[UPDATE: According to GAP's Sarah Damian, Sen. David Vitter's office on Friday confirmed that he was not the senator who placed the secret hold on the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.]
The Government Accountability Project, in coordination with National Public Radio’s “On the Media,” has identified Sen. David Vitter as one of five United States senators who is refusing to say whether he placed a secret hold on the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act on the final day of the 2010 lame duck session in December. The bill passed both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support, but one senator, using a parliamentary procedure that allows a lawmaker to place an anonymous hold on the bill, scuttled the bill’s passage. According to GAP, the bill “would have strengthened rights for federal employees who report corruption, waste, or other wrongdoing.”
A whistleblower protection and advocacy organization, GAP teamed with NPR early this year to ferret out the senator who placed the hold on WPEA. They have whittled the list down to just a handful of senators who refuse to say whether it was them. Vitter is joined on this select list by Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Jim Risch, R-Idaho and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
“We are urging supporters to ask [Sen. Vitter] why he considers whistleblower protection to be something that his constituents don’t have a right to know his position on,” says Sarah Damian, social and new media fellow at GAP.
The New York Times, in a Feb. 10 editorial, also called for identification of the culprit: “The Senate could use its own whistle-blower right now to let the taxpayers and voters know who is to blame. ...what could possibly be more patriotic, or budget-minded, than protecting government workers who have the courage and good sense to raise the alarm when taxpayers are being cheated?”
To hear an MP3 audio file or read the transcript of GAP Legal Director Tom Devine discussing the bill and its demise in an “On the Media” interview, click here.
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AUG 29 Everyone who cares about Louisiana should take time to peruse this story about coastal loss from Bob Marshall of The Lens. It's not enough to call it a story; it's an interactive experience packed with data and amazing graphics, timelines, history, photos and excellent writing. Set aside some time, because you can't go through this one in a few minutes.
JUN 29 This bizarre story from the Advocate on the shooting of a Baton Rouge television personality reads like the script of a soap opera - but not a good one. The allegations against him include sexual abuse of children, including the alleged shooter, and a sham immigration marriage involving his own daughter. The other side? He was a chaplin for the Sheriff's Office in Baton Rouge and preached in a local church.
AUG 29 Here's a story from CBS News about a killer amoeba found in the water system of St. John the Baptist Parish. The story made all three networks (CBS, ABC, NBC) as well as Fox "News," although they have not yet found out how it is Obama's fault. Seriously, the good news is that so far officials know of no one sickened by the water.
AUG 29 Huffington Post has a blog called Love Letters, which is grandly described as "an anthology of reflections on places the world over." This entry is from LSU Football Coach Les Miles, who, it appears, loves Baton Rouge. (Of course he does; he's a rich straight white man.) And certainly Baton Rouge loves him - unless he loses (ask Curley "Golden Flake" Hallman about that) or leaves (ask Nick Saban).
AUG 29 Blogger Bob Mann comments here upon Governor Bobby Jindal's federal lawsuit about Common Core. Mann calls it a "thinly veiled campaign document" and that might be the nicest thing he says in this post. Most troubling for Jindal and his aspirations, Mann has unearthed what Bobby said just a few years ago when he first decided to shove Common Core down our throats.
AUG 29 Blogger Tom Aswell has several developments here related to the so-called Edmonson amendment. The most entertaining one is possibly Tom's acknowledgement that a State Police official is (allegedly) calling the bloggers covering the story some colorful names. Listen up, cowboy: You really think two veterans like Tom Aswell and CB Forgotston care if you call them idiots?
AUG 29 Gotta love those journalists who write something with the enthusiasm that implies they're the first one to figure something out. Mostly, they're not. This is one of those times; the post on Slate Magazine says that Bobby Jindal's Common Core lawsuit is a political stunt. Well - Duh.
AUG 29 This story by WVLA tells us about a guy who got busted for speeding in Baton Rouge. Who cares? This guy took that infraction to new heights by going 129 miles per hour on Nicholson Drive. Poor fella - he probably has spent so much time sitting in Baton Rouge traffic he just had to cut lose.
AUG 28 As the controversy surrounding the Office of Group Benefits intensifies, blogger Tom Aswell gives us some background on the current problems. The OGB, which handles health insurance for current and retired state employees, is deep in the red since it was privatized by Jindal, and Aswell gives us the skinny: this great plan was designed by ALEC. The company handling it? Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana - a longtime member of ALEC.
AUG 28 Blogger CB Forgotston has a concept for a new reality show: the wives of the "Dork Dynasty." That's the name that some troopers have given to State Police Commander Mike Edmonson and his inner circle. The ladies CB has picked for his cast are not just housewives, however, and the connections here are pretty interesting.
AUG 28 Blogger Ian McGibboney is writing about the strife in Ferguson in this post, and articulating what many people down south are saying. There's a fairy tale about how there's tons of racism in the South, but it's all hunky dory up North. (Really? Look again.)
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