Grassley blasts Obama on whistle-blowers

March 17, 2009 at 8:03 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 17 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama reneged on a campaign promise by claiming some officials could be exempted from whistle-blower protections, a senator says.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Monday criticized the president in a letter citing a signing statement Obama included when he approved a $410 billion spending bill last week, The New York Times reported.

In his signing statement, Obama cited a provision in the bill that gives whistle-blower protection to government officials who give information to Congress about their jobs or agencies, saying the law couldn't limit his power to control the flow of "properly privileged or otherwise confidential" information from White House officials to lawmakers.

"This is a shocking statement that acknowledges that you would be willing to give an order preventing employee whistle-blowers from making disclosures to Congress," Grassley wrote in his letter to Obama. "I do not see how this statement can be reconciled with your campaign promise to protect whistle-blowers."

An unnamed White House official told the Times that the administration would apply the same standards on the issue as did Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, who issued similar signing statements.

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