Las Vegas, Nev. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in cosponsoring the Congressional Whistleblower Protection Act, legislation that would give meaningful protections to taxpayer-funded employees who make disclosures to Congress.
“Current law does not provide congressional whistleblowers with the adequate protections they deserve. As long as individuals who share vital information with Congress continue to face threats of retaliation, our country cannot protect the American public from bad actors. Whistleblowers are critical to the proper functioning of our government, and I’ll continue working to ensure that we protect their ability to come forward without the fear of retaliation.”
This bill would give essential protections to taxpayer-funded employees who make disclosures to Congress. Specifically, this bill amends the Lloyd-LaFollette Act to provide congressional whistleblowers an administrative remedy and—if they do not receive timely administrative relief—the right to file a lawsuit in court. Although the Lloyd-LaFollette Act was implemented to establish the rights of employees to petition Congress or a Member of Congress, it did not establish a mechanism to redress violations of that right, making it an empty promise.
Furthermore, the Congressional Whistleblower Protection Act would:
- Provide an administrative remedy to all taxpayer-funded employees and applicants for employment whose right to share information with Congress has been “interfered with or denied,” by making existing administrative mechanisms available to them.
- Provide for such individuals to file a lawsuit in federal court to redress their claims if they have not received administrative relief within 210 days of seeking corrective action.
- Guarantee that an individual who files suit can have their case heard by a jury and can seek a range of relief, including lost wages and benefits; reinstatement; costs and attorney fees; compensatory damages; equitable or injunctive relief; or any other relief that the court considers appropriate.
Senator Cortez Masto has long been a staunch advocate for protecting whistleblowers. In June, the Senator introduced the Financial Compensation for CFPB Whistleblowers Act. This bill would create a program for whistleblowers that would encourage reporting of consumer fraud and abuse to the CFPB.
Additionally, Sen. Cortez Masto was an original cosponsor on the Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission Whistleblower Protection Act of 2019. This legislation would extend whistleblower rights and protections to employees of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Department of Energy.