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The music selection title for this page is appropriately titled "An American Medley"  - the music is supposed to play when the page loads, but if it doesn't, it's not YOU or your 'puter!  I am new at this "Webmaster" stuff and thank you for your patience while I 'learn'.


This page is an open invitation, a fervent hope and prayer, that those folks who work for and/or have personal knowledge of any government, corporate and/or professional wrong-doing, fraud and abuse to stand up and be counted by 'blowing the whistle' on these disgraceful and "unAMERICAN" activities, which have turned our great country into a cess pool of greed and corruption that is not the American Way anymore.

PLEASE do not stay in the rank ranks of the "won't see/don't tell"!

Please consider becoming a part of the solution to the problems our great country faces now, instead of contributing to the problem.

It's your country, too; please make a positive difference in the interests of the public.


from: http://www.whistleblower.org/article.php?did=738&scid=80

GAO REPORT VINDICATES WHISTLEBLOWER GROUP'S CHARGES OF ILLEGAL GAG ORDER



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
For Further Information Contact:
Tom Devine, 202-408-0034, ext. 124
Whistle47@whistleblower.org
Media Contact:
Jack Pannell, 202-408-0034, ext. 143
jackp@whistleblower.org



Washington, D.C. (September 8, 2004) ----The Government Accountability Project's (GAP) warning to Congress was vindicated by yesterday's Government Accountability Office (GAO) legal opinion finding that HHS imposed an unlawful gag order on Richard Foster. Former Medicare Chief Tom Scully tried to fire Foster for seeking to inform Congress of the true price tag of last year's controversial prescription drug bill. According to the GAO report, Mr. Scullyís annual salary should be repaid to the U.S. Treasury for his illegal actions.

Greg Watchman, GAPís Executive Director commented on the lesson to be learned: "Today's report should be a wake up call for Congress to stop flying blind with the taxpayers' money. Congress can prove it's serious about wanting to know, if it finds time to pass legislation restoring credible whistleblower laws for federal workers."

At the request of congressional staff on March 30, GAP had issued a legal memorandum drawing the same conclusion, echoed and confirmed today by the GAO. A coalition of 15 good government groups subsequently wrote Senate and House leaders urging votes on legislation pending for four years to restore the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 (WPA). Once the strongest free speech law in history on paper, it has been substantially weakened through a series of court decisions, and now is a trap that creates far more victims than it helps. After two hearings and leadership by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), the bipartisan legislation (S. 2628) unanimously passed the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in July of this year. But the companion House legislation (H.R. 3281) remains bottled up in the House Government Reform Committee.

GAPís Legal Director, Tom Devine, put the Medicare scandal in perspective. "Illegal secrecy enforced by threats of reprisal has become the rule, not the exception. If 2002 was the 'Year of the Whistleblower,' 2004 has been the 'Year of the Gag.'" This year alone whistleblowers were placed under criminal leaks investigation or threatened with termination because they tried to warn Congress of public safety risks from cancellation of police coverage at National Park monuments and roads in the Capitol; terrorism risks because guns are still getting through airport checkpoints; failure to upgrade security and rigged tests of defenses against terrorists at nuclear weapons plants; public health threats from inadequate mad cow testing; and public health hazards from teenage anti-depressants.

The Whistleblower Protection Act was deemed the nation's strongest good government law when it was unanimously passed in 1989, and when it was unanimously strengthened in 1994. Devine commented on the legislative showdown about to occur. "If whistleblower reform gets a vote and is not secretly killed in the back rooms, it will pass unanimously again. Hopefully, Congress will find time to restore what has been nicknamed the Taxpayer Protection Act, each time it has been voted on.Ē

###

As the nation's leading whistleblower organization, The Government Accountability Project 's mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability through advancing free speech in the workplace and ethical conduct, litigating whistleblower cases, and developing policy and legal reforms of whistleblower laws. For more information visit www.whistleblower.org


from: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A60772-2004Sep29.html?referrer=email
 
Congress Could Increase Protections for Whistle-Blowers

By Stephen Barr
Thursday, September 30, 2004; Page B02

For the first time in a decade, Congress appears ready to strengthen protections for federal employees who risk their jobs when they blow the whistle on criminal activities, gross mismanagement and dangers to public health and safety.

The House Government Reform Committee approved, on a voice vote yesterday, a bill sponsored by Rep. Todd R. Platts (R-Pa.) that would clarify congressional intent in cases where agencies take reprisals against whistle-blowers. A Senate version, sponsored by Sens. Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and others, has been approved by the Governmental Affairs Committee.

Congress tightened whistle-blower protections in 1994, but Platts and Akaka said that effort has been overtaken by loopholes and exceptions created by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which has monopoly jurisdiction over whistle-blower appeals.

"Unfortunately, we are once again largely back to where we started. Since the 1994 amendments, 75 whistle-blower cases have come before the federal circuit court. However, only one whistle-blower has prevailed," Platts said yesterday.

The court, for example, has decided that whistle-blower protections do not apply if the federal employee brings an allegation of wrongdoing to the attention of a co-worker, or discloses information in the course of ordinary job duties, or raises issues already disclosed by someone else.

In addition, the court has ruled that federal employees must come up with "irrefragable proof" in order to show the government has engaged in waste, fraud or abuse.

"This is an unheard-of legal standard, defined in the dictionary as 'impossible to refute.' In other words, the agency pretty much has to admit to waste, fraud and abuse," Platts said.

Platts's bill would replace the "irrefragable" standard with one that required "substantial evidence" in cases where whistle-blowers must rebut the presumption that the government was acting in accordance with law.

In introducing his bill yesterday, Platts described it as a compromise, but one that represented "a solid step in the right direction."

The Senate bill would provide more expansive protections to whistle-blowers.

For instance, it would allow federal employees to have their cases heard by courts other than the federal circuit, would clarify that federal employees can bring classified information to Congress, and would make it more difficult for agencies to get rid of whistle-blowers by yanking their security clearances.

Akaka would allow the Merit Systems Protection Board, which handles federal employee complaints about disciplinary actions, to review cases in which whistle-blowers lost their clearance because of retaliation. If the government acted improperly, the MSPB could call for a remedy, such as awarding back pay, legal fees or other relief to the employee who suffered reprisal.

Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), chairman of the House committee, noted yesterday that revocations of security clearances "can be fatal to an employee's career."

The House bill, however, would only authorize a study of allegations that the government improperly revokes clearances as a way to punish whistle-blowers.

Platts told Davis that he wanted to include a provision that would have extended review of whistle-blower cases to all federal circuits but did not because it might have detoured the bill into another committee, slowing final House action.

Davis said he would return to the issue of court jurisdiction if the bill's provisions "prove to be insufficient to constrain the deliberations of the federal circuit." The court, Davis said, "needs to take note of Congress's intentions in this area and follow the law."

Proponents of whistle-blower protections welcomed the House bill, but only as a step toward House and Senate negotiations to craft stronger legislation.

"The Senate committee approved a cure, and the House committee approved a Band-Aid," said Tom Devine, legal director at the Government Accountability Project. "Thank goodness for Band-Aids -- they keep the carpet from getting all bloody -- but they don't get you well."

Akaka introduced his bill in July, saying that the record of the federal circuit "sends the wrong message. How can we expect civil servants to protect and defend the United States when we permit agencies to retaliate against them for doing their job?"

E-mail: barrs@washpost.com


JUSTICE  INACTION

from:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A62855-2004Oct25.html?referrer=email

 
Justice Department Opposition Holds Up Whistle-Blower Measures

By Stephen Barr
Tuesday, October 26, 2004; Page B02

Bipartisan efforts in Congress to help protect federal employees who become whistle-blowers appear to be stalled because of opposition from the Justice Department.

Bills in the House and Senate would clarify congressional intent in cases where agencies take reprisals against federal employees who risk their jobs when they disclose waste, fraud and abuse in government.

The issue of whistle-blower rights has taken on some urgency in the past year, in part because some lawmakers worry that current statutory protections are inadequate and discourage federal employees from bringing their concerns about national defense and homeland security issues to the Congress.

The House and Senate bills, while different in some aspects, would rein in the authority of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to interpret some parts of whistle-blower law and would write into law the "anti-gag" riders that Congress includes in appropriations bills to encourage federal employees to speak up about wrongdoing in their agencies.

The Senate bill goes further than the House bill in some areas, such as providing a remedy for whistle-blowers whose security clearances are yanked in retribution for speaking up.

But because of opposition from the Justice Department, the bills have not been scheduled for floor votes, even though they have been approved by committees, congressional aides said.

In a letter to the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, William E. Moschella, assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, called the Senate bill "burdensome, unnecessary and unconstitutional."

"Rather than promote and protect genuine disclosures of matters of real public concern, it would provide a legal shield for unsatisfactory employees," Moschella wrote.

Moschella's portrayal of the bill has drawn objections from Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), a longtime advocate of federal employee rights.

Akaka, in a letter to Moschella, said the Senate bill would not encourage the filing of frivolous whistle-blower claims and would not let deadbeat workers escape discipline by assuming the guise of a whistle-blower.

The Senate bill, Akaka said, does not alter underlying requirements that whistle-blowers "must reasonably believe" that they have learned of potential wrongdoing inside the government, and the bill continues to permit federal investigators to determine whether there is enough evidence to move a case forward.

Akaka, in the letter, faulted the department for claiming that the FBI, the CIA and the National Security Agency "can discipline employees for whistle-blowing." The assertion, Akaka said, "demonstrates a bias against federal whistle-blowers."

Congress, Akaka said, has made clear its intent: "All agencies in the federal government are barred from retaliating against employees for whistle-blowing."

One of the bill's key provisions addresses a long-standing complaint that some agencies revoke security clearances as a way to punish whistle-blowers. Losing a security clearance usually ends an employee's career.

The Senate bill would allow the Merit Systems Protection Board, which rules in federal employee disciplinary cases, to review cases in which whistle-blowers lost their security clearance because of retaliation. MSPB could not restore a revoked security clearance but would be allowed to call for a remedy, such as back pay or other relief.

The House bill would authorize a study of allegations that the government improperly revokes clearances as a way to punish whistle-blowers.

The Justice Department opposes the Senate approach, Moschella wrote, because determinations related to security clearances are "a prerogative" of the executive branch and not the MSPB and courts. Agencies have internal boards for employee appeals of revoked clearances, he said.

"In any event, we are not aware of any pattern of abusing security clearance decisions to retaliate against whistle-blowers," Moschella wrote.

In addition to Akaka, sponsors of the Senate bill include Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa). The House bill's chief sponsor is Rep. Todd R. Platts (R-Pa.).


WHISTLEBLOWER INFORMATION AND KITS

from: http://www.whistleblower.org/getcat.php?cid=32

If you witness wrongdoing on your job, you must choose whether to remain silent or bear witness and speak out. As you make that monumental personal decision, you should ask yourself a series of questions before you blow the whistle:

  • Is the wrongdoing at issue substantial enough to warrant the risks of reprisal and the investment of human and financial resources to expose it?

  • Are your allegations reasonable and can they be proven?

    Can you make a difference in resolving the wrongdoing if you blow the whistle, or will you be beating your head against the bureaucratic wall?

    Once you have decided to go forward and raise your concerns, you should then act strategically so that you will be successful. See Blowing the Whistle Wisely: Twelve Strategies for more information.

    Unfortunately, whistleblowers are often targeted for retaliatory investigations, harassment, intimidation, demotion or dismissal and blacklisting. Consider how institutions respond to ethical challenges from employees.

    If you believe you are a whistleblower and would like to apply to GAP for assistance, please visit this site: https://commerce18.pair.com/gap1/contactus.html


    OTHER WHISTLEBLOWER SITES

    http://www.osc.gov/wbdisc.htm

    http://www.osha.gov/dep/oia/whistleblower/

    http://www.whistleblowers.org/

     

    The Whistleblower:
    Exposing Corporate and Government Abuse - Protecting the Public Trust

    http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/ftcr/st/


  • "There is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people more easily and frequently fall prey than that of fraud by the government." - Benjamin Franklin



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    have a great day and a clear conscience!



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