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House Strengthens Whistleblower Protections in Accounting; Intelligence Community Whistleblowers Need Stronger Protections Next

Statement of Shanna Devine, Worker Health and Safety Advocate, Public Citizen

Note: Late Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the PCAOB Whistleblower Protection Act of 2019 (H.R. 3625), which would establish a whistleblower program at the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) – a nonprofit corporation established by Congress to oversee the audits of public companies. The bill creates a whistleblower award program and gives whistleblowers access to the courts to challenge retaliation for making a protected disclosure.

With attention rightly focused on the intelligence community whistleblower complaint illegally being withheld from Congress, Public Citizen applauds the House for rising above partisan divisions and strengthening whistleblower protections in accounting and audits. As we learned nearly two decades ago with the collapse of Enron and Arthur Andersen, accounting scams can run our economy into the ground. After this important milestone, Congress should strengthen rights for whistleblowers in the intelligence community.

Whistleblowing crosses party lines, and robust protections are needed in every sector of our economy. Reporting wrongdoing in any venue exposes employees to potential retaliation that can destroy their career. We must defend these heroes who risk professional suicide to protect the public interest.