[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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JUL 23 This post on Mashable says Louisiana is poised to be the next (and better) Hollywood. Sure, blogger Travis Andrews is talking Louisiana in general, but the focus really is on New Orleans. And that's fine, because if NOLA and Hollywood get into a ambiance/food/style/crazy contest, we like NOLA's chances.
JUL 23 Here's New York Magazine's profile of Edwin Edwards, a well-written, thoughtful (and still unvarnished) look at Louisiana's most famous felon. There's a lot of history, but author Mark Jacobson doesn't get bogged down in pedantic rehashes here. It's a really good read.
JUL 23 Tom Aswell turns over his blog to Fred Aldrich for this post, in which Aldrich offers his critique of State Police Commander Mike Edmonson's recent radio appearance. During that visit, Edmonson commented upon the 11th-hour bill that added $30K to his annual retirement income. Spoiler alert: Aldrich was not impressed.
JUL 23 Blogger CB Forgotston has more on the Edmonson retirement issue in this post. This time, he's trying to ascertain exactly who offered the 11th-hour amendment that added $30K to the State Police chief's annual retirement check. Six legislators are claiming that a Senate staffer stuck it in, CB says.
JUL 23 Choice Foundation, which owns and operates charter schools, filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing Bobby Jindal of overstepping his bounds in cancelling Common Core, the Washington Post reports here. The lawsuit (there's a link to it here) alleges that Jindal does not have the authority to remove the curriculum from Louisiana.
JUL 23 Here's an interesting perspective on the 2015 governor's race from Picayune reporter Julia O'Donoghue. She's looking at David Vitter, John Bel Edwards and Jay Dardenne. But instead of looking at their differences, she's examining their similarities.
JUL 23 Here are the first jewels unearthed from the Vault, a new database of public records that The Lens is making available. In this post, The Lens is taking a look at what municipal employees are paid over in NOLA. There's some pretty interesting stuff here.
JUL 23 Blogger Stephen Sabludowsky is attempting to clear away some of the smoke that Bobby Jindal's been blowing about our economy. The press releases and "presidential campaign claims" of Jindal notwithstanding, the outlook is not that rosy, Sabludowsky says. He's got some comment here from the head of GNO Inc. as well.
JUL 22 This is a fascinating piece in the Picayune about the murder of a doctor in her St. Charles Avenue home 50 years ago. It's fascinating because of the mysteries and myths that have swirled around the incident for those decades, and because of the possible connection to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. There are a lot of interesting names in here, including Ochsner and Marcello, and as usual the comments below the story are nearly as entertaining as the story itself.
JUL 22 The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is "a lock" to win the Sun Belt Conference in football, Fox Sports opines in this post. There's a rundown of the other teams in the conference, but ULL is predicted to win the conference, thanks in large part to an "explosive" offense. Is it football season yet?
JUL 22 Columnist Stephanie Grace says Gov. Bobby Jindal may be meeting with state education officials (hey - you mean HIS education officials, don't you, Steph?) but it is clear he's not looking for a solution in the Common Core fracas. Bobby wants an issue he can take on the road, and this one seems to be it, she says.
JUL 22 Here's a love letter from New York Daily News' Alex Palmer to Louisiana. In some ways it is the typical tourism article (with pronunciation guides and food definitions) but in another way it goes beyond that to list lesser-known spots to visit for food or tours.
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