By Anne Lowe

As the lame duck session begins in Congress, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) is asking those concerned with  government integrity to sign an online petition urging lawmakers to pass a bill greatly improving federal employees' whistleblower protection.

This session will be the final chance for the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (S. 372, H.R. 1507) before the new Congress convenes next year. If the bill does not pass this year, GAP and its partners will have to begin the process again with the new Congress in 2011.

From GAP:

We can’t overstate the importance of this legislation. Countless whistleblowers continue to be the targets of retaliation, without having any credible rights to defend themselves.

These protections have been years in the making, and are truly an absolute necessity for government accountability and transparency. ??The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act would provide solid protections to all kinds of federal workers. The types of whistleblowers that would be directly affected is incredible – that is, you would already think these employees could safely tell the truth!

Just to provide a few examples of who these protections would apply to:

• FDA drug scientists who are harassed for wanting to report killer drugs

• Food safety inspectors being muzzled about unsafe practices

• Climate scientists being suppressed from reporting data

• Air Marshals exposing unsafe practices or uncovering vulnerabilities to our safety

It's clear that providing a safe method for people to tell the truth – and expose serious public safety threats before it’s too late – is essential to keeping Americans safe. Half a minute of your time could result in a safer country and more accountable government.

Please support federal whistleblowers today. Sign the petition that has been posted by the Make It Safe Coalition, which GAP spearheads.

Please take 30 seconds to sign this online petition and demand government accountability!

Please also consider calling the Obama administration and Congressional Leadership as well. Our suggested message to leadership is: “If you're serious about reducing the debt and deficit by fighting waste, fraud and abuse, complete passage of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act during the lame duck. Don't delay again on protection for those who risk their careers to defend the taxpayers.”

Obama administration: 202-456-1111

Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid: 202-224-3542

Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell: 202-224-2541

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (202) 225-0100

House Minority Leader John Boehner: 202-225-6205