Weekend news talking heads are tripping over themselves to protect the rights of "Whistleblowers" as mandated by law. What they are not talking about is the news.
The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from retaliatory action for voluntarily disclosing information about dishonest or illegal activities occurring in a government organization.
A recent whistleblower complaint was filed in regards to a phone conversation President Trump had with the recently elected President of the Ukraine. The complaint cited numerous issues that the opposition has siezed upon as being grounds for impeachment.
The key issue of the complaint being the request for additional information on actions taken by former VP Joe Biden, to have Ukraine's head prosecutor removed from office, while investigating corruption against a company Biden's son sat on the Board of. Joe Biden was later recorded on video bragging publicly about his threat to withold millions of dollars in funds if the prosecutor was not removed. If true, this would be illegal at worst and at best highly unethical.
As Mr Biden is his biggest rival for the presidency, it opens Mr Trump up to claims he was working with a foreign power to influence the election. This is why the oppostion is asking for impeachment, since this could be considered as illegal, unless of course it is true.
The Whitehouse countered that the claims made in the complaint were false and the person making the claims had no first hand knowledge of the call or the content. This was later proven to be true, and the person filing the complaint reported on rumours he heard second hand. When the President released the transcript of the call, it supported the claim made that the "whistleblower" was acting on rumour, not first hand knowledge, as stipulated in the law protecting whisleblowers from prosecution.
Now the same law firm that represented the first whistleblower, has a second individual that supports the first claims.
What the media is not focussed on is the fact that the call has been made public. How can someone claim "whistleblower" status on information that is already public. Sure, someone can have an opinion, or express support or outrage over the content, but it no longer falls under the category of a whistleblower complaint. One can argue that had the person not come forward, we may not know the content of the call, but we should also expect that if someone is using this law to report on a criminal activity, there needs to be some truth to it.
In this case, the complaint filed cited issues that simply did not happen the way they were presented. Maybe the new "whitleblower" has additional first hand knowledge of the discussion or some other opinion we need to be aware of. Since the President authorized the release of the transcript, one would hope that the new complaint is more than merely a difference of opinion.
It is also important to note that the transcript releaased by the Whitehouse was not the full transcript. The Democrats are demanding access to the full conversation.
It is important for the public that this whistleblower law exists, so that the government can be held accountable when issues arise, but it should not be used to express opposition to policy. It's a fine line and the media needs to validate the facts before calling for the removal of an elected representative of the people.
Rumours and opinion are not news.
- Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
- Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times
- Reading Mode