Sunday, September 14, 2008

Zena Crenshaw


Steven G. Erickson shot above video at the Whistle Blowers' Hearing in Washington, DC
[more info]

All of the below posted from Zena's email to me:
zcrenshaw@comcast.net

Hello fellow legal and judicial system reformers:
We have a chance to join executive branch whistleblowers, our natural partners in good government advocacy, in checking years of judicial decisions that essentially favor government waste, fraud, and abuse more than the First Amendment rights of conscientious employees and independent contractors who seek to expose it.
Below, Tom Devine of the internationally accomplished Government Accountability Project (GAP) makes a compelling case for our support. If you are head of a NGO, I encourage you to help make history in the time it takes to send Tom an email.
Time is of essence. Sign on to GAP's letter of support for the Whistleblower Protection Act. Please, don't delay.
Thank you for your valuable consideration.
Michael R. McCray, Esq.

Government Accountability Project

1612 K Street · Suite 1100

Washington , DC 20006

202-408-0034 · fax: 202-408-9855

Website: www.whistleblower.org

-----------------------------------------

Dear Friends,

It has been two years since your organization signed the Paul Revere Freedom to Warn Petition. In 2006 we were on the verge of winning this free speech breakthrough by amending the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA), but it was killed in the backrooms just before congress adjourned. Rather than getting discouraged, we were determined to come back with an even stronger bill and show of support! It has passed the House and Senate, and now is the moment of truth. We are recruiting your support so there is no viable political option to kill the public's "right to know" in the back rooms again.

Congress is about to adjourn, but key Senate leaders have expressed that they will fight to get the "best practices" bill passed if we demonstrate a strong grassroots effort. We need your solidarity on this issue once more by joining the WPA sign-on letter. Currently, (nearly 200 organizations) have signed on in support of this vital good government reform. This is the largest and most diverse group of organizations ever to express support for strong free speech rights for federal employees.

So why have we worked for 20 years to improve the WPA, and why did your organization support us on our previous petition?

As a preview, when this landmark good government law earned unanimous mandates in 1978, 1989 and 1994, it became the strongest free speech law in history on paper. In practice, due to hostile judicial activism it has become a trap that perpetuates abuses of power and sustained secrecy, through rubber-stamping retaliation against nearly all those who exercise free speech rights. (The track record for final appeals since the 1994 amendments is 2-203 against whistleblowers for decisions on the merits.)

While both houses of Congress passed WPA versions by last December, Senate concerns about stronger House structural reforms (jury trials and coverage for FBI/intelligence workers) appear to have stalled progress for the end game. Since President Bush has promised to veto it, time is running out. Congress needs to promptly finish what it started and stand up for the voting public.

We hope to increase the number of organizations joining this (sign-on letter on a weekly basis). We need your help! Please send your response signing on to tomd@whistleblower.org, and include contact information so we can acknowledge receipt and send you updates.

As we successfully close the WPA campaign with this final demonstration of support, we also need your voice to successfully launch the corporate whistleblower bill campaign. As context, this Congress has already voted three times for best practice corporate whistleblower protections associated with specific circumstances, such as ground transportation employees and defense contractors, in addition to the Consumer Product Safety Commission law. There are now 37 such laws protecting various acts of corporate whistleblowing concerning violations of Federal law. However, each of these laws has its own unique procedural rules and requirements, and this causes significant confusion for whistleblowers and employers alike. HR 4047, a generic corporate whistleblower bill, would streamline these bills and seal any cracks. Help us demonstrate to Congress that we expect genuine free speech rights for corporate employees as well, by joining the Corporate Whistleblower sign-on letter in addition to the WPA sign-on letter.

In-depth research is available on the legislative page of GAP's website, www.whistleblower.org, or the Make it Safe Coalition website www.makeitsafecampaign.org. I can answer in-depth or devil's advocacy questions, and provide further material. GAP summer associates Shanna Devine and Natalie Gonzales, who can be reached at ext. 127, are available for liaison and introductory briefings. If we do not hear from you, we will be making follow-up calls within the next few days.

Thank you,

Tom Devine
Legal Director
Government Accountability Project

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