A day to honor whistleblowers

It is a rare sight these days to see members of the Democratic Party working with members of the Republican Party. While a tumultuous presidential election campaign is underway, a handful of Republicans and Democrats have found an issue on which they have some common ground: Whistleblowers.

In fact, Democratic senators Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Ron Wyden of Oregon have teamed up with his Republican counterpart from Iowa, Sen. Chuck Grassley, to propose that July 30 be formally designated as Whistleblower Appreciation Day.

“Workers who come forward to report fraud or misconduct in their agencies are frequently punished by their superiors for simply telling the truth,” said Grassley, chairman of the bipartisan Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus. He said those who have the courage to step forward and blow the whistle should be praised, not punished.

“Congress has an obligation to stand up for individuals who risk their jobs and reputations to shine a light on threats to public safety and wasted taxpayer dollars,” said Wyden.

All 14 members of the group are co-sponsoring the bill. That includes Baldwin, Grassley, Wyden, Sen. Ron Johnson (also of Wisconsin), Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas.

The resolution proposed by the caucus says we should take time out that day to thank those who stand up and report “misconduct, fraud, misdemeanors, or other crimes to the appropriate authorities.”

Wyden added that far too often, government whistleblowers face retaliation, just as they do in the private sector. Regardless, the bipartisan caucus says it “is committed to fighting for fair treatment for these brave individuals.”

Experienced, effective Milwaukee employment law attorneys can also help protect whistleblowers.

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