Nexus between Sour Economics & Gov’t Waste


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Whether there’s a connection between demands for government efficiencies and empty state coffers or not, ten states have improved their whistleblowing statutes in the year 2010. Similarly, it makes sense to attribute some whistle blower changes to “Tea Party” demands to get tough…especially on state bureaucracies. One of the nation’s largest independent “watch dog” groups is the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility: less than fondly known by its many enemies as PEER.

PEER has shown a consistent appetite for pursuing politicians and bureaucrats, with little regard to their political persuasion. Once supportive of President Obama’s pledge to “depoliticize” science, PEER now routinely criticizes what it perceives as broken promises by the White House (See for example:  But if PEER has been largely silent on state policy Qui Tam issues, this comparative silence may be coming to a close.  PEER announced (May, 2010) that they have developed a “rankings system” to evaluate whistleblower protections in every state.

States have traditionally received scant attention when it comes to model Qui Tam, or whistleblower, complaints. Under the new PEER system, two states with the most to lose in terms of government accountability have pulled a “180.” According to PEER’s whistleblowing-friendly or not? study, New Mexico and Vermont have gone from 49th and 50th worst to 4th and 6th BEST in a single year. The results, while not yet tested by time (or application), do suggest that geographic or economic factors are not the primary drivers for whistleblower reform. Instead, more intangible factors may be at play. Vermont has one of the country’s most involved electorates, and New Mexico is going through a horrendous economic contraction as well as a high profile “pay to play” scandal in state government.

In fairness to states, they were often better positioned to work with federal Department of Justice (DOJ) officials to pursue many national whistleblower remedies (see for example the pursuit of Wyeth Drug, an enormous whistleblower case, where 16 states joined with DOJ:

House Speaker Tip O’Neil once quoted the saw, “All politics is local.” After the longest recession in a century, however, it seems national sentiments are starting to blow local whistles.



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