Thursday, June 18, 2009

HR 1507 Action Alert!

----- Original Message -----
From: Dan Hanley
To: Senator Johnny Isakson ; Senator Byron Dorgan ; Rich Swayze ; Gabe Bruno ; Tom Devine ; Congressman Jerry Costello ; Senator Claire McCaskill
Cc: ALPAEMAIL, Herndon ; UAL Board ; Captain Steve Wallach ; Sarah Goldmann ; Shanna Devine ; Glenn A. Fine ; CBS 60 Minutes ; Rocci Fisch ; Mary Williams-Walsh ; Matthew Wald ; David Cay Johnston ; David Cay Johnston ; Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee ; Congressman Lynn Westmoreland ; Congressman Westmoreland ; Robert Mueller ; Attorney General Eric Holder ; Senator Daniel Akaka ; Captain John Prater ; Calvin L. Scovel ; FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt
Sent: Thursday, June 18, 2009 6:21 PM
Subject: Alert! Whistleblowing Airline Employees Association


"Patriotism and Freedom of Speech in Action"


Association members who have failed to read and respond to requests for political action concerning important issues in the past, must not be remiss in their responsibility to read the material below and take appropriate action at this critical juncture, which directly concerns the safety of the public who travel by air, including aircrew members, as well as very much needed enhancement of today's whistle blower laws.

Key members of our association are working closely with FAA Whistleblower Gabe Bruno and members of the FAA Whistleblowers Alliance, and Tom Devine, the legal director of the Government Accountability Project (GAP) office in exposing gross frailties in safety in the air transportation industry, as well as phenomenal weaknesses in current whistleblower laws on the books. There are currently twin whistleblower enhancement bills that have been introduced in the Senate and the House. The above named parties fully recognize the inherent weaknesses in the Senate bill, while strongly endorsing the provisions contained within the House bill HR 1507, the Whistleblower Enhancement Protection Act of 2009.

Anyone who has been apprised of recent safety concerns addressed in the recent hearings held by Senator Dorgan's Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security recognizes the need for the ability of airline whistle blowers to speak out unimpeded on safety issues concerning the millions who travel by commercial air, without fears of recrimination, but with afforded enhanced legal protection. As repeatedly espoused by airline management in their public proclamations, airline safety must necessarily be the foremost concern of every employee, without undue economic, legal, and political pressures exerted on employees garnering the courage to speak out.

Commercial aviation serves as the backbone of our already weakened economy. President Obama campaigned on a promise of greater openness of government. Current whistleblower laws currently do not afford such opportunities of openness. The safety of the travelling public is paramount. Aircrew members serve at the front line safety professionals to offer first-hand accounts of air safety degradations, but do not presently have in place an effective communications process, with added legal safeguards for doing so. Additionally, reports have been received from all quarters of previous whistle blower suppression, intimidation, and in some cases, recrimination.

Please do not discontinue reading this email, but continue reading to the end. As an aviation safety professional, and in light of revelations of a massive failure of check valves within the safety network at Colgan Air, including lack of government oversight, you MUST speak out on behalf of the traveling public.

Yesterday at Senator Dorgan's hearing, Mr. Scott Maurer, a representative of the families of Colgan Air 3407, was one of the four witnesses that was afforded an opportunity to provide testimony. During his recount of the pain of loss of his 30-year old daughter, there were not many dry eyes in the room, especially those of the next-of-kin in attendance. How many more such hearings will we have to endure, (perhaps with standing room only if it involves a wide-body hull loss sometime in the future), before the congress and the public realizes the inherent dangers still in existence, but have not been reported as a result of suppression of airline whistle blowers. If you do not speak out now, then the blood of the victims of the next disaster will be on your hands.

Your senators may be contacted here and your representatives may be contacted here. Please call, fax, and email them today demanding that they support House Bill HR 1507. Additionally, President Obama has launched a website Open Government Initiative. Kindly visit this website, establish a plan for inclusion of others and ask the President to support HR 1507, in consonance with his campaign promises of greater openness of government.

Below is amplifying information just received from Shanna Devine, the GAP Legislative Campaign Coordinator. Never in the history of this country, has the citizenry had to endure the secrecy of the government of past eight years. Our depressed economy is in a shambled condition, which might have been averted if protective provisions had been afforded to those who could have identified alleged criminal wrongdoing, but were suppressed. Now is the time to support our president in undoing the past. The White House switchboard and other contact information is available here, but please also become engaged by following the procedures stated below.

Please Pass This Email To All On Your Email Network And Ask Them To Do The Same...Ad Infinitum!

Make Sure Whistleblower Protection is on the White House Transparency Agenda!

Genuine federal whistleblower protection is on the verge of becoming law. Both the House and Senate held hearings in the last month on the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2009 (WPEA), documenting painful lessons learned from the gutted Whistleblower Protection Act – the only legal recourse for federal whistleblowers. The record is in our favor, and the support from Congress and the Administration for strengthening the law is at an unprecedented high. With our momentum, however, has come increased opposition from the internal power structure and federal management.

That means we can not ease up now. We are in the stretch drive of passing credible rights that would protect federal employees from retaliation when they expose abuses of power that betray the public trust. We expect the key congressional committee votes later next month, after the July 4 recess. Until then, we need to lock in credible reform by voicing our support for H.R. 1507, the House WPEA version that protects all taxpayer-funded federal employees, with rights enforced by access to jury trials.

Here’s where you come in. In response to President Obama's campaign promises to promote a more transparent and open government, the White House created an Open Government Directive, comprised of three phases for citizen participation; Brainstorm, Discuss, Draft. We called on the whistleblower community to support Federal Whistleblower Protection during the “Brainstorming” phase. Thanks to your response, it made 2nd place under “Transparency: Open Government Operations”! We need your voice again in the “Discussion” phase, to ensure that federal whistleblower protection is part of any credible dialogue on open-government. The deadline to post a comment is this Friday, June 20th. We will contact you when the "Drafting" phase begins as well.

How to Participate:

Register here and create a user name
Once you log-in, we suggest commenting on the blog entitled “Transparency: Open Government Operations.” To comment, scroll to the bottom of the page and under the option to “submit a comment,” voice your support for federal whistleblower protection.

Recruit your coworkers and friends to join us in this effort. For guidance, here is an easy-to-edit message for you to build on that captures our campaign in the endgame.

“Federal whistleblowers are our nation’s first line of defense against waste, fraud and abuse. Yet, they remain the only group within the labor force that has second class due process rights to protect them from retaliation when they make the difficult decision to blow the whistle. HR. 1507, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2009, would offer full access to court, enforced by access to jury trials, for all employees paid by the taxpayers, just as President Obama promised in his campaign. I support H.R. 1507 for these reasons, and I expect the President to deliver on his commitment to whistleblowers and the public by making this reform a cornerstone of any transparency measure until it is passed.”

Shanna Devine
Legislative Campaign Coordinator
Government Accountability Project
1612 K St NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 457-0034 ext. 132 (voice)
(202) 457-0059 (fax)

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