Journalism in the Public Interest

Which Senator Secretly Sabotaged the Popular Whistleblower Protection Bill?

After the lame duck session of Congress ended a few days before Christmas, watchdog groups were disappointed to learn that a bill expanding protections for government whistleblowers died in the Senate.

The bill was a product of a 12-year lobbying effort and had bipartisan support. An earlier form of it had passed the Senate unanimously, and it passed in the House after undergoing some changes. When the bill went back to the Senate for a final vote, a lone senator put an anonymous hold on the bill, effectively killing it. Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project explains how the manuever worked:

A hold is like a passive filibuster of one. It can be removed only through the same process to defeat a filibuster: 60 votes along with days of procedural hurdles that paralyze all Senate business. While theoretically the secret senator must come out after six days, that rule is no help at session's end.

Now, WNYC’s On the Media—together with the Government Accountability Project—is trying to find out who killed the bill, and they’re calling on folks to contact their Senators to ask.

The killed bill had already had some protections removed, after some House Republicans—among them, Rep. Darrell Issa, who’d previously supported the bill—had raised concerns that the bill would help WikiLeaks and enable disclosures of classified information.

Watchdog groups had argued that such concerns were unfounded. The bill strengthened protection for federal workers who report fraud and abuse through legal channels. Without such protections, whistleblowers wary of retaliation would be more likely to go to outside organizations such as WikiLeaks, Devine told On the Media.

Devine also noted that under previous administrations, whistleblower protection legislation had been defeated on the basis that the Justice Department opposed the measure. The Obama administration, however, has stated its support for the bill, eliminating one reason traditionally given by opponents.

So the question remains: Who’s the lone senator? If you’re as curious as we are, check out the crowdsourcing effort and consider sending your Senator a quick email.

Judy Brandenberg

Jan. 10, 2011, 4:28 p.m.

This is just the perfect example of why we have such a corrupt government. It’s impossible to have any faith in the political process when the legislative body can hide their bad legislation from scrutiny. It’s all about doing favors for certain favored groups or people and getting themselves re-elected. What a sad state we are in.

Judy has it right.

Well, I would send my senator an email to ask but he never responds so it would be a waste of time.  My senator is Dick Durbin.

just another idiot S.B.

Jan. 10, 2011, 6:42 p.m.

We need “absolute” protection of whistleblowers, a little more exposure of wrongdoing just might curtail some of it.  STARTING WITH THE COURTS THEMSELVES. Lies and misdealing with no fear of retribution is how we got where we are. Asserting the RULE OF LAW, the courts have totally lost sight of JUSTICE, the unwealthy, and the “targeted for silencing”, have access to the WORD ONLY. The Judiciary is for sale to the highest bidder and He who can best MANIPULATE the LAW wins. For every law there is way to get around it. JUSTICE has become a romanticized notion best left to those who haven’t tasted it’s applications. .......YET!!!!!

Consider that who ever did it, slipped in the restriction, actually did the the right thing. Now, the flood gates will be open, if for no other reason than to get back at the arrogance of the political entities that have given the middle finger to the citizens of the U.S.A.  As the saying goes, “the pen is mightier than the sword”, so too is the wikileaks.

I need a scorecard, someone pass a bill that the politicians have to wear numbers on their backs so I can tell them apart.

To bad that worthless idiot in Arizona had to go and shoot unarmed people, now DC is using a pout when they push their agendas claiming that they are acting brave in the face of danger, doing Americas business while under the gun.

This era is American politics will be recorded as having the most dysfunctional government in the history of the USA. A collection of me first, pad the bank account dummies,  that are just now starting to get prison time.

So please all you crazies out there, stop shooting the politicians and let them kill their own careers through their greed and stupidity.

Nissim Sasson

Jan. 10, 2011, 8:37 p.m.

Well i guess nothing changes, Banks, Pharmaceutics, Defense Contractors,  Telecommunications, Agricultural corporations, and Oil Companies now are safe and have all the winning hands, nobody can now tell how these and other companies are rigging the game in their favor Thanks to our politicians now nobody will be willing to say anything
Thank you senator whoever you are (i bet is republican) I hope you lose in the next election or better yet you should be impeach It will be interesting to find out how much money you have received from Corporations and Banks

elijah lovejoy, ph.d.

Jan. 10, 2011, 8:55 p.m.

the person who placed a hold is a Republican.

according to the hawaii office of Sen. Dan Akaka.

I just called, spoke with Lola, who was patient and careful.  She told me that the hold was placed by an anonymous republican.

Narrows the field.


Would the congressional record list the name. Anonymous is not an elected official, or is he/she?

I wouldn’t be surprised if it is my Democratic Senator, Dianne Feinstein. I’ll call tomorrow and report back…but I’m not hopeful of actually finding out because her office is not interested in constituent contact.

If this action occurred in December,  my calender indicates that the requisite 6 days has passed.  So who is the perpetrator?

I don’t recognize my government anymore, we’ve been sold to the highest bidder. We’ve allowed our politicians to be put on a pedistal. They should have the same social security, medical benefits & pension as the rest of us mere mortals. They should be accountable, we don’t elect anonymous politicians. When will we get angry enough to take back our country from these thugs in 3 piece suits.

nissim sasson

Jan. 14, 2011, 1:01 a.m.

Confirmed ! it is a Republican who else?
“A single Republican Senator, using the egregious parliamentary tactic of placing an anonymous ‘hold’ without having the integrity to offer a public justification, killed a major whistleblower protection bill that reform advocates have worked on for 12 years”]
would should, well, hold our government accountable. In the link Below is a table containing the names, states, and contact information for the 87 Senators still serving that could have put the anonymous hold on this bill. Clicking on a Senator’s name will take you to the contact page on their website.

In the Link :

There’re asking people to call, write, email their Senators and ask them “did you kill this bill?” However they answer, email it at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and they will post information as they receive it on their website.
Please be sure to ask for the name of the person that you spoke to. Hopefully we can blow the whistle on the Republican Senator that would refuse protections to government whistle blowers.

Go to

nissim sasson

Jan. 14, 2011, 1:10 a.m.

Tips For Tracking Down Anonymous Holds in this link:

my money is on Kit Bond who has long been a toady of big business.

And then “the media” and “our” politicians roll their collective eyes when they yammer about corruption in Afghanistan!

One person,(senator) scuppers a few million legitimate people (voters)
As an employer I have always expected the employee to be loyal to me. No loyalty, goodbye, go sabotage some other.sucker..
As a ratepayer,i expect loyalty to US.
As a TAX Payer I expect complete loyalty to US.
Surely a govt. has functions as in any business, as a plumber attends to water affairs and sewerage, as with the goct has a Water Affairs Dept,and many other divisions. Does a Plumber need a dozen senatorial parasites, carpet baggers,ticks? He wouldn’t last,, he couldn’t afford the passengers and would go broke.
As with govt, if it can’t run efficiently without bacterial direction, you hae the wrong bodies in the wrong places. Try a Clean Sweep before it’s too late?
Take the trouble to THINK! What is the function of a Lobbiest, I can’t even begin to explain in delicate terms!. . 

I wonder if it’s just a marionet,.... dancing to the strings of an ANONYMOUS CORPORATE HUMAN. ....Not that could ever happen….....especially, knowing how honest and forthright or political animals are.

This is one more reason to start a third party in this country.  We should call it the “COMMON SENSE PARTY’ and our slogan should be LET’S BRING

It’s two part platform should be



billig korsika reisen

Feb. 23, 2011, 2:12 p.m.

Region One,alternative conservative press help pick note smile white wild funny go something contact prove joint along nevertheless imply publish joint store success cause proper audience only country impossible access inside aware plan quickly that throw reference growing happen he people bus truth point recently jump business past contain state recent hour lack wrong eye urban summer construction give card like develop catch grant contract have visit faith origin empty recall that education first tour respect associate adult stick match over until remind without nor duty leave style dark himself

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