As of March 1, the Merit Systems Protection Board no longer has any members. The three-member board has been without a two-member quorum since January 2017, when one of two remaining board members' term expired. The other remaining member's term expired March 1 after having been extended for a year.
Rob "It's a big federal government agency. It spends a lot of taxpayer dollars. And so, as a general matter, I think the public has a right to know how its funds are being spent," the National Security Agency's inspector general, Rob Storch, told NPR.
A recent report from the Government Accountability Office found that the Office of Special Counsel's backlog of whistleblower and prohibited personnel practices cases almost doubled between 2011 and 2016, even though the OSC has been actively working to reduce it. The GAO notes that the OSC increased the number of employees reviewing the cases and established a unit focusing on hybrid cases involving both a whistleblower disclosure and alleged retaliation. Nevertheless, the approximately 66-percent increase in cases filed since 2011 was enough to overcome those efforts and cause the backlog to increase.
The All Circuit Review Act was signed into law on July 9 after a six-year pilot program. It gives federal employees to appeal Merit Systems Protection Board decisions to any federal appellate court of competent jurisdiction, which means any U.S. court of appeals. In the past, these decisions could only be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C.
For years, the Department of Veterans Affairs has been accused of routinely retaliating against whistleblowers. The problems prompted President Trump to issue an executive order last year creating the VA's Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection last year. Since June, the office has received over 1,000 operational complaints, according to a spokesperson.
During a recent House Armed Services subcommittee meeting, Defense Department investigators told lawmakers that complaints against senior military and defense officials have been increasing over the past several years. That said, more of these cases are being turned away as unsubstantiated and fewer officers have been found guilty of misconduct.
Are intelligence officials trying to hamper the Intelligence Community Whistleblowing and Source Protection program? Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is asking.
The newly appointed head of the Office of Special Counsel values whistleblowers and has a lot of respect for what they do and the courage it takes to do it. He's excited about a new law called the Dr. Chris Kirkpatrick Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, which increases protections for federal employees who blow the whistle on waste, fraud and abuse by government agencies. For one thing, the new law allows him to hold people responsible when they retaliate against whistleblowers.