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New Disobedience Law
Remember the 2012 Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act that made it a prohibited personnel practice to take or not take a personnel action, or to threaten to do the same, as to someone who refused to obey an order requiring the person to violate a "law." No? Refresh your memory at 5 USC 2302(b)(9)(D). Did "law" also include a rule or regulation? Not so, said the Board and Federal Circuit in Rainey v. Dept. of State, 122 MSPR 592, 2015 MSPB 49 (2015), and Rainey v. MSPB, 824 F.3d 1359 (Fed. Cir. 2016). The Board and the Circuit concluded that "law" meant a statute, not something else. Congress again stepped into the whistleblower breach, and awaiting the President's signature is--that's right--the "Follow the Rules Act," which, when signed, will amend the statute to include the words, "rule or regulation" after "law." Whistleblowing protection has advanced another step.
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A New Special Counsel?
Further addressing whistleblower protections, the President nominated to be Special Counsel Henry Kerner, with decades of experience as a prosecutor and a staff member of the House Oversight Committee, with responsibilities that include whistleblower protection. Since May of 2016, Mr. Kerner serves as Vice President for Investigations at Cause of Action Institute, a Washington oversight group advocating accountable government.