WI Sen. Tammy Baldwin joins bipartisan effort to extend whistleblower protections

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) announced Wednesday she is joining a bipartisan effort to introduce additional whistleblower protections. The announcement comes a day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a formal impeachment inquiry would begin following a whistleblower complain against President Donald Trump.

Baldwin is joined by Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) in introducing the Whistleblower Programs Improvement Act (WPIA). The legislation would extend whistleblower protections to more individuals who report wronging and violations of securities and commodities law, according to a press release.

“If we strengthen and empower whistleblowers, we can do a better job of holding corporate America accountable,” said Baldwin in a statement. “This bipartisan legislation seeks to extend critical protections for those who want to blow the whistle on crime, fraud and abuse so we can hold bad actors accountable and protect those who are doing the right thing.”

The WPIA would extend protection from retaliation to whistleblowers who report wrongdoing internally before or instead of reporting directly to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). This would close a gap in protection created by the Supreme Court’s decision in Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Paul Somers.

“There has long been a bipartisan consensus that if whistleblowers are being retaliated against for reporting wrongdoing, Congress has a responsibility to step in. Whistleblowers deserve to be protected. Period,” said Durbin in a statement.

The bill would also improve the speediness of monetary awards to whistleblowers whose reports result in successful enforcement actions. It would also coordinate SEC and CFTC statues to better ensure those who report these issues can pursue remedies.

More information about the WPIA can be found here.

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