[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?”

Read the full editorial here.

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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