[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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OCT 22 This entertaining short (15 minutes) film on Munchies is all about Boudin. Thank goodness it's just a documentary-style piece filled with the voices and faces of south Louisiana, as opposed to outsiders waxing poetic about our regional specialties. But be warned, there is some pretty graphic pig butchery going on here, so if you're squeamish it may not be for you.
OCT 22 A state judge threw out the lawsuit of a former employee of the LSU Alumni Association, the Advocate reports here. The employee had claimed the former director of the group gave her a job so she'd have sex with him, and after she left agreed to continue to pay her -- so she'd have sex with him. Apparently you get no points for hutzpah.
OCT 22 Education blogger Mike Deshotels writes about the retraction of the Cowen report in this post. However you slice it, the Recovery School District is still failing, he says. (But Mike, doesn't that depend on what the intention was? If no one ever meant the RSD to fix public education, it's working perfectly, isn't it?)
OCT 22 A major Jindal donor was allowed to avoid the competitive bid process in the purchase of a state office building in Monroe, blogger Tom Aswell reports in this post on Louisiana Voice. The circumstances he lays out here are pretty stinky.
OCT 22 While Govs. Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry attempt to fan the flames of Fox Newsian hysteria into viable presidential hopes with talk of building walls to keep out the Ebola, LA Times columnist Mike Hiltzik gives them some national press they probably don't want: if you want to save lives, he says, try accepting Medicaid expansion. Wups!
OCT 22 It's hard to pick out the most interesting part of this post on Mother Jones about Texas lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick (His claim that migrant workers will bring leprosy to Texas? That Connie Chung's show should be called "Slanted Eye to Eye"?) But of course we must go with the comments about our very own Duck people, and how they are the spokesmen for God.
OCT 22 Advocate owner (and rich guy) John Georges must be doing a little happy dance today. As his paper reports here, the Times Picayune is further reducing its footprint in NOLA, by laying off 100 people and moving their printing operations to Mobile. (Yes, Alabama.) Does this mean the Advocate won?
OCT 22 Baton Rouge's downtown is now starting to show significant growth, this post on DIG Baton Rouge reports. With new construction, new restaurants and new housing units popping up, the downtown area is finally starting to look like a capital city, the story says.
OCT 21 Two St. John Parish employees were indicted in connection with the amoeba found in the parish water supply, WVUE reports in this post. They are accused of lying about testing the water for proper chlorine levels, the story says, claims that were contradicted by their government vehicles' GPS records.
OCT 21 The McClatchy DC blog posts this fascinating view of Louisiana's political landscape. It's a little heavy on the cliches, and also a little heavy on the quaint Cajun/Creole shtick, but it's still good reading -- if only for the outside view of our insides.
OCT 21 Here's an interesting story from the National Journal about New Orleans almost 10 years post-Katrina. There are demographic information and charts, as well as some commentary about the corresponding changes in the way the city looks and works.
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