Medical Tuesday Blog
The Whistleblower Impeachment Trap
The Whistleblower Protection Act was put into place for the stated purpose of fighting waste and mismanagement in the civil service. It’s a controversial piece of legislation, but its purpose is clear.
As a Senate report on the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act put it, “What is needed is a means to protect the Pentagon employee who discloses billions of dollars in cost overruns, the GSA employee who discloses widespread fraud, and the nuclear engineer who questions the safety of certain nuclear plants. These conscientious civil servants deserve statutory protection rather than bureaucratic harassment and intimidation.” This does not cover a partisan effort to undermine the President of the United States.
It does not mean a government employee taking issue with a president’s foreign policy.
A whistleblower exposes structural waste, mismanagement and abuse within the civil service, among government contractors and in varied ways within the private sector. This is meant to protect employees who blow the whistle on misbehavior, not to serve as cover for assorted political agendas.
In the Trump era, whistleblowing and partisan leaks to the media have been conflated by the media. Partisan government workers, some openly aligning with the “resistance” and participating in partisan groups within government agencies, have sought to undermine administration policies through leaks. These leaks were in turn meant to generate congressional investigations of cabinet officials.
The impeachment effort against President Trump takes that ongoing tactic to the ultimate extreme.
The politicization of the civil service is a deeply troubling phenomenon. Efforts by members of the civil service to undermine elected officials is a threat to our entire system of representative government.