Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), has dedicated much of his career to supporting reforms that protect whistleblowers. Sen. Grassley is the Chairman of the Senate Whistleblower Caucus and has authored and co-authored many of the nation’s whistleblower protection laws.
Despite the political storm raging over whether to reveal the identity of the Intelligence Community whistleblower, Sen. Grassley continues his strong support of whistleblowers. Sen. Grassley’s courageous statement about the whistleblower speaks for every supporter of independent oversight, accountability, and whistleblower protection.
The following is the full text of Sen. Grassley’s statement:
Butler County, Iowa – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) made the following comments regarding the intelligence community whistleblower and related issues.
“This person appears to have followed the whistleblower protection laws and ought to be heard out and protected. We should always work to respect whistleblowers’ requests for confidentiality. Any further media reports on the whistleblower’s identity don’t serve the public interest—even if the conflict sells more papers or attracts clicks.
“No one should be making judgments or pronouncements without hearing from the whistleblower first and carefully following up on the facts. Uninformed speculation wielded by politicians or media commentators as a partisan weapon is counterproductive and doesn’t serve the country.
“When it comes to whether someone qualifies as a whistleblower, the distinctions being drawn between first and second-hand knowledge aren’t legal ones. It’s just not part of whistleblower protection law or any agency policy. Complaints based on second-hand information should not be rejected out of hand, but they do require additional leg work to get at the facts and evaluate the claim’s credibility.
“As I said last week, inquiries that put impeachment first and facts last don’t weigh very credibly. Folks just ought to be responsible with their words.”
Sen. Grassley’s statement met immediate praise from whistleblower advocates. “Senator Grassley is to be commended for his continued principled defense of whistleblowers. From his first days in the Senate, he stood behind the right of American’s to blow the whistle regardless of the political party. Senator Grassley is a legend in the whistleblower community, and today we can see why,” said whistleblower attorney Michael D. Kohn.
“It is time for every Member of Congress and the Executive Branch to listen carefully to what Senator Grassley has stated and follow his lead. The whistleblower’s identity must remain confidential. The right of federal employees to disclose violations of law, corruption, and abuses of authority must be fully protected,” stated leading whistleblower law expert Stephen M. Kohn.
Michael Kohn is a partner at whistleblower law firm Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto and co-founder and President of the National Whistleblower Center. Stephen is also a partner at KKC and co-founder and Chairman of the Board of the National Whistleblower Center. Both have represented whistleblowers for over 30 years.
Read more: Protecting Whistleblowers is a Bipartisan Tradition in the United States