Tag Archives: whistleblower

AG Paxton certainly is a ‘public employee’

(Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is making yet another dubious argument that requires a comment from, oh, this blog.

Paxton’s legal team is arguing that as an elected official he is exempt from being held accountable for a whistleblower allegation that he has broken several laws in the conduct of his public office.

As the Texas Tribune reports: The Texas attorney general’s office is attempting to fight off efforts by four former aides to take depositions and issue subpoenas in their lawsuit claiming they were illegally fired after telling authorities they believed Attorney General Ken Paxton was breaking the law.

The agency is arguing that Paxton is “not a public employee,” and thus the office cannot be sued under the Texas Whistleblower Act, which aims to protect government workers from retaliation when they report superiors for breaking the law.

I beg to differ. Strenuously, actually. You see, the attorney general draws his salary from the public trough. Who provides the money for that salary? We do! You and I pay that money. That means the attorney general is a “public employee.”

He works for us!

Also, from the Texas Tribune: Four former Paxton aides claim they were fired in retaliation for telling authorities they believed Paxton had done illegal favors for a political donor, Austin real estate investor Nate Paul. The whistleblowers’ allegations have reportedly sparked an FBI investigation.

Texas AG’s office argues whistleblower laws don’t apply to Ken Paxton | The Texas Tribune

Ken Paxton ought to resign as attorney general. He needs to free the public office from the embarrassment he brings to it … and to those of us who pay his salary!

Whistleblower is entitled to keep ID a secret

Donald Trump and a number of prominent Republicans want the whistleblower who tore the skin off the impeachment fight to reveal his or her identity.

Trump says the individual is a “Never Trumper,” a former Barack Obama campaign or administration aide. Senate Republicans want the individual’s identity made public and they want the person to testify in public.

I want to dial this back.

I have always understood that the law creating the whistleblower allowed for people with information to share about government abuses to remain secret. That is why they’re called “whistleblowers,” isn’t that right? They are afforded a level of protection from those who would bully them, coerce them, intimidate them, force them to take back what they say.

The individual who, um, “blew the whistle” on the president seeking foreign government help in his re-election bid did so on information he or she obtained. One can challenge the veracity of what the person has revealed. There’s no need, though, to identify the individual, who is entitled to the level of protection that the whistleblower law provides.

There will be plenty of opportunities to challenge the testimony of other individuals with even more direct knowledge of what occurred, who did it and for what purpose.

Let’s all stay tuned and primed for when it all hits the fan.

Trump’s hypocrisy on full display … imagine it!

Donald Trump now is insisting that “the whistleblower” whose comments have helped trigger the move toward presidential impeachment must testify in public. He or she must sit in front of Congress and answer questions out loud.

Written testimony “is not acceptable,” according to the latest version of Trump’s doctrine.

Really? He said that?

Why do you suppose he refused to answer questions posed to him directly by former special counsel Robert Mueller III during the investigation into alleged Russian collusion during the 2016 presidential campaign? Why, the president only responded in writing to Mueller’s team of investigators.

Hypocrisy, anyone?

Plot thickens rapidly with 2nd whistleblower

Well now. It appears that the “second-hand” account of one whistleblower is about to take a back seat to a “first-hand” account of a second individual reportedly with more direct knowledge of what went down in that infamous Phone Call involving Donald J. Trump.

What might the president’s defenders say to the second person who might come forward with information on what Trump said to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zellenskiy?

The plot is getting thicker than a vat of gravy.

As National Public Radio reports: Lawyer Mark Zaid, who is part of a team of attorneys representing the initial whistleblower, tells NPR that the new whistleblower has talked to the inspector general of the intelligence community but has not filed a complaint, which Zaid says is not necessary in order for the individual’s account to be protected.

“By law, when a witness is interviewed by the IG, that constitutes a protected disclosure, provides them legal protection from retaliation,” Zaid tells NPR.

The second whistleblower reportedly is an individual with direct knowledge of what the two heads of state said to each other on July 25. What intrigues me is that the Whistleblower No. 2 lawyer’s willingness to announce what might be in store is that No. 2 well might corroborate what No. 1 said in that memo released to the public a couple of weeks ago.

What did No. 1 say? He or she said Trump pressured Zellenskiy into helping with Trump’s re-election; he asked for dirt on Joe Biden, a possible 2020 campaign opponent; he held up the deployment of military equipment that the United States had promised Ukraine in its fight against Russia-backed rebels; and that the White House is working to cover it up.

All of that came after the White House released a memo of the phone call that revealed it all in the first place!

So, we have the president’s words released by the White House. We have a whistleblower, believed to be an individual in the intelligence community, revealing some serious wrongdoing. Now we might have a second whistleblower with more direct, first-hand, ringside knowledge of what went down.

Are the walls closing in on the president?

I believe they are.

Trump takes aim at protected whistleblower

As if Donald John Trump wasn’t in enough hot water …

The president of the United States asked a foreign leader for re-election help and for dirt on a political foe; that’s bad enough right there. Then he suggested he would withhold money to help the foreign leader’s country in its fight against an aggressor nation until he got the help he sought; that makes it even worse.

House Democrats are gearing up for an impeachment effort against the president.

Is the president defending himself on the merits of what he has asked the Ukrainian president? Oh, no!

He has decided to take aim at the intelligence official who blew the whistle on what he or she believes is occurring, which is that the White House is trying to subvert the Constitution and is seeking to cover that effort up!

Trump wants to “interview” the whistleblower. Hmm. Is that, um, tampering with someone who is protected under federal law?

And then we see Trump talking about the whistleblower being “almost a spy,” and suggesting/implying that we need to treat spies the “way we used to” treat them, “when we were smart.” Does that mean execution?

The whistleblower’s lawyer has issued a warning that any effort to interfere with his client’s effort would violate federal law.

This individual, who reportedly comes from the intelligence community, is protected under the law to do what he or she has done. This person has presented, to my way of thinking, credible accusations that the president has violated his oath of office. He has solicited foreign government help in assuring his re-election. Trump has sought help from foreign governments for dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Furthermore, the president has put our national security at risk by withholding money to pay for weaponry that Ukrainians want to help them fight the Russians, who have invaded Ukraine; he would release the money if the Ukrainians decided to “play ball” with Trump’s re-election team.

Now he wants to know the identity of the person who has outed him? He threatens something “bad” happening if that individual doesn’t reveal his or her identity?

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we have yet another “long national nightmare” in the making.

You mustn’t threaten The Whistleblower, Mr. POTUS

Donald Trump wants to meet the individual who filed that whistleblower report alleging that the president violated his oath of office by soliciting help from a foreign government in (a) getting him re-elected and (b) digging up dirt on a potential 2020 presidential campaign rival.

That ain’t how it works, Mr. President.

He said the individual faces “big consequences” if he or she doesn’t meet with the president. What in the world does that mean?

The law creating the whistleblower system of accountability is design to protect these individuals from reprisal, even from the president. It does not require public officials fingered by the whistleblower to “face his accuser.” It’s a unique law that protects those who reveal wrongdoing within our government.

This individual has alleged that the president compromised our national security by soliciting foreign government campaign assistance. The whistleblower also alleges that Trump withheld support for Ukraine until it produces the goods on Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Ukraine, I hasten to add, is in the middle of a fight with Russian aggressors and has sought anti-tank weaponry supplied by the United States.

This whistleblower has performed a supreme act of public service. He or she isn’t a “rotten snitch,” as Fox commentator Geraldo Rivera has said. This person is likely to testify soon before the House Intelligence Committee; the panel needs to protect this person and is working to ensure that his or her safety is guaranteed.

So, the president is flying off the rails once again as Congress goes about doing its due diligence in preparing for likely impeachment proceedings against him.

Buckle down and suck it up, Mr. President. You are entitled to defend yourself, but do so honorably, not with threats against someone who is risking everything by coming forward.