Action of the Week: Keep Government Accountable

Whistleblowers of government contractors are finally afforded the same protections as government employees.
Jan 25, 2013· 1 MIN READ
Callie Spaide is Participant Media’s Manager of Digital Advocacy and Social Impact.

You’d think that it would be illegal to retaliate against an employee of a government contractor for speaking out against corruption, waste or fraud.

Turns out, that wasn’t the case.

Freedom of speech may be protected in our Bill of Rights, but that doesn’t stop billion-dollar government contractors from firing employees who blow the whistle on them.

This week, we’re featuring a petition from the Government Accountability Project, an organization dedicated to advocating for those who protect the public from the powerful by risking their careers to do what’s right.

Their petition in December urged the inclusion of “best practice” whistleblower rights for federal government contractors in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013.

To put this problem in perspective, taxpayers fund 12 million contractor employees, six times the number of government employees. Government contracts are the single biggest source of wasted taxpayer funds, and yet the employees most likely to speak out against corruption and fraud weren’t protected under the law.

We were outraged, and so were you! More than 2,500 of you signed the petition urging Congress to protect government contractors from retaliation. They listened. On January 3, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 with whistleblower protections.

But there is still more to do: The food industry still doesn’t provide enough protection for whistleblowers.

Check back in the next two weeks for opportunities to support the Government Accountability Project.

Callie Spaide is Participant Media’s Manager of Digital Social Action. Before she was changing the world on, she helped nonprofits navigate social media and email fundraising in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.