Senator Chuck Grassley is asking an Inspector General to explain a failure to implement whistleblower protection laws by not informing Justice Department employees of their rights to contact Congress and then threatening retaliation if a disclosure is made.
Grassley wrote to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz after discovering that his office still uses non-disclosure forms that do not comply with the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, which was signed into law on Nov. 27, 2012.
Grassley’s letter attached a form, executed within the last several weeks that fails to include language regarding an employee’s right to communicate with Congress, much less the full language required by the new whistleblower law. In addition, the form threatens adverse personnel action against the employee for violation of the non-disclosure agreement.
The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act codified anti-gag provisions that ensure whistleblowers know of their right to talk with Congress without being retaliated against. The provisions had previously been included in every appropriations bill from 1988 to 2013.
Grassley first wrote to the Attorney General on May 10, 2013 asking for information regarding the Justice Department’s implementation of the anti-gag provisions.
On November 22, 2013, Grassley wrote a follow-up letter to the Attorney General notifying him of the failure to respond to the May 10 letter, and also bringing to his attention evidence that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was potentially in violation of anti-gag restrictions in its appropriations bill.