Tester: Save taxpayers millions by strengthening whistleblower protections

Senator’s measure protects more disclosure, shields workers from reprisal

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today pushed for stronger whistleblower protection laws as a way to save taxpayer money by cracking down on waste, fraud, and abuse by government contractors. 

Tester cosponsored the Non-Federal Employee Whistleblower Protection Act to ensure that employees of federal contractors can share information about violations of the law without fear of reprisal.  Whistleblowers are critical to saving taxpayer dollars, and whistleblower-protection measures already on the books like the False Claims Act have saved taxpayers billions.

At a Senate hearing today to investigate protection laws, Tester heard that enhancing the protections for whistleblowers will spur more workers to speak out.

“It’s very clear that much of our work couldn’t be done if we didn’t have people on the ground pointing us to issues of abuse, waste or fraud of federal funds,” Peggy Gustafson, Inspector General of the Small Business Administration, told Tester.  “The Inspector General community is far too small to be able to do that without having people who are firsthand witnesses.”

Under current law, employees of federal government contractors receive some protections.  But Tester’s bill gives current law more teeth by protecting a wider range of disclosures, expanding the number of people a whistleblower can look to for protection, and increasing the transparency of investigations.

“It’s critical that employees of federal government contractors blow the whistle on waste and fraud whenever they encounter it,” Tester said.  “And today’s testimony made it clear that employees are more likely to come forward if protections are in place that safeguard them from retribution.”

Tester has a long record of saving taxpayer money by protecting whistleblowers and cracking down on waste and fraud.  He most recently supported the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2011, which increases protections specifically for employees of federal agencies.  He also voted for strong whistleblower protections in the Recovery Act.

Tester’s bill is available online HERE.