February 12th, 2009
03:45 PM ET

Collins strips stim bill of whistleblower protections

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/12/stimulus/art.pelosi.gi.jpg]
Zachary Roth

Another great coup for the centrists!

Sen. Susan Collins, the Maine GOP dealmaker who's been in the limelight this week for helping to pass a watered down stimulus, has been talking a good game about the need to avoid wasting taxpayer money. But it looks like Collins also worked today to strip from the final bill a measure that's crucial to exposing that waste.

Here's what happened:

The House stimulus bill contained a provision designed to protect federal whistleblowers. Currently, those protections are shockingly weak. According to the Project On Government Oversight, whistleblowers who are fired or demoted can file a complaint with a government board - but over the last eight years, that board has ruled in favor of whistleblowers only twice in 55 cases.

More to the point, the protections were designed to encourage federal workers to point out cases where taxpayer money is subject to waste, fraud, or abuse - a legitimate concern when Congress spends $800 billion, and one that centrists and Republicans have been particularly exercised about.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Economy • Raw Politics
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Lisa in CA

    Well, Obama talked a good game. It's becoming more apparent that he just doesn't have the back-bone to walk the talk. Senator Collins ought to be ashamed of herself. But then, Washington does think we all have Money Trees growing in our backyards, just ripe for the picking whenever it's needed.

    February 12, 2009 at 7:31 pm |
  2. Stacy

    I'm getting sick of these centrists. All they've done is ensure the bill is not as good as it could have been.

    February 12, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  3. Luis

    We have no centrist left in this country

    The Democrats are the New Socialist
    The Republicans are the New Democrats.

    This country is so far left, it's unbelievable. What we fought so hard to avoid in this countrie for many years is now the thing we are becoming. It's a shame.

    February 12, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  4. Robert Wagner

    The economy is obviously in trouble and a huge amount of legal Americans are out of work. Hmmm one way to save the government money is to do away with the department of immigration. They obviously do nothing but draw paychecks, so get rid of that department. The amount of illegals that are here holding jobs that out of work tax paying Americans could do is disgusting.

    February 12, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  5. Jim,California

    Typical of politics- throw common sense out the window I've seen some stupid moves on both sides of the isle but what does she think she's doing????? Certainly not taking the lead of our President & good strong ethics I'm a REPUBLICAN & right now The President is getting extreamly high marks from me while the marks for legislators are falling faster than the stock market.

    February 12, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  6. sherry, northern Calif.

    It is easy to see and understand why the remaining Republicans did not cross the line to give their input on Stimulis bill.One take on Collins is: she must have a lot of $$ to protect and has done things we should probably know about but will never know now. How sad that when one is telling the truth to America we turn our back on them.

    February 12, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  7. Beverly Evans

    Our government is full and greed and lust for the almighty dollar and power. The average citizen works hard and is honest. We expect the same from the people we place in office. Every 4 years we try again to elected the ones that we think will be the one to make a change. We are always dissappointed. It seems that if the elected are not full of greed and power hungry they will soon be. When they step on the White House steps they changed and become one of the group! They forget about the average citizen that put them in office. THE stimulis will not provide jobs that we need. It will only make the democrates feel good that they finally got to spend money on their obligations to people that helped them get elected. It is for themselves not for the citizens of this great nation.

    February 12, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  8. Pat Canada

    Collins has been an on going road block during all the negotiations on the Stimulus Plan. Why would the Dems let her away with this? Especially given that President Obama was so adamant about transparency and ensuring strict accountability for the banks and corps?

    February 12, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  9. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    It all proves that the "foxes" don't want anyone guarding the hen house-–and as we all know---no good deed goes unpunished. The hypocrisy of politics--she should feel real good about herself.

    February 12, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  10. joey o

    Has our government become so weak willed to uphold the integrity of what government oversight should be? These people in power make laws only to protect their own hind ends in times of a screw up. The same goes for the bailout. All this is doing is keeping capitalist corporations in power over the common citizen. When this money is given to them to loan out, then essentially, they are still going to reap the benefits. I heard a comment the other day from someone on cnn daytime saying, why not give every citizen $20000 and let them do what they think is best. That idea, to me, seems better to help boost this economy rather than giving billions to corporate knuckle-heads.

    February 12, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  11. Annie Kate

    I suppose the lesson in this is that its ok to be a whistleblower on public companies, etc. but that Congress is a "hands off" zone and can waste whatever they please without fear of rebuke.

    February 12, 2009 at 4:11 pm |