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Blow the Whistle!

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On December 22nd, 2010, in the face of seemingly unanimous bipartisan support, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (Bill S.372) was killed in the final moments of the last legislative session when a mystery Senator placed what’s called a secret hold on the bill. This bill had already been passed by the House and the Senate, but in the final vote on the reconciled bill, it died and no one had to take responsibility.

Why do we care? Because Bill S. 372 is designed to protect government workers from being punished (as they usually are) for exposing illegality, waste and corruption. It was wildly popular - in public. But a legislator (or legislators) were able to kill it, by using an undemocratic device to hide from their constituents. 

On January 7th, On the Media, in conjunction with the Government Accountability Project, launched the Blow the Whistle project, and asked our listeners to call their Senators and ask them if they were responsible for the secret hold which killed this important legislation. 

With the help of our listeners we have managed to eliminate all but two Senators, both of whom have said that their policy is not to comment on the placement of anonymous holds. The Government Accountability Project has let us know that this project has had the two-pronged effect in the Senate of making Senators more hesitant to use the secret hold, and bringing new attention to the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, which is expected to be reintroduced in the Senate shortly.

We would like to thank everyone who helped us by participating in this project. If you have any questions or comments about the project, feel free to comment in the comments section below, or email us at blowthewhistle@wnyc.org.

Below are some links to our stories related to the bill and the project. We will continue to update this site with information on the bill once it's reintroduced in the Senate.

Dec. 3, 2010 - Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project talks to Brooke about the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act and the history of federal whistleblower protections in the US.

Jan. 7, 2011 - Tom Devine joins us again to discuss the secret hold that killed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, and help us launch the Blow the Whistle project.

Feb. 4, 2011 - Oregon Senator Ron Wyden talks to us about the reforms made to the Secret Hold process on January 27th, 2011

Feb. 4, 2011 - Military whistleblower Franz Gayl talks to Brooke about the workplace retaliation he has experienced as a result blowing the whistle on his chain of command for shortages of vital equipment in Iraq.

April 1, 2011 - Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project talks about the Blow the Whistle's impact in Washington and listener Susan Schibler describes trying to get her senator to go on the record about the secret hold.

April 6, 2011 - The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act is reintroduced in the Senate.

November 3, 2011 - House Oversight and Government Reform Committee unanimously approves HR 3289, the Platts-Van Hollen Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2011.

May 9, 2012 - The Senate passes Senate bill S. 743, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 by "unanimous consent."

September 28, 2012 - House passes Senate bill S. 743, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 by "unanimous consent."

November 13, 2012 - Senate passes reconciled version of Senate bill S. 743, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 by "unanimous consent."

November 27, 2012 - The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act is signed into law.


Jon Kyl (AZ)

730 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510 (202) 224-4521

Jon Kyl Website Contact Page

Number of times contacted: 23

Notes: 3-2-2011 – Have yet to make contact with Senator Kyl’s Press Secretary Ryan Patmintra. Several messages have been left with the office. A caller spoke to a staffer named Nat on 1-18-2011 who didn’t think Sen. Kyl was responsible, but could not confirm. Since 2-17-2011, three constituents have received the following letter in reply to inquiries about his role in killing the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act: “Thank you for contacting me about the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (S.372) . The Senate passed S. 372 on Dec 14, 2010 and the House passed a different version of the legislation on Dec 22. With only hours left in the session, the Senate did not have sufficient time to review the House’s changes and reconcile the differences between the two bills. “


Jeff Sessions (AL)

335 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510 (202) 224-4124

Jeff Sessions Website Contact Page

Number of times contacted: 20

Notes: 3-2-2011 – Jeff Sessions aide Caroline explained to caller on 1-19-2011 that anonymous holds are 'anonymous' and that he is 'very private.' Subsequent calls have gotten similar responses. Have yet to get a response or make contact with Press Secretary Sarah Haley.

3-8-2011 - From the website bamafactcheck.com: Asked whether Sessions is the source of the hold, Sessions spokeswoman Sarah Haley would neither confirm nor deny Tuesday. "As an office policy, we do not comment on holds," she said.

3-9-2011 - George Altman of the Mobile Press-Register received the following from Sessions's Press Secretary Sarah Haley: “This legislation is not pending in the 112th Congress, and you cannot put a hold on a bill that doesn’t exist, so of course we do not have one.” This is not a confirmation that Senator Sessions is denying placing the hold.


James Risch (ID)

4-1-2011: Via the Government Accountability Project: "Senator Risch’s (R-ID) office has since confirmed that the Senator had no policy objections to S. 372 last Congress, nor was he working with Senate leadership on the legislation. The Senator’s office held firm to its policy that “it dos not comment on secret holds”; however, through deductive reasoning, he does not fit the bill, so to speak. In turn, GAP has removed Senator Rischfrom the tapering list of prospective Senators that placed the hold on S. 372."


David Vitter (LA)

3-4-2011: Communications Director Joel DiGrado has confirmed that Vitter did not place the anonymous hold. Thank you to Jonathan Tilove and Bruce Alpert of the New Orleans Times-Picayune for his help in getting this confirmation.


Mitch McConnell (KY)

Notes: 3-8-2011 Senator McConnell's Press Secretary Don Stewart has confirmed that the Senator is not responsible for the secret hold that killed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.


Full List of Senators' Responses

Click on the headers to resort the columns:

Comments [212]

brent

Why blow the whistle and report fraud against the government?

http://www.bergermontague.com/practice-areas/whistleblowers,-qui-tam-false-claims-act/whistleblowers,-qui-tam-false-claims-act-legal-blog/should-i-be-a-whistleblower-and-report-government-fraud-to-lawyers-and-attorneys

Oct. 11 2012 11:45 AM
Pat Tibbs from San Francisco

I have emailed Sen. Sessions suggesting that he is the senator who placed this secret hold since all other senators have denied doing so. I also pointed out that I understand he wants government waste and corruption to stop and asked him what he is afraid of.

I reminded him that, while I'm not from his state, his actions affect the entire country.

Apr. 16 2011 07:03 PM
Susan from Ohio

Bill M.

That is perfect!! Please, let us know what the response is even if it is no response after some time.

Apr. 13 2011 09:44 PM
Bill Marston from Philadelphia

After Sen. Kyl's office lied about his gross error in the Senate that 90 percent of Planned Parenthood's resources go for providing abortions, I was moved to write him again about the 'anonymous hold'.

I asked, in the light of a citizen understanding the conduct and procedures of our elected Congress, if he executed that 'hold'.

Then I asked if I could consider his reply to that question to be factual or not... in fact I asked that he henceforth label all of his official Senate speech as to its intent: factual or non-factual.

I look forward to whatever answer I receive now, after that horribly botched staff response vis his numerical error, or lie, depending on one's take.

Apr. 13 2011 02:30 AM
Dan

This was an exercise in futility. Ending the project before you know the answer is basically a concession it was a failure. The results confirm your methodology was flawed from the start. GAP interpreted answers in a slanted way to reach a certain conclusion and you can't really account for the retired Senators or Senators giving misleading answers. Consequently, the data is both biased and incomplete. Aside from giving your listeners something to do, we know little more than we did at the beginning. You have also done a disservice to your listeners because you assumed from the beginning that the bill that died actually was a strong piece of good government legislation. However, if you study the bill and read up on the subject you will learn that the bill that died as a result of the secret hold was not only weak but in important respects was actually harmful to existing rights. In its final form the proposals that were once in S. 372 to protect employees at the intelligence agencies were completely cut from the bill that was killed. Your listeners would have benefited more from a discussion about the relative merits of the proposed legislation and informed them as to how this bill got watered down, chewed up and made meaningless through the legislative process. Perhaps if your listeners were informed about how the bill was gutted and used as a kind of Trojan Horse to do harm to whistleblowers -- long before the secret hold was placed on it -- there would be more public pressure for a truly strong bill in this Congress. I hope you will reexamine your participation in this campaign.

Apr. 03 2011 12:13 PM
Jake from North Hollywood, CA

Just received a response from Dianne Feinstein. She says the secret hold was not her doing and that she fully supported the legislation.

Apr. 01 2011 03:36 PM

I wanted to thank everyone again for their help with this project.

I also wanted to address a concern that Dan has raised a couple of times in the comments section about the 13 Senators that retired at the end of the 111th session. We have been working hard on getting confirmation from all of them, but since many of them have left public life altogether, it has been exceedingly difficult.

The Republican cloakroom has confirmed to the Government Accountability Project that the Senator that placed the hold was a Republican, which eliminates the six Democratic Senators that left office. Of the remaining seven, staffers for Senators Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Gregg, LeMieux and Voinovich have confirmed that they were not responsible.

This leaves just Sen. Bunning, from whom we will continue to attempt to get a confirmation. The Government Accountability Project, who works closely with Senate offices on this legislation has told us throughout this process that they did not consider any of the retired Senators serious suspects in this hold.

Thank you.
Alex Goldman
Producer, On the Media

Apr. 01 2011 10:36 AM
Ben Housten from Birmingham, AL

Spoke with Terry at Birmingham office, repeated what Sarah Haley said previously: "As an office policy, we do not comment on holds".

Mar. 23 2011 03:44 PM
Jeff

Dan, this has been fully explained by Alex in the comments.

Mar. 18 2011 04:07 PM
Dan

This entire exercise is misleading. There 16 Senators who have not revealed their position on the hold when you count the 13 who retired. You are not being honest and transparent in this endeavor.

Mar. 17 2011 11:39 PM
Alex Goldman from New York City

Dear Babs,

Thank you for the comment. Actually, on 1-26-2011, Thanks to the hard work of a dedicated constituent, Senator Brown's Legislative Correspondent Jenny Waits confirmed that he did not place the anonymous hold that killed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.

As to your question, Will, we will be doing a new report on our program in the next couple of weeks that will attempt to answer that very question. Thank you again for all of your help in this project, and I continue to encourage their constituents to email the remaining Senators.

Yours,
Alex Goldman
Producer, On the Media.

Mar. 17 2011 10:53 PM
Babs from Onio

I sent an e-mail to S Brown (D-OH) ofc relative to the Whistle blower Issue. Below is a copy of what his staff sent to me. It appears the democrat senators in WI aren't the only ones who are AWOL.
"... Thank you for sending me your comments. Listening to the views of the people I represent in the U.S. Senate is a critical part of my job. I do my best to provide every Ohioan with a prompt response. If you have an urgent matter, please feel free to call any of my offices in Ohio or Washington, DC.

If you have not done so already, please visit my Senate website (http://brown.senate.gov) for comprehensive information about my work in the Senate, as well as constituent services that my office provides and how to get connected with federal programs.

Or, you may be interested in receiving my e-Newsletters to stay connected with what's happening in Congress of importance to Ohio. Sign up for regular updates on the work I am doing in the Senate, and please select a few issues to get newsletter updates on specific topics as subjects arise. Sign-up here: http://brown.senate.gov/newsletter/landing

Mar. 17 2011 09:03 AM
Susan from Ohio

Good question, Will. Here's my take on it. Obviously one senator had issues with the amended S 372 as demonstrated by the secret hold. However, the senator who placed the hold is unknown as well as the reasons for the his secret hold action. Until the senator's concerns are known there is no way to move forward without the same results.

It's ironic Sen. Risch writes to his constituent re: the secret hold "This is an important part of the process that protects the rights of each senator, especially those in the minority. It forces thoughtful consideration and debate while ensuring members work together to confirm nominees and pass legislation in a bipartisan way."

Sen. Risch needs to explain how not answering the question about his position on the amended S 372 fosters thoughtful consideration and debate within the Senate in a bipartisan way. He is not being responsive and accountable to his constituents and he is not performing his duties to address this legislation openly.

Mar. 16 2011 03:53 PM
Will

If there was true bipartisan support for this bill, why hasn't the new congress taken it up?

Mar. 16 2011 01:46 PM
Susan from Ohio

Dan, not a problem as I see it. After all 3 remaining senators go on record and if all 3 claim not to have been the one who placed the hold, then we can start on the retired ones. Let's get answers from Kyl, Risch and Sessions first. The fact that these 3 refuse to explain their position to the public is a huge problem. Not a problem for the other returning 84 senators. Wonder why that is?

Mar. 15 2011 07:52 PM
Dan

What about the missing 13 Senators from your data base? That has not been answered. On January 31 it was posted that, "On the Media and the Government Accountability Project will be contacting the retired senators independently before asking our listeners to contact them. Unfortunately, their contact information is not as readily available, so they take some hunting down. We will add them to the database as they confirm."

There is no other information about the retired 13 posted on this site. How do you know one of the retired 13 didn't put the secret hold on the bill?

So instead of 3 left, you are really left with 16. That is a huge difference statistically.

Mar. 15 2011 05:51 PM
Hiram from Waverly, Alabama

http://cw.ua.edu/2011/03/07/allen-tullos-discusses-his-book-alabama-getaway/

Mar. 15 2011 07:24 AM
Babs from Onio

Kudos to Susan and Phil as they were able to receive a response from S.Brown (D-OH). He refuses to provide his constitutents the truth and/or answer our concerns relative to Obamacare so I really wouldn't put much credence in his response to the Whistleblower Act..

Mar. 14 2011 05:43 PM
Ken

Dan: Yes, you are missing something. If you read the comments below and the responses from Alex Goldman, the producer, you'll find the question about the 13 senators who are no longer in office has been addressed. As for cryptic responses, the maintainers of the list have been quite careful to accept only definitive answers. As for lying, there is certainly that possibility, but, as everyone in Washington knows by now, it's not the original offense, but the cover-up, that really gives you a black eye.

Mar. 11 2011 12:55 AM
Dan

Your methodology is flawed because you only targeted 87 current Senators. The 13 Senators who left the Senate are excluded from your survey. So you have not narrowed down to 3, but rather there are at least 16 unknown respondents. By overlooking 13% of 100 Senators from the last Congress your survey is meaningless. Am I missing something? Also, you are assuming your interpretation of cryptic responses is correct and that the true culprit has not lied or provided a misleading response to your survey. Your survey is both incomplete and suffers from the inability to validate the responses provided by politicians. This is a waste of people's time.

Mar. 10 2011 11:00 PM

Dear Susan,

Thank you for your comment. I tried to call Senator Kyl's to confirm the information that you gave on our website, and not only would they not confirm the information, they refused to confirm the spelling of the name "Joe Mettall" or whether anyone worked there by that name. If you can give us more information as to what number you called and who the "Liz" was that Mr. Mettall was referring to, that would be great.

Thank you,

Alex Goldman
Producer, On the Media

Mar. 09 2011 04:58 PM
Susan Edwards from Phoenix, AZ

Just called Sen. Kyl's office and talked to Joe Mettall (sp?), who staffs the Judiciary Committee for Sen. Kyl. He said that, though he was "on loan to Sessions" for 20 months and not with Kyl in December, he has talked to Liz, "who is in charge and knows all," that Sen. Kyl did not put the hold on.

Mar. 09 2011 04:18 PM
Michael Hayes from Boise, Idaho

Today I called Sen. Risch's office (my so-called Senator) and was told by someone named Josh that the senator's office has a policy of not commenting on anonymous holds. I asked how the senator's reluctance to answer this question from a constituent reflected on his views of democracy and open government. I was told I would receive a written statement in the mail by the senator.

Mar. 09 2011 02:53 PM
Michael Hayes from Boise, Idaho

Today I called Sen. Risch's office (my so-called Senator) and was told by someone named Josh that the senator's office has a policy of not commenting on anonymous holds. I asked how the senator's reluctance to answer this question from a constituent reflected on his views of democracy and open government. I was told I would receive a written statement in the mail by the senator.

Mar. 09 2011 02:52 PM
doug kinan from Boston, Massachusetts

Whoever the person was that blocked whistleblower protections must have a lot to hide.

In addition, if this individual has a family, we can be certain this individual is no role model for his kids.

Mar. 08 2011 02:02 PM
pike from Burlington

Senator Risch's Press Secretary is Kyle Hines is cell phone number is 202-264-0478. I too was told that the senator has a policy of not commenting on anonymous holds. I explained I understood this and that policies are generally forumulated after careful thought and research on an issue and I wondered if the Senator could expain the thinking that lead to his policy of not commenting on anonymous holds.

Mar. 08 2011 09:58 AM
pike from Vermont

The cell phone number for Sarah Haley is 202-641-0543. I also spoke with Caroline in Jeff Sessions's office. I avoided asking about the whistleblower bill and instead asked if the senator felt anonymous holds were appropriate in democracy where elected officials should be accountable to their employers. I was told that he has not made a statement about this yet.

Mar. 08 2011 09:42 AM
charles keil

I can't take the time to read all the comments, but the issues be: 1) protecting whistle-blowers and the free speech rights of prisoners like Bradley Manning; 2) getting rid of "secret holds" once and FOR ALL; 3) open decisions openly arrived at for all elected politicians in all their assemblies.

Mar. 06 2011 09:14 AM

I both called and emailed Senator Risch of Idaho, concerning his lack of transparency in dealing with whistle blower protection. I had the following conversation with his office, and also wrote his press secretary and legislative director with:

"I want to thank the good senator for setting an example for the rest of us to follow in matters of rights to privacy. When hired by clients to work on their property who ask us what we are doing, we feel like it's our business not theirs and this is a right to privacy issue. We now feel confident that we can move forward, heads held high, justified in our view thanks to the fact that Senator Risch is one of only five senators who has not confirmed or denied placing a secret hold on the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act -- also known as the WPEA or S. 372 -- on the last day of Congress in December. Is this correct, that the Senator has not denied objecting to this bill’s passage? We want to be certain before we ourselves continue to operate in secrecy! Way to go. It's the kind of leadership we've come to count on in Idaho, where honesty and integrity take second place to privacy rights."

I have received no reply back, as expected!

Mar. 04 2011 06:11 PM
Susan from Ohio

" An intern (who hung up when we asked for a name) said that Press Secretary Luke Bolar was probably "backed up" and would probably get back to On the Media staff when he was less backed up. "

If this were a laughing matter I'd recommend Vitter's press secy. try some extra fiber, but I'm not in the mood for laughing!

Mar. 02 2011 06:16 PM
Barb from NJ formerly MO

why couldn't it be Kit Bond (retired) MO -- he'd have noting to lose as he was retiring and always was a "good party man"...

Mar. 01 2011 05:45 PM
Susan from Ohio

My money is on Sessions with help or support from Risch

Feb. 27 2011 12:24 PM
Warren from AZ

My money is on Kyl. He's a lame duck now, so he doesn't even have to care about being accountable to the voters.

Feb. 22 2011 01:23 PM
wigcon from 94702

I'm satisfied to blame all five. If they won't answer they must be guilty.

Feb. 17 2011 02:48 PM
Alex Goldman from New York City

In response to Orne's questions a few comments below:

1. Can an anonymous hold be removed or lifted by anyone other than the Senator who placed it?

The Senator that placed the hold must agree to lift the hold.

2. What happens to the hold if the Senator who originally placed it did not return to the Senate?

Once Congress adjourns, the hold placed on a bill is no longer in effect. In addition, the legislation must be re-introduced in the following Congress before a vote can take place.

Feb. 16 2011 04:42 PM
Alex Goldman from New York City

Thank you for your call, Tom.

With these remaining Senators, especially DeMint (who voted against secret hold reform), we're looking for full names that we can put on the record. If you can call back and get the names of the people you spoke to, that would help us remove them from the list.

Thanks for your interest and please keep calling!

Alex Goldman
Producer, On the Media

Feb. 16 2011 02:02 PM
Tom from Charleston, SC

I spoke with Hillary in Sen. DeMint's office who said unequivocally that Senator DeMint had nothing to do with the hold.

Feb. 16 2011 12:22 PM

I have two questions:

1. Can an anonymous hold be removed or lifted by anyone other than the Senator who placed it?

2. What happens to the hold if the Senator who originally placed it did not return to the Senate?

Feb. 12 2011 11:14 PM
Susan from Ohio

carwinb - that is certainly a round about way of responding. Can you ask Inouye "Are you saying it was not you?"

Feb. 11 2011 08:40 PM
@carwinb from Everywhere

Just recieved a tweet from Senator Inouye of Hawaii. Saying that "Republican Put Hold on Bill"

http://twitter.com/#!/carwinb/status/36222838134284289

Feb. 11 2011 07:42 PM
Eric Tisdale from San Mateo, CA

Mitch McConnell was definitely involved, even if the hold was not by him specifically.

Wikipedia: A secret hold was a parliamentary procedure within the Standing Rules of the United States Senate that allowed *one or more Senators to prevent a motion from reaching a vote on the Senate floor*. If the Senator provided notice privately to his or her *party leadership* of their intent (and the party leadership agreed), then the hold was known as a *secret or anonymous hold*. If

Feb. 11 2011 05:37 PM
Tshepiso Ramphele from South Africa

Thank you for this campaign.

From South Africa, we appreciate this campaign. Global world means global support. We believe that the senator responsible should explain why he believes no protection is needed.

This senator/s oppose the very foundation of US democratic policies. They demean the humane values upon which free and civilsed world should be built. No rest until this is corrected. Lets build a new better world. Thank you.

Feb. 09 2011 09:26 AM
Nancy Cagle from Waco, TX

I see Cornyn is a NO. Where's Kay Hutchison. She'd better not be the one! Whistleblowers should be praised and protected. This little deed is another sample of why so many don't trust Congress any more. It must be stopped!

Feb. 09 2011 09:26 AM
Alex Goldman from New York City

Thank you for all the notes. I am holding off on Graham and DeMint because I am hoping that @bettered got the names of someone in the office that he spoke to that confirmed this information.

Thanks again to everyone for their help.

Sincerely,
Alex Goldman
Producer, WNYC's On the Media.

Feb. 08 2011 10:23 AM
@carwinb from Everywhere

@bettered says he sent an email to you with an update that Graham and DeMint both said they didn't do it.

http://twitter.com/#!/bettered/status/34712544052654080

Feb. 07 2011 10:53 PM
Susan from Ohio

Some interesting background on Sen. Coburn.

Use of Senatorial 'hold' privilege
Coburn has used the special hold privilege to prevent several bills from coming to the Senate floor.[71] The hold privilege is allowed by Rule VII of the Senate Standing Rules.[72] The practice is generally used to form consensus on questionable legislation and has come under fire for its procedural secrecy.[73] Coburn has actively exercised the privilege, and has earned a reputation for his use of the procedural mechanism.[71] For example, in November 2009 Coburn drew considerable attention for placing a hold on a veterans' benefits bill known as the Veterans’ Caregiver and Omnibus Health Benefits Act.[74][75] Coburn has also placed a hold on a bill whose goal is to help end hostilities in Uganda by the Lord's Resistance Army.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Coburn#Allegations_of_non-consensual_sterilization_and_Medicaid_fraud

Feb. 07 2011 06:48 PM
avrds from Montana

J.J. from Maplewood, NJ:

This week's On the Media had a good story on the results of the secret holds. Depressing when you think that this is the best they could do, but I suppose it's better than nothing:

http://www.onthemedia.org/transcripts/2011/02/04/06

That story and other votes also at

http://www.congress.org/news/2011/01/28/senate_ends_secret_holds:

Rejected Rules Proposals

The Senate also voted Thursday on three more sweeping rules proposals, pushed by various Democrats, that were unable to get the two-thirds support necessary for approval. Those three proposals were:

• S Res 8, defeated 12-84, which would reduce the number of votes needed to overcome filibusters.

• S Res 10, rejected 44-51, which would officially eliminate the use of filibusters to block legislation from coming to the Senate floor.

• S Res 21, defeated 46-49, which would force senators to continuously talk on the Senate floor if they want to filibuster legislation or nomination.

Feb. 06 2011 10:40 PM
Socorro Maria Pelayo from California

I did a little research on secret holds which may interest some of you.

1) Senator Richard Shelby, Republican from Alabama, held up more than 70 Obama administration appointees earlier this year to gain leverage in a dispute over defense contracts in his home state. He lifted most of the holds once the issue was publicized, cited in http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2010/06/22/senators_want_to_end_secret_holds_that_let_nominees_languish/
2) The following senators voted against ending secret holds: Sens. Jim DeMint, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and John Ensign, cited in http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2011/01/27/adopting-a-new-rule-really-ending-secret-holds/

Feb. 06 2011 09:46 PM
Wessyl Kelly from Pittsburgh

Additional notes:

They all have web forms you have to use. Hence, calling is probably faster.

The links provided for three senators are incorrect. Below are the correct ones!

Lautenberg form: http://lautenberg.senate.gov/contact/index1.cfm

McConnell form: http://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=ContactForm

Stabenow form: http://stabenow.senate.gov/?p=contact

Feb. 06 2011 04:43 PM
Wessyl Kelly from Pittsburgh

Hi folks,

What are we waiting for? It is ridiculous to the point of offense that any of these public servants will not take responsibility for his or her actions. I don't care whose senator they are. They need to be inundated with phone calls and emails until they provide an honest and definitive answer.

Tom Coburn
Jim Demint
Michael Enzi
Lindsey Graham
Daniel Inouye
Jon Kyl
Frank Lautenberg
Joe Manchin
Mitch McConnell
Robert Menendez
Jack Reed
Harry Reid
James Risch
Pat Roberts
Jay Rockefeller
Jeff Sessions
Debbie Stabenow
Tom Udall
David Vitter
Sheldon Whitehouse

I'm emailing every single one of them. Please do your part. If Egypt can hold its politicians accountable at risk of life and limb, this is the least we can do.

Feb. 06 2011 04:31 PM
Wessyl Kelly from Pittsburgh

Hi folks,

What a we waiting for?? It is ridiculous to the point of offense that any of these public servants refuse to honestly admit to his or her actions. I don't care whose senator they are. They need to be inundated with phone calls and emails until they give a straight and definitive answer.

Tom Coburn
Jim Demint
Michael Enzi
Lindsey Graham
Daniel Inouye
Jon Kyl
Frank Lautenberg
Joe Manchin
Mitch McConnell
Robert Menendez
Jack Reed
Harry Reid
James Risch
Pat Roberts
Jay Rockefeller
Jeff Sessions
Debbie Stabenow
Tom Udall
David Vitter
Sheldon Whitehouse

I'm emailing every single one of them. Please do your part. If Egypt can hold its politicians accountable at cost of life and limb, I say we can do at least this much.

Feb. 06 2011 03:28 PM
J.J. from Maplewood, NJ

If it's a "secret' hold, does anyone expect a member to say, "Yes, I did?"

I'm trying to remember the series of Senate-rule votes (about two weeks ago) which included the anonymous holds? Can someone list them and the results?

Feb. 06 2011 12:07 PM
carwinb from Everywhere

You can find a compiled a list of Senators, who are on Twitter, and who have not yet responded to: "Did you place an anonymous hold on the Whistleblower Protection Act?"

Now you can tweet them, and ask them yourself.

http://twitter.com/#!/carwinb/did-you-kill-the-bill/members

See also: http://wlcentral.org/campaigns

Feb. 05 2011 04:08 AM
Alex from Australia

http://twitter.com/#!/carwinb/did-you-kill-the-bill/members

Excellent list where you can ask them directly via twitter on those that have not yet responded. Success of response unknown.

Feb. 05 2011 02:26 AM
avrds from Montana

Thanks everyone for doing this!

I just received a call from Justin at Jon Tester's Washington office confirming that Tester did not place the hold. It did take a little persistence to get to the "no" -- there are lots of talking points they want to get in.

So stick with it everyone! This is terrific!

Feb. 04 2011 12:06 PM
Alex from Australia

It seems quite odd in how long it takes for them respond to a simple YES or NO question. Are they this fast in other matters or are they purposely delaying answering the question? There are only 31 individuals left to answer the question.

What do people have to do to get a straight answer. Why is it taking them so long? Out of those 31 only 2 have not been contacted (according to the above table) so they can be excused but for all those others that have been emailed/called since early January. WTH?

Keep up the great work and persistence guys. I hope to find who that 1 individual out of those 30 is.

Assuming of course, it wasn't one of the 56 people who already said NO and he ended up lying (or told his staff to lie...).

Feb. 01 2011 10:54 PM
Peter from Queens, NY

why is there no response from Gillibrand's office or from any commenters that contacted her? As a Senator from NYS, wouldn't she want to respond immediately to a poll by WNYC>????

Feb. 01 2011 05:12 PM
Susan from Ohio

Hey everyone, this is really, really impressive. I urge everyone to be persistent for a clear answer from their senators. It took me 3 emails and 3 calls before I was able to connect with a staff person willing to get an answer. I was able to have a good conversation with a staffer from the state's main office unlike contacting the DC office. So if one door doesn't open please try another and hopefully you will be heard. Also, I let the office know how many senators have responded directly to the question and how this looked bad for my senator not to be responsive after being contacted so many times. This seem to get the staffers attention so I sent the link to this site so they could review what I was saying. I got my answer within an hour after that conversation.

Feb. 01 2011 11:47 AM
Jean Gabriel Jolivet, Ph.D. from Kansas

Former KS Senator Brownback can be contacted at:

governor@ks.gov

Office of the Governor
Capitol, 300 SW 10th Ave., Ste. 241S
Topeka, KS 66612-1590

Voice - 877-KSWORKS (877-579-6757)

Jan. 31 2011 11:26 PM
Alex Goldman from New York City

Thanks for your comments. I just wanted to address a couple of them:

bryan levi from new mexico

"Just curious each pair of Senators from the same state are not listed together, which would be an easier way to look them up."

If you click on the top of the "state" column, it will arrange the senators by state.

Queequeg Scoffin from Ohio

"Why not ask any of the retired senators,
wouldn't that help narrow down the search"

On the Media and the Government Accountability Project will be contacting the retired senators independently before asking our listeners to contact them. Unfortunately, their contact information is not as readily available, so they take some hunting down. We will add them to the database as they confirm.

Thank you for your questions. Please keep asking them, and please keep contacting your senators!

Yours,
Alex Goldman
Producer, On the Media

Jan. 31 2011 08:50 AM
Queequeg Scoffin from Ohio

Why not ask any of the retired senators,
wouldn't that help narrow down the search,
and they may still be involved in public
policy debates in the future, as talking
heads on future news programs etC.
One of my Ohio senators, Voinovich,
retired, and while I highly doubt he'd be
a party to that, he may have something
to suggest in your search. Worth a try ?

Jan. 30 2011 01:43 PM
bryan levi from new mexico

Just curious each pair of Senators from the same state are not listed together, which would be an easier way to look them up.

Jan. 30 2011 12:48 PM
Jason from Houston, TX

Congressman Ron Paul is a member of the House of Rep. and cannot put a hold on legislation.

Jan. 28 2011 03:11 PM
Liane Casten from Illinois

Too much is already up-side-down. The country needs whistleblower protection. Lacking it, all kinds of serious consequences would occur. Find the one culprit and push hard.

Jan. 27 2011 03:44 PM
Ryan Berger from Salt Lake City, UT

Ambiguous letter from the office of Orrin G. Hatch in response to a direct question re the anonymous hold:

Dear Mr. Berger:

Thank you for your letter expressing your support for legislation to protect federal government whistle blowers. I appreciate hearing from you.

In the past, both the House and Senate have passed whistle blower protection bills with broad, bipartisan support in their respective chambers. However, no further action was ever taken.

I certainly understand your concerns regarding the need to protect whistle blowers. Indeed, government agencies are not likely to improve upon their mistakes if employees are kept from speaking out against failed policies out of fear of reprisal. As we begin the 112th Congress, I will certainly keep your concerns in mind.

Thank you, once again, for writing.

Your Senator,
Orrin G. Hatch
United States Senator

Jan. 27 2011 02:09 AM
Alex Goldman from New York City

Answers to a couple questions in the comments provided by the Government Accountability Project:

Q from Phylis: A Canadian wants to know: Aren't such actions a matter of public record down there? Isn't there some government website that allows you to see how your congress people are voting?

A: Good question. Yes, there are websites that track Members’ voting records for legislation that is passed through the traditional floor vote, such as www.govtrac.us or www.opencongress.org. However, due to time constraints, S. 372 underwent a commonly used procedure for noncontroversial legislation known as the “hotline” process.

A hotline is an informal term for a request to members of the Senate to agree to allow a bill to be approved by the Senate. If no office places a hold on the legislation as it is being hotlined, then it is recorded in the Congressional Record as a being agreed to by unanimous consent (UC). This informal method of approving legislation does not require active “Yea” votes. One hold, however, has the same effect of filibustering legislation.

Due to the “secret hold” option, there is no public record of Member’s votes for legislation that is hotlined.


Q from Daniel Westcott: I just called Senator Durbin's office, and was informed that according to them, the bill passed. So I felt I should review the history before telling the office aide that he was wrong. Mark Kirk was not an acting senator at the time of the hold. Would it still be prudent to check with his office too

A: Senator Durbin’s office may have mistaken this bill for an earlier version of the legislation that did pass in the Senate the prior week. However, due to changes made in the House of Representatives, S. 372 required additional Senate approval. This final Senate vote was susceptible to secret holds because it occurred during the remaining hours in the congressional session; when there was insufficient time to identify the mystery office.

Jan. 26 2011 03:40 PM
Alex Goldman from New York City

Answer to a question in the comments provided by the Government Accountability Project:

Q from Eric Tisdale: When I first came across this, it was my impression that a single senator could put an anonymous hold on legislation.

According to Wikipedia (goo.gl/EQO54): [A] secret hold...allows ONE or MORE Senators to prevent a motion from reaching a vote on the Senate floor. If the Senator provides notice privately to his or her PARTY LEADERSHIP of their intent (and the party leadership AGREES) then the hold is known as a secret or anonymous hold. [Emphasis mine.]

This means that at least Mitch McConnell was involved in putting the kibosh on the reconciled bill. Looks like he was e-mailed nearly two weeks ago. No reponse?

111th Congress: Senate Minority (Republican) Leadership
Minority Leader: Mitch McConnell
Assistant Minority Leader (Minority Whip): Jon Kyl
Counselor to the Minority Leader: Bob Bennett
Conference Chairman: Lamar Alexander
Conference Vice Chair: Lisa Murkowski, until September 17, 2010; John Barrasso, from September 22, 2010
Policy Committee Chairman: John Ensign, until June 17, 2009; John Thune, from June 25, 2009
National Senatorial Committee Chair: John Cornyn

A: This bill was voted on through the “hotline” process, as opposed to a traditional floor vote where Senators are present and vote Yea or Nay on legislation. Therefore, the nuances of a secret hold in this context are slightly different.

A “hotline” is an informal term for a request to members of the Senate to agree to allow a bill to be approved by the Senate. If no office places a hold on the legislation as it is being hotlined, then it is recorded in the Congressional Record as a being agreed to by unanimous consent (UC). Because it is difficult to reserve floor time, the hotline process is a popular method to pass noncontroversial, or thoroughly vetted, legislation.

During the hotline process, a Senator must inform his or her party’s leadership of intent to place a hold. After six days, leadership is required to recognize a hold made by a member of his or her caucus. However, in the context of S. 372, the anonymous office placed the hold during the final hours of the congressional session, effectively running out the clock before leadership input was triggered.

Jan. 26 2011 03:39 PM
Alex Goldman from New York City

Answers to a couple of questions in the comments provided by the Government Accountability Project:

Q from Philip Davich: According to http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RL31685_20071220.pdf, a hold can ultimately only be effected by the senate leadership. It seems simple that in this case, Harry Reid is ultimately responsible for the hold, so he should be held accountable.

A: A Senator must inform his or her party’s leadership of intent to place a hold. After six days, leadership is required to recognize a hold made by a member of his or her caucus. However, in the context of S. 372, the anonymous office placed the hold during the final hours of the congressional session, effectively running out the clock before leadership action was triggered.

A Congressional Research Service study on secret holds notes this vulnerability: “One implication is that there might be a surge of secret holds during the final days of a legislative session, ‘more than enough time to effectively kill a bill or nominee in complete secrecy’ said a senator” (http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL34255.pdf)

Q from Philip Davich: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/5/13/866131/-Theres-no-such-thing-as-the-secret-hold argues that since the anonymous hold must be declared by a colleague of the anonymous hold, the colleague ought to be the one held responsible for it. So, who was the colleague in this instance? Do we know?

A: While Senate procedure allows a colleague to place the hold on behalf of an anonymous office, this is not required. Any office can place an anonymous hold on its own behalf.

Further, Senate rules require the anonymous hold to be made public through the Congressional Record within 6-session-days of the hold being placed. However, in the context of S. 372, the hold was placed during the final hours of the congressional session. In turn, it bypassed the time requirement, rendering the office that actively placed the hold responsible for blocking passage of this bill.

Jan. 26 2011 03:37 PM
Alex Goldman from New York City


I would like to thank everyone for their continued interest in our project. We are still in the process of trying to contact all of our Senators, but as of today we have confirmations from 52 Senators.

A lot of questions have been asked in the comments on the site, and I have asked the Government Accountability Project staff to answer them on our behalf. They have provided us with answers that I will post directly above this comment. As always, if you have more questions, please let us know via the website or by emailing us at blowthewhistle@wnyc.org

Yours,
Alex Goldman
Producer, On the Media

Jan. 26 2011 03:37 PM
avrds from Montana

When I heard this story I immediately thought of Senator Baucus. I emailed him the night the On the Media story ran, but have not yet heard back. I see others have done so, too.

Senator Baucus: If you did NOT place the hold, why not just say so?

Jan. 26 2011 03:31 PM
Derick Downey from Normal, IL

Called Mark Kirk from IL, staffer said "All I can do is take down your contact information." No response yet.

Jan. 26 2011 12:34 PM
Russian

I loved the cold war days when democracy was a wide contrast from dictatorship
We need world governments to stand against usg corruption. We have wikileaks and the truth, and that's one hell of a start

Jan. 26 2011 04:02 AM
Phylis from Vancouver

A Canadian wants to know: Aren't such actions a matter of public record down there? Isn't there some government website that allows you to see how your congress people are voting?

Jan. 26 2011 12:54 AM
Christina from Rhode Island

I called the Rhode Island Senators. Reed's office was closed, and the receptionist at Whitehouse's office kept me on hold for a few minutes before telling me that "the person that handles that information" was out. Needless to say, I'll be trying both offices back a few times, and encourage others to do so as well (just to see if this becomes a pattern).

Jan. 25 2011 06:35 PM
Jean Gabriel Jolivet, Ph.D. from Winfield, KS

Pat Robert (R-KS)'s office replied with a non-confirmatory canned response to my email request.

Jan. 25 2011 05:56 PM
kevin from KS

Agreed @Bruce

Jan. 25 2011 12:50 PM
Michaela Phaneuf from Dover NH

Senator Judd Gregg (R) New Hampshire retired at the end of the last session and I am unable to find a contact for him. He was mainly concerned with economics, very party-line republican in matters of free speech and he might have done this as a favor or as a last pro-party act before leaving the Senate.
How can we contact our senator's once they've left public life? Gregg is a VERY likely candidate for this action.

Jan. 25 2011 12:15 PM
Harold from DC

Is it possible the hold might have a good motive? Perhaps to keep watered down protections, particularly for folks in the security/intelligence arenas, from becoming law, because then revisiting and improving protections in those arenas would be more difficult once this bill passed?
Just a passing thought and hope.

Jan. 24 2011 11:17 PM
Daniel Westcott from Chicago

I just called Senator Durbin's office, and was informed that according to them, the bill passed. So I felt I should review the history before telling the office aide that he was wrong. Mark Kirk was not an acting senator at the time of the hold. Would it still be prudent to check with his office too

Jan. 24 2011 11:55 AM
Eric Tisdale from California

When I first came across this, it was my impression that a single senator could put an anonymous hold on legislation.

According to Wikipedia (goo.gl/EQO54): [A] secret hold...allows ONE or MORE Senators to prevent a motion from reaching a vote on the Senate floor. If the Senator provides notice privately to his or her PARTY LEADERSHIP of their intent (and the party leadership AGREES) then the hold is known as a secret or anonymous hold. [Emphasis mine.]

This means that at least Mitch McConnell was involved in putting the kibosh on the reconciled bill. Looks like he was e-mailed nearly two weeks ago. No reponse?

111th Congress: Senate Minority (Republican) Leadership
Minority Leader: Mitch McConnell
Assistant Minority Leader (Minority Whip): Jon Kyl
Counselor to the Minority Leader: Bob Bennett
Conference Chairman: Lamar Alexander
Conference Vice Chair: Lisa Murkowski, until September 17, 2010; John Barrasso, from September 22, 2010
Policy Committee Chairman: John Ensign, until June 17, 2009; John Thune, from June 25, 2009
National Senatorial Committee Chair: John Cornyn

Jan. 24 2011 10:51 AM
Neil Blumberg from Louisville, KY

I emailed Mitch McConnel on 1/23/2011 and am awaiting a response.

Jan. 23 2011 08:01 PM
Eric Tisdale

When I first came across this, it was my impression that a single senator could put an anonymous hold on legislation.

According to Wikipedia (goo.gl/EQO54): [A] secret hold...allows ONE or MORE Senators to prevent a motion from reaching a vote on the Senate floor. If the Senator provides notice privately to his or her PARTY LEADERSHIP of their intent (and the party leadership AGREES) then the hold is known as a secret or anonymous hold. [Emphasis mine.]

This means that at least Mitch McConnell was involved in putting the kibosh on the reconciled bill. Looks like he was e-mailed nearly two weeks ago. No reponse?

111th Congress: Senate Minority (Republican) Leadership
Minority Leader: Mitch McConnell
Assistant Minority Leader (Minority Whip): Jon Kyl
Counselor to the Minority Leader: Bob Bennett
Conference Chairman: Lamar Alexander
Conference Vice Chair: Lisa Murkowski, until September 17, 2010; John Barrasso, from September 22, 2010
Policy Committee Chairman: John Ensign, until June 17, 2009; John Thune, from June 25, 2009
National Senatorial Committee Chair: John Cornyn

Jan. 23 2011 06:07 PM
STU from MASSACHUSETTS

ANY ONE OF THE INDIVIDUALS LISTED IN THE TABLE ABOVE COULD BE LYING.
THERE IS NO WAQY TO VERIFY WHO PLACED OR DID NOT PLACE THE ANONYMOUS HOLD. REMEMBER THIS SYSTEM WAS RIGGED FOR THE GUYS WHO BENEFIT FROM IT, NOT US...

Jan. 23 2011 02:43 PM
Uili from Gnutelly

Incredible, that in a so-called democracy, the elected "representatives" can hide their voting decisions in such a manner.

USA it is a shame.

Jan. 22 2011 07:37 PM
james from new orleans

Having just learned of this effort, I will contact the offices of David Vitter, and the (almost-as-despicable) Mary Landrieu on Monday and report how they respond.

Jan. 22 2011 06:58 PM
Aconney from Northern New Jersey

The people who want to hold those accountable so the law can get their hands on them don't want to hold themselves accountable. The same goes for you ask "who's monitoring the monitors of the monitors of the monitors to make sure they ain't cheapshoting or faking what others are seeing?"

Jan. 22 2011 06:31 PM
Allen from Somerville, NJ

I received an e-mail from Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) yesterday afternoon. In it he says:

"As you know, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement would ensure protection for federal employees, as well as employees of government contracts from retaliation from their employers for simply disclosing waste or fraud. In light of increased government action to spur economic recovery, we simply cannot afford to risk limited resources to mismanagement. However, I also share your desire to make sure that all aspects of this legislation strengthen protections for workers in all federal agencies without weakening rights for any specific group. While it is not my policy to discuss secret holds, I can assure you that I have been a strong supporter of whistleblower protections.

"You may be pleased to know that during the debate of the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010, otherwise known as Wall Street reform, I successfully inserted language that will expand protections for whistleblowers against employer retaliation at subsidiaries and affiliates of company. In addition, I introduced S. 2813, the Investors Rights and Corporate Accountability Act of 2009, which would significantly strengthen and enhance the confidentiality of whistleblowers.

"In these uncertain economic times, it is more important than ever to strengthen accountability mechanisms across all sectors to promote safety, efficiency, and effectiveness while deterring waste and fraud. In many cases, employees are in prime position to bring to light such transgressions, but they must be free to do so without fear of retribution by their employers. It is important that the government enact strong protection for whistleblowers, so that we can rely on their useful insight to shine light on institutional weaknesses. Please rest assured that I will fight to uphold the rights of workers to exercise due diligence and protect taxpayers' interests without fear of retribution."

Jan. 22 2011 05:32 PM
civilia from Louisiana

Will other progressive Louisianians please join me in tracking down Senator Vitter and his aides? This really sounds like his handiwork.

Jan. 22 2011 04:56 PM
Philip Davich from Indiana, USA

According to http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RL31685_20071220.pdf, a hold can ultimately only be effected by the senate leadership. It seems simple that in this case, Harry Reid is ultimately responsible for the hold, so he should be held accountable.

Jan. 22 2011 01:15 PM
Philip Davich from Indiana, USA

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/5/13/866131/-Theres-no-such-thing-as-the-secret-hold argues that since the anonymous hold must be declared by a colleague of the anonymous hold, the colleague ought to be the one held responsible for it. So, who was the colleague in this instance? Do we know?

Jan. 22 2011 12:58 PM
Mike K. from Queens, NY

Emailed my inquiry to both NY senators on January 8th. Got a confirmation of reciept and nothing more. Gotta Love Democracy!

Jan. 22 2011 10:05 AM
Marty from Michigan

Emailing both Michigan senators today. They are usually quick to respond to queries or concerns. However, I see from earlier comments that the final version of the bill was less than satisfactory. True? False? Mere speculation?

Jan. 22 2011 08:26 AM
E.B. from Western PA

I agree with Mike, what about Arlen Specter and others who have left office????

Jan. 21 2011 04:04 PM
Davyd Pittman from Jersey City, NJ

Received form letter email response from Senator Menendez (NJ), alluding to his support for and his involvement in writing some parts of the bill. Did not directly address my question of whether or not he was the hold.

Jan. 21 2011 02:28 PM
Don Soeken from Maryland

The problem here is not that the NWC and GAP may have differences and that someone placed a hold on the bill it is that so far no senator will speak out about the secrecy hold. This has always been the case with whistleblowers that the corporation or government agency sticks together to protect the secret. So far no one has come forward which means that they have circled the wagons. Shame on the Senate that there is not one honest person who will tell the truth about this issue. So much for keeping the electorate informed. Instead of asking who did it I would ask each senator why he or she is withholding the truth.

Jan. 21 2011 11:13 AM
Alex Goldman from New York City

Thank you to everyone who has continued to help us with this project. We are nearing the 50 Senator mark, and will continue working diligently on this project. I would like to remind people to please get the names of the staffers you talk to at the Senator's office. We will be doubling back on our list to try and get named confirmations from Senators as the project continues. If, in the meantime, you would like to call their offices to try and get confirmation by name, that would be very helpful.

Thanks again for all of your hard work!

Yours,
Alex Goldman
Producer, On the Media.

Jan. 21 2011 10:54 AM
Fred Strickland from Fayetteville, GA 30214


As far as I am concerned, any represen-
tative that refuses to answer your question
should be labeled as the culprit and so
published. Tell them this is the plan so the
American voters will know.

Jan. 21 2011 06:23 AM

I was told by a staffer that it "sounded like something Sen. Coburn or Sen. DeMint would do."

It says under Sen. Coburn's name on the page that they denied putting the hold, but it wasn't attributed to any name. Might be worth circling back on that.

Jan. 20 2011 03:50 PM
Susan from Ohio

I agree Silvia. I'm having the same problem with Sherrod Brown's office. On the 13th and 14th when I called and asked to speak with someone familiar with the secret hold, I was told "it doesn't work that way" and was informed the best they can do is put my inquiry "into the system". I explained this was follow-up to a response that did not answer the question and it was already in the system with my 1/6 follow-up email to which I received no reply. I stated I was asking in response to a public media program; I suggested they inform their communications direction who might want to give it some attention; I befriended the Senator saying I didn't think it was him, other offices were responding in a timely manner but not them and didn't want Brown to look bad. Still I was told "it's in the system & you will get a reply in a few days." It is now the 20th and no reply. This leaves me thinking either Brown is the one, his staff is not competent or a decision has been made to ignore me as a constituent. I will remember this non-responsiveness for sure.

Jan. 20 2011 01:46 PM
Silvia Munger from Loanville, GA

E-mailed Senator Saxby Chambliss of GA three times. TShe secon time I only received a long and wordy form letter that did not answer my simple question as to whether he was the person who had put a hold on the bill. Ignoring a constituent's question just because it may be inconvenient to tell the truth should be a 'no no' for an elected official.

Jan. 20 2011 11:34 AM
sharon resnick from Princeton, NJ

All of these tricks have reared their ugly heads in the last two years. Does anyone know the rule behind this and is there a way to override it? If Democratic Senators know who this is they should anonymously blow the whistle-do they have the guts? Someone knows.

Jan. 19 2011 04:46 PM
HiVeloCT

I'm betting it was Senator Cornyn (R, TX).

Jan. 19 2011 04:13 PM
Allen from Somerville, NJ

1-19-2011: Senator Frank Lautenberg sent me an e-mail saying he voted for the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act as of December 2010. Senator Robert Menendez sent an acknowledgement that my original e-mail was received; no other response from his office.

Jan. 19 2011 03:29 PM
David G. from Oakton,VA

My guess is that these gutless sleazebags cut a bipartisan deal amongst their own to keep the bill from coming to a vote and then blamed it on one anonymous individual.

A vote would have meant embarrassment and exposure to many of the members who prefer to keep things in the dark versus transparent to the public.

Whistle-blowing is always a threat to the status quo and those in power.

Jan. 19 2011 03:12 PM
Davyd Pittman from Jersey City, NJ

Sen Lautenberg was not the hold out--just recieved an email from his office.

Jan. 19 2011 01:16 PM
Phil Mastman from Cincinnati, OH

I contacted Sherrod Brown, (D) Ohio via email, and got the following response.

"I strongly support strengthening federal laws to ensure workers have a safe and healthy workplace. I cosponsored the Protecting America’s Workers Act, which would update OSHA laws passed over 35 years ago, and expand OSHA’s oversight. This legislation would enable OSHA to protect more workers, improve transparency, and make it easier for whistleblowers to come forward. Penalties for serious, willful, and criminal violations would also increase.

During the 111th Congress, the Senate considered the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. This bill would expand protections existing under current federal personnel law. I have always been a strong supporter of efforts to protect whistleblowers. Should this legislation be introduced in the 112th Congress, I will certainly keep your views in mind."

Although his reply is a bit of a non-denial denial, I would be surprised if Senator Brown was the secret hold man.

Jan. 18 2011 05:55 PM
Nick from Magical NJ

Julie, great piece of information.

This is really great info actually, but the question remains. Why would they hide? Why would this Senator put the hold on a run into a corner and hide? If what you have listed is true, then they should be on TV!!! This is great press. By placing an anonymous hold and running away, it allows people to think the worst. All of the negative things people are saying are a result of this. So, Senator Hold Maker, come back! Go on TV and plead your case, because you aren't getting any points for hiding out.

Jan. 18 2011 01:37 PM
Susan from Ohio

Yes, there are two sides to everything. You should also note that the Government Accountability Project, also a long-time advocate of whistleblowers is a partner in this project. Please review the link provided by Shanna Devine in the earlier comments.

Also, I still take issue with the anonymous hold. Because it is done in the dark, not only is the senator who placed the hold unknown, so is the reasoning for the hold. I ask you, how is that productive? It is still very necessary to identify the senator to learn of the reasoning.

Jan. 17 2011 12:48 PM
Julie Polk from New York City

I'm excerpting information from the link Patricia Bee posted earlier. The National Whistleblowers Center strenuously OBJECTS to S. 372 for these two reasons (the ellipsis in the first excerpt refers to a specific case):

1) "The Senate bill enhances the state secrets privilege, which allows the government to unilaterally dismiss a case on national security grounds...Instead of going to court, the agency is given the power to summarily dismiss a whistleblower's case with no judicial review."

2) "S. 372 also gives the agencies accused of retaliating against national security whistleblowers the power to investigate and decide their cases. There is no Special Counsel or Inspector General review. Instead, the agency that fired the whistleblower is authorized to investigate the employee and make credibility findings on the employee it just fired. These credibility findings can be made public and used as a basis for stripping whistleblowers of their security clearance."

Here's the link to the entire NWC alert that Patricia Bee first posted:

http://capwiz.com/whistleblowers/issues/alert/?alertid=14751891

I'm a fan of On the Media and of WNYC in general (I'm a longtime member), and a passionate believer in whistleblowers' rights. My first response to the mystery hold on this bill was the same as many of yours—that it's a terrible thing to hold this bill back. But in the face of this information, it's clear that there are two powerful reasons to at least stop and think about the implications of passing it as written—which is exactly the function a hold serves.

I didn't know the ability to place anonymous holds existed, and I agree it seems antithetical to transparent government. But there's a distinction to be made here between the process of anonymous holds and the assumption that whoever held the bill is some kind of... what did one commenter say? "scumsucker?" That's exactly the kind of inflammatory invective that we've been talking about in the wake of the Tuscon shootings, and completely counterproductive. Much more productive to operate from the assumption that no matter how objectionable you find something, there may be a reason behind it that you haven't thought of. Then if you still object, at least you have a chance to have a rational conversation about it instead of everyone thumping their chests.

Jan. 17 2011 11:48 AM
Estelle from Austin

It's Kay Bailey HUTCHISON, not Hutchinson.

Jan. 17 2011 10:47 AM
Bob Young from Grand Rapids MI

Dear Senator Stabenow:

On December 22nd, in the face of seemingly unanimous bipartisan support, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (Bill S.372) was killed at the last minute when a mystery Senator placed what’s called an anonymous hold on the bill. This bill had already been passed by the Senate earlier in December and by the House earlier that same day, but in the final vote on the reconciled bill, which is designed to protect government workers from being punished, it was shut down by a lone anonymous hold.

I think I know you well enough by now to feel confident that you are not the anonymous Senator. But on the outside chance that you know who put a hold on this bill, I must ask:

"Who killed he Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (Bill S.372)?

Jan. 16 2011 09:00 PM
Mike from TN

Email sent to Bill Ketron....awaiting a reply.

Mr. Ketron,

I am curious as to who was behind the anonymous hold placed on the Whistle Blower Protection Act (Bill S.372)

I am hoping you might shed some light on this.....I hope it wasn't you, and hope you might comment on this. It's ridiculous that one lone, anonymous holdout could derail such an important bill. If ones conviction causes one to disagree with this bill, then one should have the gumption to put his/her name on it. This bill needs to be passed. I look forward to a response.

Thanks much.

Jan. 16 2011 07:39 PM
Lee

I emailed Senator McCain today (1-16-11) and am looking forward to a response.

Jan. 16 2011 03:30 PM
David from Austin

Emailed Senator Cornyn's office 1/16.

Jan. 16 2011 01:50 AM
Patricia Bee from Florida

Former FL Senator George Lemieux is not on the list, nor are other senators who got voted out. Isn't it possible, maybe even more likely, that the GOP would have called upon a senator who was leaving the Senate to make this vote? Or would Senate rules prohibit that? Just something to consider.

Jan. 15 2011 07:14 PM
Patricia Bee from Florida

I'm all for helping whistleblowers and think it a shame that this bill was upended. However, in researching a bit more about the bill I came across this:

http://capwiz.com/whistleblowers/issues/alert/?alertid=14751891from the National Whistleblowers Center and this:

http://gflorencescott.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/senate-bill-372-an-unmitigated-disaster-coming-right-at-you/

from the Whistleblower Support Blog, both advocating contacting one's senator to invoke the anonymous hold. Were the portions of the bill to which these people objected changed to their liking before what was to have been the original final vote? If not, perhaps their lobbying was the reason a senator invoked his right.

Jan. 15 2011 04:30 PM
Michael L. Love from Baltimore

Many thanks to everyone who is participating in this action. I have been promoting it. I also contacted my Senators via email to thank them for not holding up the bill. Hopefully we can get this question settled.

Regards,
proclus
http://www.gnu-darwin.org/

Jan. 14 2011 10:04 PM
Fred from West Chester, PA

Alex, would it be possible for you to put a running total in your table so that we can see immediately how we are doing and can you list the Senators that are being the most difficult to get answers from? Yes, all that have not answered but there could be those that have had many attempts with no answer. As we get closer the list of those most difficult should also help us find our missing culprit. Thank you for starting this very worthwhile search.

Jan. 14 2011 05:40 PM
Alex Goldman from New York City

Thanks to everyone who has commented and called their Senators. Please remember if you have contacted a Senator's office to try and get the name of the staff member you've talked to. Additionally, please send all information to blowthewhistle@wnyc.org.

Thanks,
Alex Goldman
Producer, On the Media

Jan. 13 2011 02:14 PM
Stephanie Swiger from Pennsylvanie

I contacted Pat Toomey and Robert Casey of PA. Neither of them placed the hold.

Jan. 13 2011 01:30 PM
mary mcg from Maplewood, NJ

I have written to Sen. Menendez to ask why he will not release his response.

Jan. 13 2011 12:54 PM
publiuscitizen2011

Annex to Bruce from San Rafael;

A number of nefarious/undemocratic, yet, long established and institutionalized practices are as archaic as the word/expression you closed with (Egads), e.g., the 1. the electoral college, 2. lobbying, 3. filibustering (from the Dutch word: "vrijbuiter" in English, "pirate"), 3. the employment of mercenaries (Blackwater/Xe), the Patriot Act, 4. Guantanamo prison, 5. Renditions=extra-judicial kidnapping, Et cetera.
O.M.G./Egads!

Jan. 13 2011 03:14 AM
publiuscitizen2011

Annex to Bruce from San Rafael;

A number of nefarious/undemocratic, yet, long established and institutionalized practices are as archaic as the word/expression you closed with (Egads), e.g., the 1. the electoral college, 2. lobbying, 3. filibustering (from the Dutch word: "vrijbuiter" in English, "pirate"), 3. the employment of mercenaries (Blackwater/Xe), the Patriot Act, 4. Guantanamo prison, 5. Renditions=extra-judicial kidnapping, Et cetera.
O.M.G./Egads!

Jan. 13 2011 03:10 AM
Alex Goldman from New York City

Dear Dan,

Thank you for the comment. Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project calls this a "technically precise" way of confirming that he did not place the hold, rather than an obfuscation.

Thanks again,
Alex Goldman
Producer, On the Media

Jan. 12 2011 05:36 PM
Dan Michniewicz from CO

"Sen. Alexander did not object to Senate consideration of S. 372"

Does this statement unequivocally rule out that he placed the anon hold?

Jan. 12 2011 05:28 PM
Mike D. from Quartz Hill, CA

I've contacted my two senators, Feinstein and Boxer, and I'm waiting for a response.

Jan. 12 2011 04:05 PM
Shanna Devine from Washington, DC

While this legislation, like all bills, is imperfect, the whistleblower and transparency community’s overwhelming consensus, with the exception of a few, is that this bill is a huge milestone forward (the strongest rights to make it this far for federal whistleblowers).

The Make It Safe Coalition's steering committee, which consists of the American Civil Liberties Union, American Federation of Government Employees, GAP, National Treasury Employees Union, Project On Government Oversight, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote a point by point rebuttal memo to concerns raised by one organization, http://bit.ly/fPLbnX

Jan. 12 2011 02:51 PM
Dave

Unfortunately, the whistleblower “enhancement” protection law for Federal Employees considered in the lame duck Congress actually excluded 7 of 9 major reforms and rolled back rights. The obituaries over the defeat of the WPEA in the last Congress (S. 372), have taken on an air of nostalgia over how the forces of "good" were defeated by one lone anonymous Senate "hold," that somehow caused a major landmark whistleblower rights bill for federal employees to be defeated. If only this story line was half-true. In reality, the final, compromised version of S. 372 was the worst and weakest whistleblower protection law approved by the Senate or the House over the past 30 years. It was fatally flawed and divisive legislation. - - Let's get it right this time! http://bit.ly/dUU5T6

Jan. 12 2011 02:09 PM
don bronkema from Wash DC

c'est degoutant, ca

Jan. 12 2011 01:42 PM
Alex Goldman from New York City

Thanks to everyone for their continued support of this project. We have now gotten confirmation from 24 Senators that they have not killed the bill.

In response to some questions, we unfortunately can't know whether someone has lied or not about putting the hold on the bill. This is why we try to get the names of the people we talk to in the Senator's office, to hold them accountable if it comes to light they did, in fact, lie. We have no choice but to rely on the honor system when asking this question. However, were a Senator to lie and subsequently be found out, the fallout would almost certainly be much worse for them politically than just telling us the truth in the first place.

Thanks again for your interest in the project. Keep calling your Senators!

Alex Goldman

Producer, On the Media

Jan. 12 2011 11:40 AM
Mike Caprio from Brooklyn, NY

How does anyone know whether Lieberman lied about killing the bill? None of them has any incentive to say "yes".

Jan. 12 2011 10:42 AM
Linda Horn

This is an April, 2010, letter sent to Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell with a list of Senators who opposed Anonymous/Secret Holds at that time. The changes/pressures/deals/partisanship since April may have impacted this "pledge". It would be good to know if any returning Senators requested their names be removed. There's been some speculation Chris Dodd may have done it as parting "gift" to collegues in the CYA Senate.
http://mccaskill.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=995

Jan. 12 2011 09:16 AM
pierce from Michigan

Emailed both senators. They are usually quick to respond by USPS so I'm optimistic about their response.

Jan. 12 2011 08:12 AM
Curt from Minnesota

I sent an email to Sen. Franken of Minnesota to request the name of the senator who put the hold on the bill. I will see what he says as I don't believe him to be the one who would do so. Whoever did this should be removed from office and not allowed in politics ever again.

Jan. 12 2011 07:29 AM
Geoffrey Anderson from Bordentown NJ

Emailed Senator Menendez. Sen. Lautenberg has no email so will have to phone during business hours.

Jan. 12 2011 12:35 AM
Tom Cantlon

The number who refuse to be pinned down should make a heck of a story if cast right. Isn't this just exactly like when everyone in the neighborhood saw a crime but they all tell the police they saw nothing, a group stonewall, as long as no one cracks the police (in this case the public they're supposed to serve, their constituents) are stonewalled.

Jan. 12 2011 12:15 AM
cathy logan elmhurst il

emailed Kirk and Durbin.

Jan. 12 2011 12:03 AM
John from Madison, AL

It's funny to me how a Senator will tell his own constituents that he doesn't discuss his actions.
Accountability is a bitch: Shelby (R-AL) should definitely be replaced with the next chance we get.

Jan. 11 2011 11:27 PM
Aylene Kovensky

Holds have been around for a while. Supposedly, they no longer can be secret... Sen. Coburn HAD put a secret hold on an earlier whistleblower bill. Since he has said on his web site he is particularly interested in uncovering waste and fraud, it's rather hypocritical. Ironically, my husband blew the whistle against fraud in his agency and his suit has not yet been settled after 12+ years later. Last go around the new whistle-blower legislation was supposed to be included in the TARP. Sen. Susan Collins, also supposedly a BIG supporter of the legislation, voted no and persuaded Sen. Reid to pull it.If anyone cares, I've compiled a "Short, sad history of whistleblower legislation cvovering the last 7 years. It's a pathetic account.

Jan. 11 2011 10:24 PM
Joe from Orlando

Emailed bill nelson as well... I'll update if he responds.

Jan. 11 2011 10:10 PM
Whit Whitaker from Fleetwood, NC

Emailed on 1/10/11 both NC Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr asking...no reply as yet from either-Jan.12.

Jan. 11 2011 10:04 PM
ironcitadel from USA

Sounds like a 2010 version of "Where's Waldo".

Jan. 11 2011 07:52 PM
adam smith

short article at cato on senate holds. worth a read.

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/obsession-with-senate-holds-is-misguided/

Jan. 11 2011 07:19 PM
buskirkgirl2 from WV

Emailed Senator Joe Manchin, WV 1-11-11

Jan. 11 2011 07:15 PM
Andrew D. Jackson from Crown Point, IN

As noted in my earlier Email, today I called the offices of both Indiana senators: Dan Coates and Richard Lugar. Both staffs denied knowledge of who the culprit was. Dan Coates was recently sworn in and wasn't in office when S 372 got derailed . Both staffs got my address to mail me information and responses.

Andrew D. Jackson

Jan. 11 2011 06:50 PM
Melydia Clewell from Chattanooga, TN

Stephanie Allen, Communications Director for Kay Hagan, when asked if Sen Hagan placed the hold on S372:

"No, she did not."

Jan. 11 2011 06:19 PM
Melydia Clewell from Chattanooga, TN

From Joan Kirchner, Communications Director for Johnny Isakson:

“Senator Isakson did not place a hold on this bill.”

Jan. 11 2011 06:17 PM
Andrew B.

I emailed both Kirk and Durbin from Illinois.

Jan. 11 2011 06:01 PM
dnm from phl

I assume that anonymous holds come off when the senator leaves office? Specter isn't on the list, and I don't think this was his style, anyway.

Jan. 11 2011 05:34 PM
justin

Emailed Rockefeller 1/11/11.

Jan. 11 2011 05:31 PM
WilmaR from San Francisco, CA

I have just emailed my senators for the second time. I am appalled that such a betrayal is even possible. Obama's campaign theme was "Transparency We Can Believe In"! What a big fat LIE. He seems to be prosecuting more whistleblowers than any president in history! Which could mean the "secret" hold voter is him, or more probably Biden!

Jan. 11 2011 04:55 PM
Davyd Pittman from Jersey City, NJ

I have contacted both Senator Menendez and Senator Lautenberg in NJ via email. Will update with a response when I receive one.

Jan. 11 2011 04:18 PM
Melydia Clewell from Chattanogoa, TN

I emailed press assistant Beth Tipps in Senator Corker’s office and received this reply:

Senator Corker is NOT responsible for the December 22, 2010, hold placed on S. 372 (Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act).

Jan. 11 2011 03:45 PM
Melydia Clewell from Chattanooga, TN

I emailed staffers for Senator Lamar Alexander asking if he was responsible for the hold.

Jim Jeffries replied to say “Sen. Alexander did not object to Senate consideration of S. 372.”

Jan. 11 2011 03:35 PM
Rafi from Bloomington, IN

I just heard from Senator Luger's office (IN) that he did not put the hold on the bill.

Jan. 11 2011 03:05 PM
sj from OKC

I have just emailed Sen. Inhofe from Oklahoma and waiting for a reply.

Jan. 11 2011 02:32 PM
Susan from Ohio

It looks like there is a slow down of responses. Might be because senate is dealing with the aftermath of the Arizona shooting, it takes a few days to answer emails OR they are discussing among themselves how to stop this public push to identify one of their own. Hope we all keep following up until we get answers.

Jan. 11 2011 01:32 PM

I emailed and phoned Bob Casey, PA and again urged him to push for real Senate Rules clean up.
Democrats ARE still the majority there.

Jan. 11 2011 11:01 AM
Alex Goldman from New York

I would like to thank everyone in the comments for their efforts, and I encourage you to continue calling your senators until we get definitive answers from everyone on this list.

Please email us any contact you have with your senators at blowthewhistle@wnyc.org. Additionally, if you speak with someone at a Senator's office who can confirm whether or not they put an anonymous hold on the bill, please get their full names. Thanks again for your help!

Sincerely,
Alex Goldman
Producer, On the Media

Jan. 11 2011 10:54 AM
Mike Melnyk from Canonsburg, PA

Any ideas on how to contact Senators who have just left office (Arlen Specter, for example)? One of they may have very well put the anonymous hold on the legislation?

Jan. 11 2011 10:32 AM

When I found the proper way to address the question by reading tips by Tom Devine of WNYC, there was during the second call, still a response from the same staff member, Sarah Reinprecht, that his office will not release Senator Menendez's response. To which I responded that I will have to report him as a NO. She was going to go on and on. This already took a total of 9 (nine) minutes. I hung up rather than have her bend my ear. She does not seem trustworthy.

Jan. 11 2011 09:55 AM
Stanton from TN

I emailed Lamar Alexander on 1-11-2011. I'll report back if I hear anything.

Jan. 11 2011 04:26 AM
Debra Kness

I emailed Senator McCaskill (D-MO) tonight to ask her if she would forward me the name. I know it's not her since she wrote the letter requesting all Senators to pledge to support the legislation. Senator Bond (R-MO) never responds to my emails. I will try to call tomorrow.

Jan. 10 2011 11:05 PM
Donna Brian from TN

I emailed Corker and Alexander from TN. I'll let you know when and if I hear back.

Jan. 10 2011 10:38 PM
elijah lovejoy from hawaii


according to sen. Akaka's office (spoke w lola) the hold was placed

"by an anonymous republican".

That makes the search domain smaller.

Call if you have a republican senator, it doesn't take long.

Jan. 10 2011 09:03 PM
Christie Burgess from Hood River, Oregon

I e-mailed both Ron Wyden & Jeff Merkley asking the question and requested a reply. I also asked for any information they had on who did it. I do not believe either one of them did it but I asked for confirmation.

Jan. 10 2011 08:53 PM
Doug from Boston

The response by Senator Sessions's office looks rather odd and, indeed, somewhat suspect.

Jan. 10 2011 08:34 PM
james bates from fl

The comments and efforts reported by your subscribers heartens me. Too bad such a small number of folks are interested in how our political process works or doesn't work, as the case may be.

Jan. 10 2011 07:05 PM
G.W. Schulz from Austin. Texas

Hutchinson's office looking into it for me. Cornyn already taken care of, it appears.

G.W. Schulz
Center for Investigative Reporting

Jan. 10 2011 05:27 PM
Wendy Holmes from Providence, R.I.

I e-mailed Rhode Island senators Reed and Whitehouse. Will post replies, if I get them.

Jan. 10 2011 05:10 PM

NJ- Sen. R. Menendez: email & general response to call NJ office. After call to office, was switched to Washington office and a Sarah Reinprecht who, after checking, asked "my number". Upon giving her my phone #, she said there was no bill by that #. I corrected her, she left again & asked if it was a federal or state bill. When I said federal, she left then returned and said, "to the best of (her) knowledge, he did not submit a vote on the bill." It seemed quite a runaround and will not leave me voting for him in the next election.

Jan. 10 2011 04:45 PM
Ken

How about a new column in this table to show which senators have (and which have not) signed the McCaskill letter (http://mccaskill.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=995)?

Jan. 10 2011 04:27 PM
Doug Wiley from Louisville, KY

Email sent to McConnell from KY. I'm new here so I have no idea what to expect, but I'll find out or they'll have to refuse to tell me.

Jan. 10 2011 04:25 PM
June Alexander

Someone who did not vote for it - usually would mean the person would be afraid -they are hiding something themselves

Jan. 10 2011 03:49 PM
John L. Clark from Cleveland, Ohio

What can we do if it was one of the outgoing Senators who had the secret hold? Do we just give up on accountability in that case?

Jan. 10 2011 03:46 PM
Mike Melnyk from Canonsburg, PA

Just spoke with Senator Casey's staffer who worked on the legislation (Christina Baumgartner), and she said that the Senator did NOT put hold on the bill.

Jan. 10 2011 02:26 PM
George Schwarz

I don't expect honesty from John Cornyn, but I asked anyway.

George Schwarz, publisher
The Amarillo Independent
www.amarilloindy.com

Jan. 10 2011 02:12 PM
Jean Gabriel Jolivet, Ph.D.

I emailed Sen. Roberts, R-KS. I will update you once I hear back.

Jan. 10 2011 01:35 PM
Susan Schibler from Columbus, Ohio

I emailed Sen. Sherrod Brown on 1-4-11 and received a reply on 1-6-11 with a statement of past history of whistleblower support but did not address the secret hold question. I followed up on the same day asking for a clear yes or no on the secret hold. I have not received any further response. I really don't think Sherrod Brown is the culprit but as I said in my inquiry until it is a matter of record I will continue to question it.

Jan. 10 2011 01:23 PM
Shanna Devine from Washington, DC

Whistleblowers are the public's eyes and ears to government abuse. It is crucial that this anonymous Senator come out of the closet so that we can move forward and pass legislation to protect the brave civil servants that protect the public at large.

Jan. 10 2011 01:12 PM
Greg from Bethesda, md

Probably the culprit feared someone blowing the whistle on him or her. This makes a mockery of our government.

Jan. 10 2011 01:09 PM
jellova

I emailed Boxer and Feinstein on 1/10/11

Jan. 10 2011 11:59 AM
Tim Dienes

Do you really think they would admit it?
How gullible are you?

Jan. 10 2011 10:35 AM
Sarah Gangemi from Monrovia, CA

This is an important bill. We have to find out who killed it. Spread the word.

Jan. 10 2011 10:24 AM
Jean

One of our senator has left the building, he of "fiscal responsibilty" and I am very doubtful that Senator Gregg would give an accurate answer. I did write and call Senator Shaheen's office and she does not participate in anonymous holds I am told.

Good work on this article, and let's keep going.

Jan. 10 2011 09:30 AM
Dito from Little Rock, AR

I emailed Senator Pryor about this.

Jan. 10 2011 09:19 AM
Allen from Somerville, NJ

I emailed Senators Lautenberg and Menendez on 1/10/11. They're usually good at responding quickly.

Jan. 10 2011 12:07 AM
Eugene from Seattle

Although I am doubtful that they are responsible, I have emailed the two senators from Washington State.

Jan. 09 2011 09:39 PM
PatF from WA from Washington State

For those who want to know the hows, whys and wherefores of the "Secret Hold" in the U.S. Senate, there is a really good article about it in Wikipedia. (No, i didn't write it!) As stated there, its use didn't become common until the 1970s.

I've sent a query to both of my senators. I'd be surprised if either one of them did it, but the WikiLeaks controversy certainly puts an interesting slant on the issue.

Jan. 09 2011 09:33 PM
Susan De Antonio

I've written to senators Boxer and Feinstein asking if they who did this. I sincerely believe neither of them would do something this detrimental.

Jan. 09 2011 06:26 PM
Dave from Seattle, WA

I've emailed senators A - G so far. Took about an hour but worth it! Email the rest tonight.

Jan. 09 2011 06:23 PM
Wendy from Sunriver, Oregon

I've requested information from Senators Wyden and Merkley in my state of Oregon.

It is cowardice. Wouldn't surprise me if a non-returning senator did it, knowing he or she couldn't be held responsible.

Thankfully, they did pass the 911 first responders medical care package.

Jan. 09 2011 06:06 PM
Alex Goldman from New York, NY

Thank you for your comments. There was a typo in the Schumer column. His office has confirmed that he did NOT put the hold on the bill. It has been updated. Sorry for any confusion.

Alex Goldman
Producer, On the Media.

Jan. 09 2011 03:08 PM
KS from Brooklyn, NY

Wait--I never got a reply from Schumer's office, but the notes in this table say that he DID put on the anonymous hold. Which is it? Please clarify, as I will be seriously put out with Chuck if that's true.

Jan. 09 2011 02:13 PM
Jarod HM

Having voted in Maryland but currently residing in Massachusetts, I have left messages for Senators. Cardin, Mikulski, and Kerry encouraging them to make an official statement about their role with the hold. We follow up with emails.

Jan. 09 2011 01:39 PM
JR from Atlanta

Asked the two GA senators by email.

Jan. 09 2011 01:33 PM
Catherine from Rockville Centre

I have written Senators Gillibrand and Shumer. I KNOW Chuck didn't do it and I believe that Kristen wouldn't. But I asked.

Jan. 09 2011 12:20 PM
Jason A. Quest

@Gary Scott: Read the article. Outgoing Senators aren't listed because they're out of office now, so they can't be held accountable for it. Incoming Senators aren't listed because they weren't in office when it happened, so they couldn't have done it.

Jan. 09 2011 10:29 AM
Hemlock Tea from Houston, TX

I've contacted both TX senators and I'll update if/when I get a response.

Jan. 09 2011 10:20 AM
Robert Weiss from Brooklyn, NY

Could you explain how this "HOLD" procedure came into existence,& for how long a Hold would be in effect? (I assume it could not be forever.)

This seems like an ideal cause for the Tea party, since it demonstrates the arrogance of incumbents to put such a horrendous procedure into effect.

Jan. 09 2011 10:02 AM
Gary Scott

It would be interesting to see which Lame Duck outgoing Representative or Senator voted this down!
Note: Indiana has only one Republican Senator listed. Outgoing Senator Bayt is unfortunately missing to query....as is newly elected Dan Coates!

Systems update glitch or intentional omission to cover the vote?

Jan. 09 2011 08:12 AM
LaLa from Seattle, WA.

We must work together and stop them from doing this kind of underhanded thing. We still have one person one vote to use.
I would love to see the name made public and I would also like to know how much money the person was given.

Jan. 08 2011 11:56 PM
e from detroit, mi

Thanks for getting this started. I've contacted Michigan senator Carl Levin. Don't expect that he's the one, but want to see ho responsive the power brokers (even the Democratic ones) are...

Jan. 08 2011 06:37 PM
Silvia Munger from Loganville, GA

Putting an annoymous hold on a bill is sheer cowardice. From whom did he get money and how much money to be bribed to do such a thing?

Jan. 08 2011 04:42 PM
Larry Hovekamp from Louisville

I already sent a message to my non-Senator, Mitch McConnell, inquiring about this parliamentary atrocity. But realistically, I nominate him as a possible suspect and culprit to put a trick such as this hold to thwart the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. The scumsucker is well-versed in Congressional procedure, as well as a corporate prostitute, and is likely to do this sort of preemptive and secretive trick.

Jan. 08 2011 03:20 PM
Roberta Burnett from Tempe, AZ

I sent the whistleblower act request to Sens. Kyl and McCain. McCain didn't have a place to request a response, fyi.

Jan. 08 2011 12:57 PM

The entire Atlanta Public School "system" is under scrutiny for "Cheating on Standardized Tests" and "Misuse of Public Funds". Whistle-Blower protection is needed for teachers and administrators willing to step forward and tell what they know. The GBI was called in to investigate from the Georgia Governor's office because of the faulty, mock systems that are currently in place throughout the state.
I would not be shocked to find out that the "Mystery Senator" is from the down home, "good ole boy", southern state of Georgia

Jan. 08 2011 11:43 AM
Leah Boyd from Branford, Ct.

It is absolute cowardice. If one has a conviction, whether I agree with it or not, one has a right and duty to stand up and state it. I respect this. If it is in behalf of a collegue, anonimity is sheer cowardice.

Jan. 08 2011 11:43 AM
John Sam, Jr from Atlanta, Georgia

The entire Atlanta Public School "system" is under scrutiny for "Cheating on Standardized Tests" and "Misuse of Public Funds". Whistle-Blower protection is needed for teachers and administrators willing to step forward and tell what they know. The GBI was called in to investigate from the Georgia Governor's office because of the faulty, mock systems that are currently in place throughout the state.
I would not be shocked to find out that the "Mystery Senator" is from the down home, "good ole boy", southern state of Georgia.

Jan. 08 2011 11:34 AM
Fred Strickland from Fayetteville, GA

We need a list of all such 'tricks' than can
be used by elected official in Washington to thwart good bills.

There is a way to get rid of these characters! Go to www.GOOOH.com; read and join us.

Jan. 08 2011 11:29 AM
Carol Ginsburg from Glenview, Illinois 60025

What is the the history of the hold? Is it something recent because I think that people should know the background because it is truly scary.

Thank you

Jan. 08 2011 10:53 AM
Bruce from San Rafael, CA

How can one senator anonymously defeat a bill (by putting a hold on it)?
This permissible travesty, undemocratic action, and secret maneuver ranks up there with the ridiculous filibuster rules in the Senate.
What has our federal legislative branch come to? Egads!

Jan. 07 2011 08:10 PM

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