Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill wants to crack down hard on anyone who punishes a whistleblower. She introduced legislation this week that would require the Veterans Affairs Administration fire any employee found to have retaliated against a whistleblower.
The announcement of McCaskill’s bill comes the day after the VA announced a restructuring of the Office of the Medical Inspector in the wake of an investigation that found the office covered up whistleblower complaints at numerous VA facilities.
“Whistleblowers are critical to our efforts to guard against waste and misconduct in government—and in the case of the VA, against the compromise of patient care,” said McCaskill, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight “This bill requires the firing of any VA employee found to have retaliated against a whistleblower—no ifs, ands, or buts—and I’m hopeful it will be a step in the right direction to change the culture of the VA and ensure our veterans are receiving the highest level of care.”
Currently, a finding of retaliation against a whistleblower in punishable by a range of procedures, including fines and reprimand.
McCaskill, the daughter of a World War II veteran, previously called for swift action and requested additional information from the Office of Special Counsel on its investigation of whistleblower retaliation by Veterans Affairs employees. OSC is currently investigating nearly 60 cases of whistleblower retaliation at the VA. McCaskill requested the information from OSC to determine the scope of the retaliation problem and protect future whistleblowers.