A whistleblower is an insider who wants to right a wrong and usually tries going up the chain of command to do it before going public, which is often the only option when his or her career suffers. A leaker is an insider who wants to get political attention to a situation—to generate either praise or criticism for a policy or practice—by using a reporter as a publicity outlet, almost always without career risk. Justice often depends on whistleblowers; politics often depends on leaks. We should not forget these distinctions, says David Sirota in Salon.
A bill to create protections for whistleblowers who report improper governmental activities in the California Legislature died an unsurprising death in its second committee hearing in the Assembly, reports Terry Miller for the Pasadena Independent. Its author, not entirely vindicated in a spat about the Assembly leadership’s claim that his office spending was out of control, has announced that he will not seek other elective office when his term ends this year.
A state Assembly member wants legislative staffers protected by the same laws that shield whistleblowers in the executive branch, and his recent amendments of his bill to that effect are being praised, because they confine the protection to non-elected Capitol staff—not lawmakers like him. Richard Renner reports for the National Whistleblowers Legal Defense & Education Fund, but doesn’t seem to grasp that the amendments cut both ways. Continue reading
Journalists know that confidential sources sometimes carry grudges against their employers and are also sometimes just mistaken about the facts they claim show wrongdoing. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be protected as much as possible, so reporters and editors don’t expose them to retaliation—no matter how little they’re worth in news value. Now, in a case that should of great comfort to whistleblowers in general, the California Court of Appeal has reached a comparable conclusion, reports Rob Rogers for the Marin Independent Journal. Continue reading
WHISTLEBLOWERS — Cross a government watchdog with a government whistleblower and what do you get? CrossmanKimo Crossman, that is, a co-founder of San Francisco's Sunshine Posse and a man who doesn't like to see huge banks skate away from their tax obligations. Rebecca Bowe has the story in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.