House Dems introduce bill to protect Trump admin whistleblowers with NDAs

House Dems introduce bill to protect Trump admin whistleblowers with NDAs
© Greg Nash

House Democrats introduced a bill Monday to ensure White House staffers can come forward and report “wrongdoing” from inside the administration even if they are subject to a nondisclosure agreement (NDA).

Rep. Raja KrishnamoorthiSubramanian (Raja) Raja KrishnamoorthiOvernight Health Care: Oversight chair plans to call drug executives to testify on costs | Biden airs anti-'Medicare for All' video | House panel claims Juul deliberately targeted kids House panel claims Juul deliberately targeted children, teens Dem lawmaker asks Mueller if Trump administration was vulnerable to blackmail MORE (D-Ill.) filed the legislation in response to testimony last week from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump MORE's former personal attorney Michael Cohen, who said it was common practice in the Trump campaign and White House to have staffers sign NDAs. Reports have also surfaced in recent months saying signing NDAs was often a prerequisite for employment. 

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“Congress has a duty to provide oversight over this administration, and protecting whistleblowers is a crucial part of that,” Krishnamoorthi said in a statement Tuesday.

“This legislation clarifies that any non-disclosure agreements signed by White House employees do not cover actions protected by federal whistleblower law, and ensures that those in the Administration with knowledge of wrongdoing will not be afraid to speak the truth.”

House Republicans blocked similar legislation that Krishnamoorthi, who sits on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, introduced in Congress’s last session. The current House Democratic leadership has not yet signaled if they intend to hold a vote on the bill.

Krishnamoorthi focused much of his own questioning of Cohen last week on discussing NDAs that were signed by people in Trump’s orbit.

“Would you agree that in the use of these types of NDAs, with this type of language, and later when Donald Trump sought to enforce them, that he intended to prevent people from coming forward with claims of wrongdoing?” the Illinois Democrat asked.

“Yes,” Cohen replied.

Trump has repeatedly responded to embarrassing stories told by former staffers by citing NDAs they signed.