NPR needs help to find the culprit who killed the WPEA

March 10, 2011 | By | 1 Reply More

The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) passed the Senate unanimously last December. It was tweaked and passed unanimously in the House, then sent back to the Senate for a final vote – where someone blocked it by the an anonymous hold, killing it on December 22.

On January 7th, NPR’s On the Media, with the Government Accountability Project, set out to find out who. Now they are down to three: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID), all of whom have declined to deny placing the hold.

WNYC and the GAP still need help to blow the whistle on who killed the WPEA. They need residents of Alabama, Arizona and Idaho to call their respective Senators and ask for confirmation or denial of responsibility for the hold, and more pointedly, ask “why they believe the public does not have a right to hold them accountable for something as basic as killing a bill.”

They suggest asking the following questions “as a way to guide the conversation”:

1) Did you place the anonymous hold on the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act?

2) What is the Senator’s policy regarding inquiries from constituents about his use of the anonymous hold?

3) When is the Senator’s “hold” the public’s business, about which the public has the right to know?

4) What determines when use of the “hold” is a “personal, private matter” that is not the public’s business?

5) Why would the Senator be publicly supportive of the bill but work to defeat it in private?

6) All but three Senators have confirmed that they did NOT use the hold to kill S. 372, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. Assuming that the senator who placed the hold is eventually identified – as they frequently are – and it is your senator, is he prepared to deal with the fallout that comes from ignoring constituent questions?

These are good questions to ask about any anonymous hold on Senate bills, not just this one.

You can read about what the Act would have done here, and if you have any information, email blowthewhistle@wnyc.org. WNYC is collecting and posting the responses.

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About the Author ()

Jim is a husband of more than 27 years, father of four home-schooled sons (26, 23, 16 and 14), engineer delighting in virtually all things technical, with more than a passing interest in history, religions, arts, most sciences (particularly physics) and skepticism.

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  1. Jim Razinha says:

    UPDATE: Jim Risch has been eliminated,leaving Sen John Kyl (R-AZ) – yes, that Sen. Kyl of the "not intended to be a factual statement" fame – and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

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