Whistleblower Protection Act
The U.S. has a law commonly known as the Whistleblower Protection Act.
Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 
The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a United States federal law that protects federal whistleblowers who work for the government and report agency misconduct. A federal agency violates the Whistleblower Protection Act if agency authorities take (or threaten to take) retaliatory personnel action against any employee or applicant because of disclosure of information by that employee or applicant. Whistleblowers may file complaints that they believe reasonably evidences a violation of a law, rule or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
Authorized Federal Agencies 
- The Office of Special Counsel investigates federal whistle-blower complaints. In October 2008, then-special counsel Scott Bloch resigned amid an FBI investigation into whether he obstructed justice by illegally deleting computer files following complaints that he himself had retaliated against employees who disagreed with his policies. Then-Senator Obama made a campaign vow to appoint a special counsel committed to whistle-blower rights. It was not until April 2011 that Obama administration appointee Carolyn Lerner was confirmed by the Senate.
- The Merit Systems Protection Board, a quasi-judicial agency that adjudicates whistle-blower complaints, uses appointed administrative law judges who often back the government. Since 2000, the board has ruled for whistle-blowers just three times in 56 cases decided on their merits, according to a Government Accountability Project analysis. Obama appointed a new chairperson and vice chairperson with backgrounds as federal worker advocates, but Tom Devine of GAP says, "It's likely to take years for them to turn things around."
- The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, only court empowered to hear appeals of whistle-blower cases decided by the merit board, has been criticized by Senator Grassley (R-Iowa) and others in Congress for misinterpreting whistle-blower laws and setting precedent that is hostile to claimants. Since Congress last revised the Whistle-blower Protection Act in 1994, the court has ruled for whistle-blowers in only three of 203 cases decided on their merits, GAP's analysis found. |By Peter Eisler, USA TODAY | 03/15/2010
Legal Cases 
The U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Garcetti v. Ceballos, 04-473, ruled in 2006 that government employees do not have protection from retaliation by their employers under the First Amendment of the Constitution when they speak pursuant to their official job duties. The U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) uses agency lawyers in the place of "administrative law judges” to decide federal employees’ whistleblower appeals. These lawyers, dubbed “attorney examiners,” deny 98% of whistleblower appeals; the Board and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals give great deference to their initial decisions, resulting in affirmance rates of 97% and 98%, respectively.
Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act 
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The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act was introduced in 2009 by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) to amend federal personnel law relating to whistleblower protections to provide that such protections shall apply to a disclosure of any violation of law, except for an alleged violation that is a minor, inadvertent violation that occurs during the conscientious carrying out of official duties. Senator Akaka has introduced similar bills in the 107th, 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses and every effort to pass the law has failed. Although a stronger version of the bill had been introduced and twice passed the House of Representatives (see H.R. 985 introduced in the 110th Congress and H.R. 1507 in the 111th Congress), the Senate repeatedly refused to adopt the stronger House version. During the 2008 presidential campaign, several candidates, including then-Senator Barack Obama, pledged to support the stronger House version of the bill (H.R. 985) if elected president.
In July 2009, Senator Akaka proposed a controversial amendment to S. 372 that further weakened the bill and contained several provisions that were insisted upon by the powerful federal agency managers lobby and the Obama administration. Despite campaign promises to support the stronger House bill, after the election, President Obama disappointed many when his administration actively supported the weaker Senate bill and Obama administration officials helped craft some of the controversial provisions contained in the Senate mark-up version of the bill in 2009. The Senate sponsors of S. 372 delayed presenting the controversial bill for full Senate approval until the latter stage of the lame-duck session of the 111th Congress. The Senate version of the WPEA contained only modest reforms of whistleblower rights and actually contained a few provisions that would have made it more difficult for federal employees to bring whistleblower claims. The Senate bill differed substantially from the House version and the delay tactics by the Senate sponsors of S. 372 ensured that the House was given only a take-it-or-leave-it option to take up the weak Senate bill. When the House finally considered the weaker Senate bill on the last day of the 111th Congress, the bill's sponsors needed a two-thirds vote to pass the bill on the House suspension calendar. Lacking the votes necessary to pass the weaker Senate bill, and to avoid objections raised by Republicans to the intelligence agency protections, the House sponsors of the Senate bill stripped out all protections for intelligence agency and FBI employees. The WPEA was killed in the Senate on December 22, 2010, when a senator placed an anonymous hold on the bill.
On the Media and the Government Accountability Project have organized a grassroots effort using the Internet to attempt to determine which senator placed the anonymous hold. As of March 14, 2011[update], only three senators had not denied placing the anonymous hold: Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and Jim Risch (R-ID).
The bill was reintroduced in the Senate with the protections for intelligence agency and FBI employees intact on April 6, 2011.
National Whistleblowers Center issued a statement on Re-Introduction of Whistleblower Protection Act, expressing their concerns that the Senate's new WPEA bill provides the Merit Systems Protection Board with sweeping new powers to dismiss whistleblower cases without a hearing and to act as gatekeeper for court access. 
See also 
- Whistleblower protection in United States
- False Claims Act
- Federal crime
- Immunity from prosecution
- List of whistleblowers
- Qui tam
- Telephone tapping
- Turn state's evidence
- White collar crime
- Witness intimidation
- United States Federal Witness Protection Program
- United States Marshals Service
- High Court Trims Whistleblower Rights
- McCarthy, Robert J."Blowing in the Wind: Answers for Federal Whistleblowers". William & Mary Policy Review 3:184 (2012).
- "Bill Summary & Status - 111th Congress (2009 - 2010) - S.372 - All Information - THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Library of Congress. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- "Blow the Whistle!". WNYC. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- Senate Reintroduces Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act
- National Whistleblowers Center Statement on Re-Introduction of Whistleblower Protection Act
- "Whistleblower Protection Act Information." U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. January 30, 2004. Retrieved May 3, 2007
- FAQs for filing a whistleblower appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board and Office of Special Counsel.
- OSC Form 11 for filing a whistleblower retaliation complaint.