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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  May 25, 2010 6:00am-7:00am EDT

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body, where retaliatory security earance revocations can be addressed. the bill extends whistleblower protection to approximately 40,000 airport baggage handlers and a tsa employee who previously had none. there is the guarantee for whistleblower protection for scientists and for others to engage in research analis or handling of technical information so that is important to the scnce community whistleblowers to be able to step forward and all of this, to kohl our host and tom devine is a giant step on the road to the promised land. now, we are not there yet. we have been working and continue to work day after day
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literally on a daily basis with bipartisan leadership in the senate, with the outstanding leaders in the house and of course with the make it safe coalition, with the advocacy groups and ith all of you, to make this bill the next step on the road to the president signing a whistleblower protection improvements statute that he can sign into law, and we are not flinching. we are redoubling our effort and very very much looking forward to working with the outstanding leadership in congress, both in the house in the senate in a bipartisan way u.s. buffer these protections for so long, with all of you on behalf of the president and the white house, thank you you were. keep it up and we look forward to working together with you in the months and the years ahead. thank you.
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[applause] >> congressman-- is our next speake but. [inaudible] there should've been time for when we started the program. thatis to introduce you to the organizers of the events from today and tomorrow. for the first time in the four years we have had this assembly,
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i am not cranky and exhausted at this point in the program and it is because they have such an effective team doing the work. i would like to start by introducing-- is becky here? rebecca jones, the conference organizer. she is probably outside stl taking registrations from people. marissa gentile is a full-time intern who has given up herself completely to organize this conference, and then also my daughter's partner and will model shana who organized this conference and was supervisor r this year's event. for better or worse we have a lot to tank of those forks for. [applause]
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i would like to also let folks know that we are going to be having l of our events moving over to their mock house starting at 12:30 today. that is where we will be having a-- in case-- that is ere we will be having our lunch and program. we are just very honored today to be able to give some recognition to a couple of members of our community who have made a tremendous difference throughout the cose ofheir professional lives. jacks that aero, whistleblower from the department of interior from the mine safety administration who not only has saved countless lives but is a catalyst for the whistleblower protection through his
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experience. we will also be honoring daniel myers, who was a whistleblower lawyer, public employs for environmental responsibility and now is the head of the inspector general program. he has probably helped more whistleblowers over the last few years. we will be honoring them during the lunchtime panel and then we are going to have some people that we have a whole lot to learn from. these are the people who have been on the frontlines of national security. i do want to make a correction.
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deprogram at 12:30 will be in the congressional auditorium here to learn your rights. the national security luncheon is going to be at 2:00. it is sponsored by federal law enforcement oganizations and it will be featuring mike german from the fbi, whistleblower from the marines. failure to provide lifesaving equipment to our troops in iraq. robert smith plane, who was fired for presenting the air marshals from canceling coverage during a red alert of hijackers. the time's person time's person of the year who is a former at the i-9 11 whistleblower. justman radek, who was put under criminal specification because she tried to uphold the rule of law and the john-- denial of rights.
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george sarris, whose criminal investigation for doing a-- a breakdown and maintenance of our cargo aircraft so it will be chaired by chris from federal law enforcement officers association. has chris made it into the auditorium? if that is not the case, i wou like to skip them to do was going to be our cleanup speaker this morning, but is here and available to give us the report. is charity wilson here to introduce? if not i would like to introduce lisa paola. lisa is the quiet staffer in the senate who has been making things happen for the last couple of years. she does 80% of the work, absorbs 95% of the criticism and
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gripes, and is the person who is steadfast commitment is the reason that we are on the verge of finally getting a whistleblower protection act passed. she is the staff director for the subcommittee of the homeland security and governmental affairs committee in the senate that is handling the legislation and she is the workhorse for senator daniel akaka who has been the spiritual leader and marathon commitment leader of the senate. solis, thanks. >> hello everyone, good morning, alow vies my boss would say. senator akaka was sorry he could not make it here, but he asked meo come and give you all an update. thanks tom and everyone else for
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inviting me here to say a few words about our progress with the whistleblor protection enhancement act. i want to thank you all for organizing this assembly to honor the commitment and the courage of whistleblowerand the need to better protect them. as tom said in his introduction, i worked for senator akaka who is the chairman of the senate federal workforce subcommittee. he has a longer game than that but i will leave that out. senator akaka's longtime advocate of suppoing strengthening the rights and protections for federal wurtzel blowers. he first introduced abe bill to improve the whistleblower act in the year 2000 he and his staff and the staffs of many other offices and many of you have spent i think literally thousands of hours working to get this done ever since. this year, last year actually now, february 2009 senator akaka reintroduced with senator
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voinovich mccaskill grassley and others the whistleblower protection enhancement act which is s. 372. the bill passed out of committee in july of 2009. we work through what we thought were the last lingering concerns with the bill and try to pass t through the senate in december. we have run into additional concerns with new protections we are trying to extend to intelligence community whistleblowers which we are trying to work through. so why does this take so long if we have been working on it for so my years? as you know the bush administration had promised to veto the bill. know we have an administration that supports whistleblower protections and has been wonderfully and constructively involved in the rocess. but in some sense it creates a lot more work when the administration is at the table you have to listen to their concerns and try to work their administration concerns so we have worked a lot with the administration on how to both
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address concerns with the bill but also move the senate bill further than it had ever gone before in the hopes of bringing it closer to the house bill and beinable to finally t us to one final piece of legislation. other senators also look a little more closely at a pill that hasn't been subject to a ve threat. of a particular this year is we for the first time have included protections for intelligence committee whistleblowers in the senate version. but in the senate, jurisdiction over-- not in the committee that deals with other human capital, federal human capital issues of at has been challenging to try to work with the intelligence committee and try to come to some understanding of the way to move forward. so like i said we have worked very hard on whistleblower protection this year. i believe we are going to get it done.
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i know it is taking a long time to be really honest to go you are probably not going to be 100% satfied with the legislation. my boss is probably not going to be 100% tisfied that all of you in all of have orked too hard not to enact legislation that would make huge strides forward. i think sometimes we in the senate sort of focus on the intelligence community aspects of the bill and we lose sight of the many really important things the bill would do that are at this point completely noncontroversial, so some of the things the bill would do is clarify the very broad scope of whistleblower protection, close loopholes created by t msp via the federal circuit, let whiseblowers access to federal district court and jury trials for the first time, suspend federal circuit court of appeals jurisdiction over wpa claims, provide whistleblower protections for tsa employees, clarify disclosing scientific
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censorship is protected, prohibit nondisclosure agreements that don't he a statement of whistleblower rights, or the enforcement of non-disclosures agreements in violation of whistleblower rights. and crte whistleblower ombudsman to help whistleblowers with the process and make various other improvements. there is no disagreement about any of those issues. we are al working to find a way to rovide whistleblower's new security clearances denied or revoked a form of review and to allow intelligence community whistleblowers to seek redre for whistleblower retaliation. one of the reasons there is such wide support for strengthening whistleblower protections is it is not just an issue of protecting the whistleblowers. it is a good government measure. if we fail to protect the whistleblower we also failed to protect the taxpayer, national health and environment or other critical interest. the strong bipartisan support we
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have worked very closely with our republican colleague on this bill and the administration so constructively engaged. connecting the strong protections for whistleblowers. with that i again want to applaud each of the whistleblowers in the room as well as the advocates who have worked so hard to protect them. thanks. [applause] >> congressman van hollen is on his way over, so we are going to skip to the next item in the program while we wait for him to
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arrive. and that will be a more detailed briefing for everyone on the whistleblower legislation. the differences between the senate and house bills at an opportunity for folks to ask questions and get a good handle on what we are all here to be fighting for. before we start this, i also want to just acknowledge that a couple of times listening to the word gap come up a few times, we are kind of worker bees in a much larger coalition tha has made it possible for this legislation to be on the verge of success and to be exponentially stronger in terms of free speech rights and anything tat a single organization could hope to achieve. i want to recognize the work not only of the project on government oversight who have been partners on this from the
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beginning but also the other cosponsors of this event from the make it safe coalition. that includes the american federation of government employees, the national treasury employees union who you have heard a few times this morning, the project on government oversight, the-- life society which is medical whistleblowers as well as individuals in law firms such as the employment groups, the truckers a justice center and jim murtagh, kind of a patriarch of medical whistleblowers. all of them at a this event possible and i want to express my appreciation to them. [applause] while we wait for representative van hollen we are going to switch to the teaching part of this program which will be the next phase of the learning
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events and we are going to start out with a comparison of the senate and how it's whistleblowers writes on national security issues. those were fbi workers, intelligence community workers and all government employees who are threatened by loss of their security clearances, a job prerequisite. >> good morning. my name is mike german and i'm with the american civil liberties union and you may have seen last week the senate intelligence committee put out a report on the intelligence failures around the attempted christmas day bombing of an airline bound for detroit, and it was very interesting to read it and to see how similar it was
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to the failures that led, that the 9/11 commission and the congress found of the attacks of 9/11. again it wasn't a failure to collect intelligence. it was a failure of management of intelligence and the failure of oversight. and i think that a key reason for that failure of oversight is that when the whistleblower protection acts were passed, the fbi, cia, nsa and other intelligence agencies were exempted from the protections so that employees of these agencies do not have the right to report when they see malfeasance or abuse or misconduct that actually a post is-- poses a risk for national security and that is why we feel it is tremendously important to include those encies within the protections so that we can better enhance our security by allowing those employees to report this abuse.
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particularly to congress, because of course when it is laid out, the problems in the chstmas event, it laid claim that the fbi, cia, nsa and the national counterterrorism center that it didn't reflect its own blame that it has helped pass these enhanced protections for national security agencies and intelligence whistleblowers. they bill in the house, h.r. 1507, passed twice already over the years. it is really the gold standard where we would like to see a national security whistleblowers protected. it basically removes the exemption and gives them the same rights that other federal employees would have. as lisa powell said in the senate we were pleased to see in e senate bill, s. 372 for the
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first time in the history of the senate that they actually included national security whistleblowers within the enhanced protections. the bill treated them a little bit differently. it created an independent award within the executive branch that would adjudicate and investigate these matters. said that whistleblowers would not have the same rights tgo out with the idea that that would somehow protect the national security secrets better and that would-- was certainly a hard fought with the administration and i greatly respect the committee for making sure that they could get as much of as they could out of that process. but, as lisa said we are in a fight down to try to retain as much of those as possible and particularly coming from, as i did the fbi, where there was an internal system that is wholly
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inadequate. i thought it is very important we make sure that we reviewed that to ensure that there actually is independent investigation and adjudication so that whistleblowers can actually get an adequate opportunity to have their cases adjudicated. the other thing is lisa mentioned is retaining security clearance prection. in the intelligence community of course you can't work without a security clearance so there is a loophole for security clearance, retaliation, that will basically be the method of retaliation from then on because that is the opportunity that these agencies have to take something away from you. you of course can't work without the security clearance so you would actually lose your job even if you wnt won on the merits that you were retaliated
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against. so, those really are the two most important aspects that we need to make sure we keep inhe bill so that we have some independence and some opportunity f whistleblowers in the national community to have their day in court. as we are waiting, i am happy to take questions about it. >> i am following up on mr. serpico's comment. you may have the feeling-- baby this group cou figure out what would be the best word and that will be one of the outcomes of the conference, that we bring all the ideas together, what a whistlebwer alternative.
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>> i don't care what anybody calls me as long as you don't call me late to supper. [laughter] you know, i would think maybe the more important thing for us to work for, you know is like in this national security argument. it is interesting to me that the intelligence cmunity and the intelligence committee keeps bringing up this idea that giving the national security agency employee rights would put the national security at risk when it is actually quite the opposite, that if we protect those eople, they can report with now the senate intelligence committee has reported as complete failure. they could have reported those before we had an incident rather than waiting until after. if we have these protections it is aually a national security enhancement and i think that is true that we have to make sure
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the public knows that whistleblowers are actually, the public servants doing exactly what they are being paid to do is to serve the public by being truth tellers. >> we are going to take an interruption in mike's recitation because representative chris van hollen has arrived and we will resume after the senator is talk to us. the executive director will be introducing him. >> it is indeed my pleasure to do just that. he is a leading member of the house of representatives, and a great friend of federal employees, of whistleblowers and and of free speech. you know, apart from being just plain corrupt or being involved in some kind of sex could paid, there really are just two ways you can leave a lasting imprint in congress.
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won one is by being effective. we will call those the mechanics and the other is by being principled, the idealist. the mechanic makes the wheels turn, but sometimes they are not so concerned about which direction, whether forward or backward, as long as the wheels are turning. the idealist has a vision of a good society, but sometimes they lacked the respect and cachet of their colleagues. and of the leadership, and therefore have a harder time moving the dial, wch is why chris van hollen and is so special, because he is both principled and he is effective, and it is why the whistleblower community, the free-speech community should be rilled that he is one of our leaders, because when, not if, when the senate reports out the whistleblower protection and enhancement act, and it goes for
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discussion with the house for a final bill, that we are confident that there will be leadership on the house side perhaps for the most effective reforms possible. a graduate of georgetown law, the kennedy school, congressman van hollen is now the assistant to house speaker nancy pelosi and is chair of the democratic congressional campaign committee. despite the extraordinary hours he spends on policy, and i understand he been making phecalls to the white house from his hospital bed on behalf of whistleblower reform, and his work nationwide traveling for the pccc, he is revered in his district is an honorable man with substance and i might add
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he is just a genuinely nice guy. i give you congssman chris van hollen. [applause] >> thank you very much mark, and i have to say i am blessed to have many constituents who are involved in the public policy aren and none who has been i think more principled in terms of his arguments inbringing important issues to the floor denmark for those of you who have not seen his cable tv show on local montgomery cable, i urge you to tune in, because it is always a discussion of substance and real policy and not thesoundbites you often get in political discourse. i want to thank mark just for not being a local leader in our
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community but also engaging in this very important battle at the national level so mark thank you very much. thank you very much. to the whole government accountability projec and tom devine and all the groups that have ce together, under an umbrella to try and make sure that we pass enhance whistleblower protection legislation, i thank you, i salute you. we are getting there. we are getting there. we are very close and it is essential that you continue to do what you have been doing for the past months and years which is to keep the pressure on, because we all know that as soon as you lighten up and take your foot off the accelerator they are, and the pressure is off, then we would not be able to continue to move this important effort forward so i want to thank all of the organizations in the make it safe coalition and everybody else who hasome together for this very important cause.
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i'm not going to go into great detail for why we need to do this. you all understand more than anybody that in order to make sure that we protect taxpayers, they we protect consers, that we in fact protect the fundamentals of democracy and how their government accountable, we need to make sure the people who come forward to tell the truth or not punish. that should be a very basic tenets tenant of what it means to be a strong democracy and to make sure our democracy works. so, that is why in the enhance whistleblower protection legislation, we have a number of provisions, number one to ensure that most civilians, certainly title v civilians in the workforce get jury trials, so they have an opportunity to have the facts heard by a jury of their peers. we think that is absolutely essential.
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and also that we will for the first time make sure that we have protections for those who are in the national security arena. there is no reason, as all of the people in this room understand, to exclude whtleblowers in the national security arena. that truth telling isust as important, sometimes more important but certainly just as important as those who come forward in the nonsecurity area, and it is important for the national security of our country that those individuals be protected when they come forward. so we are very ose i believe, and we have passed this legislation in the house, as you know. we passed it twice. most recently as an amendment to the economic recovery and reinvestment act. we thought that was very appropriate vehicle for it, because in a piece of legislation where we are investing over $750 billion of
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taxpayer dollars into the economy, we thought we should at the same time allow people who identify waste, fraud or abuse and that process to have full protection, full whistleblower protections. unfortunately that did not survive the conference on that piece of legislation or survive the final passage on that legislation but the good news is that since then the senate committee has acted and we hope the senate will move forward. we are exploring all different vehicles for trying to get this passed as soon as possible, including we are looking at the current-- excuse me, the current defensauthorizatn bill is one possibility. we hope thatill work. if it doesn't we will keep trying other alternatives as we go. i do also want to say a word about the white house. i understand norm eisen was here
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earlier and i want to think of the white house and administration for working very closely with the congress on this issue. as all of you know, our previous administrations have been very hostile toward enhancing whistleblowers protection. they have used every trick in the book to try and block this effort and obviously they have been successful in the past that blocking this effort, previo administrations. this administration is taking a very different attitude toward this effort, much more open to it, provided constructive input and i think with their help we will ensure to get something through the house that the president will sign an something that does greatly strengthen whistleblower protections. i want to thank my colleagues in the house would have been working on this as well and a bipartisan effort. bruce braley, henry waxman, somebodyho has been involved with this effort for a long
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period of time as well and as the vote showed, when we brought this up during the house action on the recery bill, there is substantial bipartisan majorities for getting this done in the issue is overcoming-- me folks who for whatever reason don't want that sunshine to lighten up what is going on in many federal agencies, whether on the national security side. so they should be a meeting where hopes are high, but there is also a very clear understanding that we haven't gotten things done yet. we have gotten as far as we have because of your efforts. now we have just got to get the ball over the finish linend if we can do that, we will have used those two things that mark spoke about, meaningful action,
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to help protect our democracy, and protect the truth tellers and we will have combined that important principle with action to actuay get something done. i do want to take one moment here at the end to thank some folks on my staff who have been very involved in this day in and day out. trapp who is here with us and can cummings who is here as well. i want to thank them. [applause] as all of you know what everything that is going on in the congress these days, everyone of us need somebody who is really focused on this day in and day out and who is tenacious together with you we are going to be tenacious in terms of getting this done. so, let's make sure that each of you leaves this gathering today
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committed to going out and making sure we call those key members of the house, key members of the senate, keeping the white house engaged so that we can by the end of this year though that those who come forward to tell the truth strengthen our democracy, hold our government aountable, receives the full protection of the law. let's get it done. thank you all very much for having me. [applause] >> thanks very much to congressman van hollen. we are going to go back to
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teaching the differences between the senate and house versions of the whistleblower protection legislation. i do want to take a break to have a few announcements, so we are well oriented and grounded and focused in order to get the most out of the conference. the first announcement is to apologize to someone that there is no excuse not to have been listed earlier. he is the tax whistleblower of the year in and because of him, his life involves-- a great irony. he is dominated by the friends of the national whistleblower center and he will be honored this afternoon at the luncheon panel. i also want folks to know that as part of your price of admission, you get a fringe benefit for coming today. we are releasing a prepublication of a new
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corporate whistleblower survival guide called committing the truth, corporate whistleblow survival guide. you can get your disk at the registraon desk and there is enough for everyone who has attended to get their own copy. finally, in announcents i want to make sure that we are all squared away for the events after we finish this tutorial and questions and answers. at 11:00 the workshop part of the program begins. air safety workshop, the faa whistleblowers alliance is in room 2305 raeburn house office building, 2203 raeburn. the project on government oversight will be leading the training workshop and i wish i could determine-- attend this. i know i have a lot to learn on how how to work effectively with the media. they will be in 2247 raeburn use building.
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one at is going to be just fascinating will be in this room, changing corporate behavior. we effectively-- this will be run by corporate responsibility, creation of cyrus marion room and gutman, lawyers who want to do more than make money. they want a lot to be making a difference. they will be discussing their strategies. at the stewart mott house which is right between the supreme court in and the senate office building at 11:00 we will be having two different workshops. the office of special counsel workshop put out by osc watch, organized by them and the medical whistleblower workshop by several-- international in conjunction with the international associatn of whistleblowers. those will both be going on at the mott house. we will come back to the congressional auditorium for the know your rights seminar.
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that is a stet law program and the laws that have been passed from 12:321:30. that is enough announcements for now. before return to questions and answers, you have heard a number of officials this morning talk about all of the benefits of the new whistleblower protection act. it is right on the verge of being passed. two different versions of this legislation, the senate version in the house version, and which one gets past and really the showdown in resolving the differences between them are going to make a tremendous difference in how many-- are in the new law. about 60% of the provisions are pretty much identical or substantially equivalent and i want to list those for you so you will know what kind of floor of reform here. of them basically overturned all
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the case law since 1994 that resolved-- a the track record against whistleblowers in the appellate court that has guided the law and will be back to her high water mark on rights on paper. restoring things such as your free-speech rights when when you are-- job duties were speaking with coworkers. a second item in both of the bills is that they both codify what is called the statute after 21 years of being an appropriations rider. it provides remedies with normal to process. it will provide compensatory damages to whistleblowers if they prevail in their retaliation defenses, something which inexplicably has never existed before. above what increases the resume classified disclosures to congress. it will give rights to the
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40,000 tsa baggage screeners who have been working on aapp will doctorate. both give excellent scientific freedorights tneutralize the sort of censorship that we had against climate change research and research against unsafe pharmaceutical drugs during the last administration. it will make sure the whistleblowers protection act rights cancel out one of the patriot acts secrecy provisions called critical information, critical infrastructure information, a new form of secrecy that no longer will be able to trump free speech rights under the wpa. in both bills will strengthen the office of special counsel's ability to seek disciplinary action against bureaucratic bullies and have some accountability for those who engage in retaliion. that is the floor, and it is actually a little bit better than this because all of the
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provisions that are different. our goal is to expand that so it is loophole free in covering the folk here that it needs to like in the bill. both bills have that. if you don't get a speedy administrative ruling, but the senate trials only allows it for major disciplinary actio which means if you transfer the bureaucratic sberia or are stripped of all your job duties are exiled from the subject area that you blew the whistle on, you don't get access to a jury. also the senate bill gives the government about a 30% head start on the independent justification also knownas pre-tax. if you go to court instead of having an administrative hearing. we think those are both unacceptable. the senate will give you access
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to the circuit court of appeals instead of just the federal circuit, which has been so hostile. but not for this significant cases. the federal circuit still keeps the monopoly on bad and that it has created almost all of the obscene precedent that it made this law a bad joke. both bills have rights against retaliatory investigations but the senate will meato have to wait until there is a further action taken against it. you can't challenge the witchhunt as is the current, so this will be irrelevant for people such as whistleblower who is under cereal investigations for 30 years, never charged with anything, never disciplinary action but as soon as one was close to the next one would be open. they are always hanging over his head, paralyzing his credibility. both othe bills will provide
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protection for it via and intelligence workers and as mike has pointed out however the due process rights are standard in the house and just a very modest advance in the senate bill. finally, one of the sues that i think may be equally significant to everything else in the legislation, the house bill gives best practice, free speech rights to all government contractors. all those who are paid by the taxpayer. the senate will doesn't have anything for government contractors. that is under the territory of a challenge we have, not just to get this bill passed that to get a bill that is a free speech law, not a c+ or b- free speech
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reform. that is sort of an overview of the legislation we are fighting for. mike if you want to come off, it is time to turn the floor over to you folks. we have got about 10 mutes for any questions that people have about this. if we have been unusually self-sufficient, then we will just let you go want to the next portion of the program. if not, we are glad to take your questions now individually as long as anyone has them. as a final announcement while we are all together, i want to introduce and recognize the work of a researcher in our community, who has uncovered the dark side of the merit systems protection law under the freedom of information act. she is putting some sunlight on the hopeless track record of people who seek justice at that
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board. some of you might want to talk to charlotte here and get access to information. if she is he, could you stand up? i am sure we will be seeing over the course of the day. that is a name for you to be following in our community and research for you to be getting. the second is to let everyone know that another member of our community has started a whistleblower archives project, to have a library of the living history in our community. and for anyone who is interested in participating in that project, see me also and we will get you in touch with don. that is it from our and. any questions from folks about the legislation or the program? yes, maam. i think there is a mic here.
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>> why is thsenate taking those positions? if they were here right now what would they say is the reason-- and then in general what has the position been all along not to pass the whistleblower protections? >> thank you. the question is, with why is the nate having so hard a time passing-- been in the house? and, just for reaching the cameras of people want to use the microphone it would be helpful. we don't think it is on the part of senatsponsors of th legislation. they are probably as frustrated as we are. the senate is the procedural
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gauntlet on probably every issue that has been facing our society and we have seen it in the newspapers on financial reform. it is much more difficult to get anything done because of the power of an individual senator to block any progress on a bill. if they put a hault legislation, it is the same procedure as overcoming a filibuster. you have to get 60 votes to overcome that and perceive. the senate intelligence committee minority staff has been very, very wary of anything which will increase the rights of intelligence or fbi whistleblowers. we think that they are wrong, but they have a very deep believe that any stronger rights for those employees could threaten national security.
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they are sincere aut it, that is the way they feel and they have the power to enact it. a major goal for this conference is to get a fire under senate leaders so that they will fight this. the second answer to your question, why isn't this happening, is that our champions have not been willing to wool up their sleeves, take off their gloves and fight for this free speech law. they are very frustrated. they are upset. they need to go and demand senate leadership, get floor time to overcome that and let the legislative process proceed. one of our goals is for all of yo, when you are making your voices heard tomorrow, to ask your senator and those who you are talking to to let senator reid no that this is a bill that needs to get done.
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and if it takes more time to get it done, then--. yes, sir. >> the question that i have is one of culture. we have seen with the psage of sarbanes-oxley, we have seen with even the financial oversight that some ofur federal institutions supposedly had over wall street, there were still meltdown. congress can pass all the laws that it would like to, and this sounds like an outstanding law, but what god should be given by federal agencies such as opm ad it would be to take this law and to begin changing culture at agencies so we don't even ha to think about seeking an attorney?
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>> that is the greatest allenge. maybe this is a good one for mike to answer because he comes from an institution, the fbi where the culture of secre is most deeply ingrained. >> you know at is going to require leadership. we wouldn't need this law if the agencies acted in good faith. just as you said, we would need protection and that is part of the problem with the fbi's internal system is that it is sort of builds on this idea that internally there will be an incentive for the whistleblower but there isn't. internally, they are subjected to the same pressures that the agents were subjected to, trying to keep the of ti's broadband fade secrecy intact and particularly in the intelligence community as we are seeing, that is really the stiffest resistance to the bills moving forward is coming from the
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intelligence community which includes the intelligence communities because of course they benefit from this culture of secrecy too. so it is a huge challenge but getting in place legal protections as the first step to overcoming that, that culture. >> do i asked the question or do you have something to answer on that one? >> bell, i didn't even hear it. we need better organization here. i hear that the russian media is here. if anyone they'd once know if i speak russian-- come on up to the microphone. we have time for a few more questions. >> just a quick question.
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will there be any retroactivity to either of those bills for events that occurred prior to its passage? >> the answer to that is no, there will not be. the law will protect you against whistleblowing that occurred before it was enacted, but you have to challenge of personnel actions after the new rights become law. one tactic goes there that we often recommend is to apply for a new position, and maybe even your old job despite the earlier loss of employment, because applicants are covered just as we as incumbents under the whistleblower protection act. our next question is from a longtime matriarch of our community. >> thank you tom. my question actually, i have two questions of both of themdel with the judiciary. first, you say that the compensatory damages will be--
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what will be the cap for that, the current 300,000-dollar cap has been there for what, 20 years? i was wondering if it would still be 300,000 for compensatory damages. the second question has to do with the practice of the judiciary to issue summary judgments that gives employment cases, the fact that most of the time notwithstanding the evidence, people who are in the employment arena have less than a 3% chance to even get to court because of the practice of summary judgment and will the law address that? >> to start with the first issue, there are caps on the compensatory damages i believe at this point, and in summary judgment, we think that they are really unprecedented favorable burdens of proof have to get past summary judgment in court, but your question is, a good cue
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to a position hidden in the senate legislation which for the first time would give the merit systems protection board the authority to block you from having an administrative hring on grounds of summary judgment. the one saving grace of the ms vb has always been you at least have a guarantee day an administrative court to get a guaranteed hearing and something that was slipped in at the last minute in the backrooms, that the longer is in the case and it is sometng we need to be fighting to challenge. ..
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on july 25th so it is a serious issue for all affiliate's and the office of the account billing. we hope that we are going to have the strength of the whistle-blower protection act to send a message from congress we do want to protect federal workers. again, thank you for the opportunity and i don't know if mike has any comments, were you, tom, why there has not been an appointment of special counsel. >> 11:00 the web shop. we are going to take two more
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questions and stay within about five minutes would be prompt for me and then we will go to that. >> with regard the bill also provides protection for security clearance eligibility. as you know the department of justice takes the view the eligibility can be revoked and it's treated as if it were a securityclearance to people who don't have security clearance. >> the question is about eligibility which is a drastic expansion of the due process for civil service rights. the obama administration is making a huge step in the right direction on thatwhich expanded
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to the security clearance at the poll. we are giving advice for how to handle this properly and we want this in the final legislation >> i wanted first to congratulate you and your staff. don has been calling me like three or four times so he must be stuck in traffic. i'm also working with him on the archive project. it's a terrific project i don't want to take up time, but if you need it to refer anyone i would be happy to. >> if you want our story to be part of the community history. thank you very much for the opening part of it. it's time to . king and strategizing we
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will see if you back here at 12: 30 for the corporate whistle-blower webshop. [applause] >> coming up this hour, congressmen gohmert talks about u.s. security. after that, then domenech, the american school domenech, the american school


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