Senator seeks amendment to protect whistleblowers

As sponsors of whistleblower legislation in the House and Senate try to make the case that this year's torrent of stimulus spending requires more legal protections for federal employees, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is proposing added shields for nonfederal and contract workers as well.

McCaskill introduced an amendment to the stimulus bill on Tuesday that would bolster whistleblower protection for employees of state and local governments and contractors on the receiving end of economic recovery funding.

The language of McCaskill's proposal clarifies provisions in the bill by allowing workers to file a complaint with the appropriate agency's inspector general if they believe they have faced retaliation for disclosing waste or mismanagement of stimulus funds.

Assuming the complaint is not deemed frivolous, the inspector general would have to complete an investigation of the alleged reprisal within 180 days.

At the time of publication, the measure had not been slated for a floor vote. Some good-government advocates hope it may be rolled into a package of amendments offered by the stimulus bill's managers.

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