The top Democrat on the main Senate committee overseeing the federal workforce, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, has suggested that federal employees, as well as contractor employees, wishing to make whistleblowing disclosures should consider contacting that committee rather than using other disclosure channels.

McCaskill said the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will “make every effort to protect those who come forward with information.” The potential for retaliation is a perennial concern for actual or potential whistleblowers, despite legal protections that arise when employees make such disclosures even to independent agency offices such as IGs.

The committee, like its counterpart House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has jurisdiction to review nearly all government operations and “has previously conducted successful investigations into government fraud and abuse based on information from federal whistleblowers,” she said.

The committee also has jurisdiction over federal personnel policies including whistleblower protections; a further bid to strengthen those protections is planned this year on the fifth anniversary of passage of the most recent whistleblower law, which broadened the protected types of disclosures and enhanced legal rights of employees against retaliation.