The Deceptive Use of Language Again
The so-called Whistleblower “Improvement” Act, H.R. 2483 does nothing to help Whistleblowers. Instead this bill would force a Whistleblower to first talk to their employer before contacting a Federal Agency for assistance. That’s like saying a battered person must first tell the batterer that they are calling them out. Not always the best thing to do considering the track record of those who abuse.
Let’s take a look at who sponsored this horrible piece of legislation which by the way has already left the gate because the Sub-Committee from which it was spawned has now passed it on to the Full Committee for both the House Financial Services Committee and the House Agriculture Committee.
The main sponsor of this bill is Rep. Michael G. Grimm (R-NY). Here is a segment of the summary from Thomas.loc.gov:
“Whistleblower Improvement Act of 2011 – Amends the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Commodity Exchange Act to require a whistleblower employee, as a prerequisite to eligibility for a whistleblower award, to: (1) first report information relating to misconduct to his or her employer before reporting it to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and (2) report such information to the SEC within 180 days after reporting it to the employer.
Prohibits a whistleblower award to any whistleblower who fails to report the relevant information to his or her employer first, unless: (1) the employer lacks either a policy prohibiting retaliation for reporting potential misconduct or an internal reporting system allowing for anonymous reporting, or (2) the SEC determines that internal reporting was not a viable option.”
Perhaps Rep. Michael Grimm and his 5 other co-sponsors of this horrible bill which has no business being labeled “Whistleblower Improvement Act” do not understand the meaning of whistleblower because this bill makes it near impossible for a real whistleblower to have any incentive to come forward to report wrongdoing.
Someone needs to give Rep. Michael Grimm (NY), Rep. John Campbell (CA), Rep. Bill Flores (TX), Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ), Rep. Donald Manzullo (IL) and Rep. Steve Stivers (OH) a dictionary. Here is the definition of whistleblower:
“Whistleblower: One who reveals wrongdoing within an organization to the public or to those in positions of authority.”
Let’s use a hypothetical example: What would have happened if a Whistleblower at Citigroup had informed Citigroup that it was possibly purposely selling junk mortgage-backed securities to its customers? Do you think Citigroup would handle that information well?
Funny thing, it just so happens that Citigroup Inc. is being sued by Loreley Financing “over nearly $1 billion worth of collateralized debt obligations purchased in 2006 and 2007. Citigroup is accused of defrauding Loreley into purchasing “fraudulent investments that are now worthless,” Loreley said in a complaint filed Tuesday in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.” See Reuters article on Huffington Post.
The sponsors of the so-called Whistleblower Improvement Act H.R. 2483 have crafted a bill that basically undermines the Whistleblower and protects the potential Wrongdoer. Now does that sound like a bill that should be passed? No. If this bill gets out of the main committees, one must ask who benefits by passage of this Orwellian sounding bill possibly named by Frank Luntz because people like the word “improvement”. The only thing this bill “improves” are the chances that those that a whistleblower might want to blow the whistle on get away with whatever they are doing.