Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Tracey Mann (KS-01), Ranking Member on the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and Chris Pappas (NH-01), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, introduced bipartisan legislation that will enhance protections for whistleblowers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Whistleblower claims must be taken seriously – especially regarding issues concerning our nation’s heroes,” said Rep. Mann. “As members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, we have a duty to address problems like the lack of structure and support for whistleblowers that could hinder veterans. Our legislation will create checks and balances for offices managing whistleblower complaints – an effort that will simultaneously use taxpayer dollars more efficiently and protect whistleblowers. I appreciate Representative Pappas leading this bill with me which will result in more transparency and a higher standard of service at the VA.”
“Whistleblowers play an essential role in safeguarding the federal government against waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement,” said Rep. Pappas. “Too often though the messenger is the one who is punished, and we have seen clear proof that this has been the case for VA whistleblowers. Whistleblowers must be protected from retaliation. This is not only the law, it is also the right thing to do. I wish to thank Representative Mann for his ongoing work on this issue, and for joining me in introducing this bipartisan legislation today that will strengthen the independence and mission of VA’s whistleblower office.”
Earlier this year, Reps. Mann and Mike Bost, Ranking Member on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, introduced legislation that would require the VA’s Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection (OAWP) to refer all whistleblower allegations to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) – an independent federal investigative agency found to have higher trust in the whistleblower community than the OAWP. Today’s legislation would not only require OAWP to refer whistleblower allegations to OSC but would also require OAWP to track settlement negotiations and agreements between the VA’s Office of General Counsel and VA employees.
Click here to view the full text of the bill.