify his treatment at Quantico as pretrial punishment. The trial continues today and Manning is expected to testify later in the week. He faces a full court martial in February.
President Signs Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA)
After 13 Year Campaign, Federal Workers Get Long-Overdue Upgrades
(Washington, DC) â€“ The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is praising President Obama's signing of S. 743, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA), into law earlier today. The legislation provides millions of federal workers with the rights they need to report government corruption and wrongdoing safely. The bill reflects an unequivocal bipartisan consensus, having received the vote of every member in the 112th Congress, passing both the Senate and House of Representatives by unanimous consent over the past couple of months. The text of the bill can be read here.
GAP Legal Director Tom Devine commented:
"This reform took 13 years to pass because it can make so much difference against fraud, waste and abuse. Government managers at all levels made pleas and repeatedly blocked the bill through procedural sabotage. But once there were no more secret 'holds,' the WPEA passed unanimously, because no politician in a free society can openly oppose freedom of speech. Over the years, earlier versions of this law had been called the Taxpayer Protection Act. Nothing could set a better context for fiscal cliff negotiations than a unanimous, bipartisan consensus to protect those who risk their careers to protect the taxpayers. This victory reflects a consensus ranging from President Obama to Representative Darrell Issa. The mandate for this law is that the truth is the public's business."
Among other key reforms, federal employees now are protected (in addition to already-existing scenarios) from reprisal if they: are not the first person to disclose misconduct; disclose misconduct to coworkers or supervisors; disclose the consequences of a policy decision; or blow the whistle while carrying out their job duties.
Over the past 13 years, GAP has led efforts to pass the WPEA, heading a coalition of hundreds of groups demanding these protections. Intensive dialogue between the Make It Safe Coalition (MISC), which GAP coordinates, the Obama administration, and both chambers of Congress has paved the way for this development.
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