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Sun Apr 14, 2013, 03:24 PM

The Obama administration's legal battle against whistleblowers, federal unions.

Last edited Sun Apr 14, 2013, 05:04 PM - Edit history (1)

Obama administration divides over whistleblowers
http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/obama-administration-whistleblowers-transparency-90025.html


This is an assault on unions, and on the employee civil protections of hundreds of thousands of federal workers. And the implications of this particular assault are *especially* chilling, because we're talking about stripping worker protections from those who are closest to what is going on in the halls of our government.

So much for being able to speak out when malfeasance is observed.

This is likely headed to the Supreme Court.



Obama administration divides over whistleblowers
Reuters
By JOSH GERSTEIN | 4/13/13 4:34 PM EDT Updated: 4/13/13 5:19 PM EDT

It’s a battle that pits President Barack Obama against whistleblower advocates, against some of the largest federal employee unions, and against a bipartisan contingent in Congress.
....
The Justice Department and Defense Department are arguing that federal employees like commissary managers and accountants, who don’t have access to classified information, can be demoted or effectively fired without recourse to the usual avenues of appeal if their jobs are designated as “sensitive.” The ripple effect of that — critics say it would effectively strip huge numbers of federal workers of civil service protections by treating them like those who have access to the nation’s most vital secrets — could hollow out legal protections that have allowed whistleblowers to speak out with less fear of being fired.
....
Whistleblower advocates, including some in Congress, contend that allowing agencies greater latitude to reassign or even dismiss workers in “sensitive” positions will open another way for employees to retaliate against those who report fraud, waste or abuse of power.
....Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, agreed: “Providing agencies with complete discretion to strip federal workers of whistleblower and other civil service protections would undermine Congressional intent and would be patently unjust,” Cummings said.

It’s unclear how many workers are potentially affected by the dispute, but some lawyers involved believe the number is in the hundreds of thousands....Critics say that if typical accounting and stockroom jobs are deemed “sensitive” because of their potential impact on national security, almost any job at any agency could be designated as such and any supervisor or agency could elude normal civil service protections by ginning up a concern about a worker’s background.

“The Obama Administration is seeking a blank check to expand this throughout the executive branch,” Devine said. If the administration’s approach prevails, he said, “any job that matters in the civil service will be outside the rule of law.”
....

37 replies, 2196 views

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Arrow 37 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Obama administration's legal battle against whistleblowers, federal unions. (Original post)
woo me with science Apr 2013 OP
treestar Apr 2013 #1
rhett o rick Apr 2013 #28
xiamiam Apr 2013 #31
Tierra_y_Libertad Apr 2013 #2
woo me with science Apr 2013 #6
ProSense Apr 2013 #3
woo me with science Apr 2013 #4
ProSense Apr 2013 #5
ProSense Apr 2013 #8
woo me with science Apr 2013 #11
ProSense Apr 2013 #13
woo me with science Apr 2013 #15
ProSense Apr 2013 #16
woo me with science Apr 2013 #18
ProSense Apr 2013 #20
woo me with science Apr 2013 #29
patrice Apr 2013 #7
forestpath Apr 2013 #9
AnotherMcIntosh Apr 2013 #10
WillyT Apr 2013 #12
bvar22 Apr 2013 #22
byeya Apr 2013 #14
woo me with science Apr 2013 #17
byeya Apr 2013 #19
jsr Apr 2013 #21
byeya Apr 2013 #24
woo me with science Apr 2013 #26
fredzachmane Apr 2013 #23
woo me with science Apr 2013 #25
1-Old-Man Apr 2013 #34
graham4anything Apr 2013 #27
treestar Apr 2013 #30
woo me with science Apr 2013 #33
hay rick Apr 2013 #32
nashville_brook Apr 2013 #35
woo me with science Apr 2013 #36
woo me with science Apr 2013 #37

Response to woo me with science (Original post)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 03:26 PM

1. Still trying hard eh?

At least you are onto a new subject.

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Response to treestar (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 05:56 PM

28. You have nothing to add to the discussion but snark? nm

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Response to treestar (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 07:34 PM

31. do you really think it is better to not discuss these issues and just pretend its all okie dokie?

don't bother to answer...

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Response to woo me with science (Original post)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 03:31 PM

2. Ain't "Transparency in Government" just a super campaign slogan though?

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #2)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 03:42 PM

6. Transparency schmansparency.

To the Supreme Court, again. On the wrong side of a chilling civil rights issue, again.

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Response to woo me with science (Original post)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 03:34 PM

3. Interesting piece.

“This is an administration at war with itself. It’s Obama versus Obama,” said Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project.

<...>

“On the one side, you have the Department of Defense, and the Office of Personnel Management trying to functionally cancel the civil service system. And on the other side you have President Obama’s Merit Systems Protection Board and the Office of Special Counsel, defending the integrity of it,” Devine added.

<...>

A Supreme Court showdown “is a distinct possibility,” said Angela Canterbury of the Project on Government Oversight. “That would certainly raise the attention level.”

Thanks for posting.



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Response to ProSense (Reply #3)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 03:38 PM

4. The administration took one side only for the legal fight.

They are fighting AGAINST transparency and unions.

“We hope the administration will scale back the scope of its threat to the merit system and shrink the issues, but we’re not holding our breath,” said Devine.

A softening of position would be welcomed by labor unions representing federal employees and by whistleblower advocates, all of whom already have major bones to pick with Obama. Federal workers’ unions are fighting mad about cuts Obama’s budget includes to retirement and health benefits. Backers of whistleblowers are steamed about a series of prosecutions the feds have brought against federal workers accused of leaking classified information.

If Obama loses at the Federal Circuit, he will face pressure from the Pentagon and intelligence agencies to appeal to the Supreme Court — dramatically escalating what has so far been a low-profile fight with labor unions that backed his re-election and with advocates for causes he says he supports.


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Response to woo me with science (Reply #4)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 03:40 PM

5. Yes, interesting piece. Thanks for posting. n/t

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #4)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 03:49 PM

8. FYI: President Obama’s Merit Systems Protection Board

President Obama’s Merit Systems Protection Board

http://www.mspb.gov/About/members.htm

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Response to ProSense (Reply #8)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 04:13 PM

11. In this legal battle, the administration is fighting on the side *against* the unions.

Did you miss that in the article?

No, you are simply trying to obscure it.

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #11)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 04:16 PM

13. No, but

"In this legal battle, the administration is fighting on the side *against* the unions. Did you miss that in the article? "

...clearly you did. From the OP link.

“This is an administration at war with itself. It’s Obama versus Obama,” said Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project.

<...>

“On the one side, you have the Department of Defense, and the Office of Personnel Management trying to functionally cancel the civil service system. And on the other side you have President Obama’s Merit Systems Protection Board and the Office of Special Counsel, defending the integrity of it,” Devine added.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=2672534

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Response to ProSense (Reply #13)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 04:22 PM

15. "If Obama loses at the Federal Circuit,"

he will face pressure from the Pentagon and intelligence agencies to appeal to the Supreme Court — dramatically escalating what has so far been a low-profile fight with labor unions that backed his re-election and with advocates for causes he says he supports.


Why is Obama fighting to strip civil protections from federal workers?

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #15)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 04:24 PM

16. “This is an administration at war with itself. It’s Obama versus Obama"

Internal struggle?

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Response to ProSense (Reply #16)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 04:29 PM

18. You didn't answer my question.

Why is Obama fighting a legal battle to strip civil protections from federal workers?

Why would a Democratic President even consider doing this?

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #18)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 04:47 PM

20. Yes, I did

"Why is Obama fighting a legal battle to strip civil protections from federal workers? "

It's an internal struggle: “This is an administration at war with itself. It’s Obama versus Obama"

Did you miss that part?

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Response to ProSense (Reply #20)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 06:03 PM

29. No, you didn't answer my question.

Why would Obama, the President, wage a lawsuit to strip civil protections from hundreds of thousands of federal workers?

How on earth does a Democratic President justify participating in something like this?

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Response to woo me with science (Original post)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 03:49 PM

7. It is possible that people are defeating their own good objectives by not working coherent

objectives. The value that they may have to offer could be maximized by a little organization.

Certainly, under adverse political coercion from ALL directions, this administration has proven at least some willingness to expose corruption. It's so very interesting that the value of that is held FALSELY at 0, while we will hear the same old propaganda from the same sources who refuse to engage publicly in anything like the kind of reality testing and self critique that ALL of us NEED.

Regarding whistleblowing: Consider the model established by "industrial espionage", but within an extremely fluid political/financial context.

I'll bet you don't actually do that, because your status here prevents that risk: Maybe nothing ever changes in academe, so organizational sterility obviates certain kinds of perceptions. There are none so blind as those who not only refuse to hypothesize anything authentically new, but also refuse to see anything but the SAME obsolete thing.

Meet the "new" *B*O*S*S* exactly the same as the *O*L*D* obsolete boss.

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Response to woo me with science (Original post)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 03:51 PM

9. PBO never tires of going after those who cannot fight back.

 

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Response to woo me with science (Original post)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 04:09 PM

10. K&R

 

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Response to woo me with science (Original post)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 04:14 PM

12. K & R !!! - NOT... The Change We Were Hoping For... Nor The Change We Were Promised...

So now... in effect... this administration is going after unions.






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Response to WillyT (Reply #12)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 05:12 PM

22. Despite the Lip Service during campaigns,

this Administration and the Party Leadership has been hostile to Organized LABOR
from the start.
They were forced to show their true colors in the Arkansas Primary of 2010
where the grass roots and Organized LABOR were working the give President Obama the gift he had requested, a Progressive Congress that would work with him.

We were working to replace virulently Anti-LABOR Blanche Lincoln (Senator from WalMart
and the Wicked Witch who killed the Public Option and bragged about it)
with a popular Pro-LABOR Democrat, and we were winning too,
UNTIL,
the White House & Bill Clinton stepped in to rescue the failing campaign of the Anti-LABOR Lincoln,
who had absolutely NO CHANCE of winning in the General Election against the Republican.

White House Rescue of Lincoln's Failing Democratic Primary Campaign
http://www.salon.com/2010/06/10/lincoln_6/


The White House and Bill Clinton gave Orgnized LABOR a beat down in Arkansas,
and then added insult to injury with taunts and ridicule.
Talk about tone deaf!

Ed Schultz on the White House insults to LABOR after the Arkansas Democratic Primary
http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/heather/ed-schultz-if-it-wasnt-labor-barack-obama-

One thing about us Union Thugs:
We may take an Ass Whooping from time to time,
but we NEVER forget a Sucker Punch.


You will know them by their WORKS,
not by their excuses.
Solidarity99!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------







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Response to woo me with science (Original post)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 04:19 PM

14. My experience with federal "sensitive" positions and the varying grades security clearances is

 

that most of it is precisely to avoid departmental guidelines for disciplining an employee and go right from first infraction to termination sidestepping the safeguards built in to Civil Service law and the steps for repeated infractions. It's anti-worker on its face.

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Response to byeya (Reply #14)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 04:26 PM

17. Exactly. It's an assault on unions, but

with particularly chilling implications here, because we are talking about stripping worker protections from those who are closest to what is going on in the halls of our government.

So much for being able to speak out when malfeasance is observed.

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Response to woo me with science (Original post)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 04:31 PM

19. Security clearances and law enforcement commissions are generally held to be the sole

 

province of management and if you lose one or the other, you lose your job. No appeal; no due process; no union negotiated grievance procedure - it's been a losing struggle so far.

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Response to byeya (Reply #19)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 05:11 PM

21. That bears worth repeating.

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Response to jsr (Reply #21)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 05:20 PM

24. Thanks. It's tough to help fellow workers who find themselves in this position.

 

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Response to byeya (Reply #19)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 05:27 PM

26. +1

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Response to woo me with science (Original post)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 05:18 PM

23. "It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..."

 


"You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"

"No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like to straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."

"Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."

"I did," said ford. "It is."

"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"

"It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."

"You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"

"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."

"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"

"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in.

-Douglas Adams (So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by )

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #23)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 05:21 PM

25. I love this post. THANK YOU.

This is where we are, and it's chilling. Because of this lesser-of-two-lizards game, we are watching the dismantling of our civil protections and the transformation of our government into something very frightening for ordinary people.

Profound truths in good fiction. I need to get me out some Douglas Adams again.

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Response to fredzachmane (Reply #23)

Mon Apr 15, 2013, 10:40 AM

34. Beautiful! Now I understand it all ....

Really, this is a great reply. It seems to explain how many "Democrats" get elected. It is not that they or their ideas are anything short of deplorable, its just that they are not self-named Republicans, so they get elected. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is a prime example.

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Response to woo me with science (Original post)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 05:28 PM

27. One supreme court justice away from wanting everything to go to the court

 

The court year is now over.

With one more SCOTUS the entire court is changed

Shows again how important it is to change SCOTUS and there is only one way to do that.

I myself want everything to get to SCOTUS, easiest way to see what is and what isn't.

Easiest way to get to SCOTUS is to make sure it gets to SCOTUS

Long term this is what is wanted for anything and everything.

Shows again how wrong Nader was in 2000 about one and the same

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Response to graham4anything (Reply #27)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 07:31 PM

30. Oh so it's one of those again

Like when the government defended the DOMA or the various fourth amendment cases. Each produced an outrage here. No matter how many times you explain that it won't be declared unconstitutional unless it goes to the courts, still they preferred the administration to simply lie down and not defend the law.

In fact I recall the insistence that one district court could make the law for the whole country. I cited and cited sources and one person refused to recognize that reality.

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Response to treestar (Reply #30)

Mon Apr 15, 2013, 10:25 AM

33. That was imaginative. nt

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Response to woo me with science (Original post)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 08:24 PM

32. Why am I not surprised?

Paranoia trumps worker rights and paranoia is capable of indefinite extension, hence:
“It is naive to suppose that employees without direct access to already classified information cannot affect national security,” Federal Circuit Judge Evan Wallach wrote. “Stock levels of a particular unclassified item — sunglasses, for example, with shatterproof lenses, or rehydration products — might well hint at deployment orders to a particular region for an identifiable unit.”

A federal agency that pursues whistleblower complaints, the Office of Special Counsel, called that rationale “debatable” and argued that “at a minimum, such logic could be extended to virtually any employee” at the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Energy.

The administration's position on labor rights is predictably "bipartisan."





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Response to woo me with science (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2013, 01:31 PM

35. k and r

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