This bill would reauthorize the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) — which is responsible for protecting current, former, and prospective federal employees from retaliation for whistleblowing — through fiscal year 2020. Whistleblowers report abuse, illegal activity, mismanagement of funds, or other prohibited practices within the government and have at times faced retaliation for their efforts, with some being forced out of their jobs.
The OSC’s process for investigating whistleblower complaints would be reformed to make it easier for it to collect evidence from agencies that are withholding information and documents from investigations. Rather than only having 15 days to review a complaint, the OSC could spend 45 days in review and require an agency being investigated to explain why it hadn’t taken action to address a problem reported by the OSC.
To ensure that the OSC isn’t bogged down by repeated complaints, the agency could end an investigation if it has previously been informed of an allegation by the same person, if it doesn’t have jurisdiction, or if the person should have known more than three years before the OSC was alerted.