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Crowdsourcing points the finger at two senators for killing a popular bill.

Kyl or Sessions Killed Whistleblower Protection Law, Says Journalist

A crowdsourcing initiative spurred by the Government Accountability Project and NPR’s On the Media has narrowed to two the list of senators suspected of having killed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2010 in the last Congressional session by putting a secret “emergency hold” on it.

The bill clarified existing protections for government employees who report mismanagement, wrongdoing, or waste. Both the House and the Senate had passed it unanimously, but then certain language was taken out (actually weakening the bill). Then, reportedly at the request of the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives—where secret holds aren’t possible—either Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) or Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) killed the Act, anonymously.

All other senators have been eliminated from the reporters’ suspicion. Many have responded to constituents’ demands (that’s the crowdsourcing element) that they provide a statement denying that they were the one. Kyl and Sessions are among the senators who have not done so. Both have used secret holds in the past. Kyl is not running for re-election.

Why kill an act that was so popular among both lawmakers and the public? Pressed to speculate, On the Media‘s Brooke Gladstone suggested this morning on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show that it might have something to do with government projects in certain House lawmakers’ districts, but acknowledged that that was purely a guess.

Although the bill was killed, Gladstone suggested that even if the investigation never manages to finger one specific senator, it may have had an effect: Assuming the bill is re-introduced in the current session (or a future one), public displeasure at what happened may discourage the use of a secret hold on this issue again.

Image: SEC Whistleblower Program

About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is a Publisher and Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases.Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting at http://www.orenhope.com/ you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires.Jon also writes the blog Park Odyssey at http://parkodyssey.blogspot.com/ where he visits every park in New York City. And by night he's a part-time working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.

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