Are Democrats in the state legislature worried about whistleblowers?

That’s the only conclusion one can draw after legislative Democrats this week refused to back a bipartisan proposal to institute legal protections for government whistleblowers following a series of anti-transparency vetoes from Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

When the legislature approved whistleblower protections earlier this year, every Democrat in the House and the Senate voted yes.

Governor Whitmer, in a craven display of power, vetoed the protections, and this week Democrats in the legislature had the opportunity to stand up for state workers, to back government transparency, and to defend their own records.

They refused. Each of them.  Not a single legislative Democrat was willing to cast a vote to override the Governor’s veto.  (Every Republican able to cast a vote to override the anti-worker veto did.)

The whistleblower protections legislative Democrats rejected were created to ensure government employees in the Executive Branch (read: the folks who work for the Governor and her departments) never had to fear for their jobs or their paychecks if they felt compelled to come clean about waste, fraud, crime, or any other malfeasance inside state government.

Things like secret contracts with the Governor’s political consultants to access private patient health care data during the COVID-19 crisis, for instance.

Democrats’ shameful weakness makes it harder for state employees to come clean, and easier for the Governor’s appointees to punish those who speak up.

Their refusal to stand up for workers is an attack on every Michiganian, on government transparency, and on her own staff.

And it begs the age-old question – what are they hiding?


Tony Daunt

Executive Director

Michigan Freedom Fund