Congress Conduct Oversight of U.S. Office of Special Counsel
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Therefore, we support a federal workplace that is free from prohibited personnel practices (PPPs), particularly whistleblower reprisal. By current law, most specifically the Federal Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 (WPA), federal employees who responsibly act on their concerns, particularly if it involves blowing whistles, rely on the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) to protect them from retribution.
We think Congress, as others, should be able to reasonably assure federal employees, based on results of Congressional or other third-party oversight of OSC, that OSC is, at a minimum, complying with its statutory obligations to protect them from retribution.
Therefore, we respectfully suggests Congress exercise its oversight authority by requesting information from OSC, per 5 USC 1217, and based on the results, consider holding an oversight hearing or directing other action. A suggested information request of OSC is follows.
A suggested information rquest any Committee or Subcommittee of Congress to make of U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), per 5 USC 1217. It is based on information contained in OSCs 2004 Annual Report to Congress, and a published decision of a Federal Appeals Court
1) How many specific PPPs allegations were contained in the 5529 PPP complaints OSC dispositioned in FY 2002 - 2004?
2) Of these, in how many did OSC make a positive PPP determination - there are reasonable grounds to believe a PPP has occurred, exists, or is to be taken?
3) Of these, in how many were negative PPP determinations made?
4) If the numbers do not add up, what is the explanation for the discrepancy, given OSCs statutory obligation to make and appropriately report this positive or negative PPP determination?
5) OSC claims to have obtained 321 favorable actions in 255 cases in FY 2002-2004. How many positive PPP determination reports did it make to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) during this time, per 5 USC 1214(b)(2)(B), as required by a 2000 court decision in Weber v. Department of Army, 209 F.3d 756, 758 (D.C. Cir. 2000)?
6) Do OSC PPP investigation termination letters contain the required termination notice of 5 USC 1214 (appendix)? If not, why not?
7) Does OSC provide the information described in the termination statement, by phone, when requested by the complainant? If not, why not?
8) Do OSCs PPP termination letters report OSCs statutory required PPP determination or only OSCs discretionary determination about seeking corrective action on behalf of the complainant at MSPB?
9) How can the heads of agencies comply with their statutory obligations to prevent PPPs in their agencies (see 5 USC 2302(c)), if OSC does not formally report all its positive PPP determinations?
10) How can the information required by the No FEAR act (see 5 USC 2301 appendix) be compiled if OSC does not formally report all its positive PPP determinations?