Grassley demands DOJ explain ‘failure’ to protect whistle-blowers

Lauren Schneiderman

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) demanded that Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz explain why his office has failed to protect whistle-blowers’ rights to speak to Congress.

“Attempting to silence whistle-blowers seems to be an epidemic in the executive branch, but it’s particularly disturbing for the inspector general’s office to be in the dark on a law so close and important to its mission,” Grassley said.

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Grassley said that under the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, anti-gag provisions are suppose to ensure whistle-blowers know of their right to talk with Congress without being retaliated against. But he said the IG has been using non-disclosure agreements without that language.

“Whistle-blowers are patriotic citizens who bring to light waste, fraud and abuse that is hidden in the depths of the federal bureaucracy,” Grassley said. “That’s why it’s disturbing to learn that the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General might be requiring some whistle-blowers to sign non-disclosure agreements that fail to include information about an employee’s right to communicate with Congress.”

Grassley said most of his requests for information from the Justice Department have gone unanswered and that he wants to know why Horowitz’s office is failing to follow the law and threatening retaliation against whistle-blowers if they make disclosures to Congress.

Grassley has been a strong advocate for whistle-blower protections, saying it helps Congress serve its vital function of government oversight.