Dear Senator Grassley and Senator Leahy,
Protect the FBI™, a non-partisan movement to safeguard the FBI from partisan politics, would like to publicly thank you for your long-time support of fair, transparent whistleblower legislation. In these times of intense partisanship, your work across the aisle stands out. However, as you have both publicly acknowledged, there is more to do.
You recently co-sponsored The FBI Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2016. While a robust version of this bill was unanimously passed by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, as you know, only one provision was passed by Congress and signed by the president.
Had the Grassley/Leahy version become law, most of the recommendations in a 2015 Government Accountability Office review would have been implemented. Moreover, your version was favored by the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General, other DOJ components, and numerous whistleblower advocacy groups.
Instead, the limited version of the bill signed into law omitted provisions that would have:
minimized the lengthy delays in DOJ's investigative and adjudicative process
provided relief when the Inspector General found in a whistleblower's favor, encouraging the FBI to settle such cases instead of wasting taxpayer money defending them
made DOJ decisions on cases publicly available so future whistleblowers would have access to important case precedent
ensured FBI employees have opportunities for a fair and independent hearing, including the ability to seek relief from a court of appeals
The last provision would have ensured someone outside DOJ could hold the FBI, its component agency, accountable for retaliation against a whistleblower. In other words, the DOJ and FBI, as the defendant in any whistleblowing retaliation case, would not also be the judge.
Protect the FBI™ believes the current process is too risky for FBI employees to report abuses of authority, including any attempt by an FBI manager to influence the FBI's decision-making for partisan gain.
Considering this, we ask you to once again take up the cause of whistleblowers by amending the 2016 act to include the remaining provisions.
Protect the FBI™