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From a 'Whistleblower' who was fired and paid 'Hush Money'

Whistleblowers and other vermin


Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow.

"So many ducks, so little time." Unknown.

It is less than 48 hours since I returned from a month of traveling. My e-mail pile is still higher than the tulip poplars outside my window and last night when I wrote about "Polar Bears, Politics, & Prognostications" I said that I try to avoid being political. Evidently, trying to avoid politics while living in the shadow of our Capital is like trying to avoid duck hunting in North Dakota or bass fishing in Florida. To quote a recent President, here I "go again".

Yesterday morning I was told by a "confidential informant" that Congressman John Dingell was going to be holding hearings about "whistleblower" firings over the past seven years and particularly the fact that they were required to sign an agreement to never again seek government employment as a condition of getting a cash settlement from the government. My "informant" suggested that they might like to hear from me since I had to sign such an agreement eight years ago as a condition of receiving a cash settlement after 10 months sitting at home with no duties. Frankly, I smiled to myself and agreed that I would see if I could help and would call Dingell's office. I did not hold out much hope of being of assistance but I would try.

That was over 24 hours ago and it is now clear to me that I will not have my call returned.

What I am about to relate isn't really about me or even the good Congressman, it is about the current state of political affairs in this nation. This state of affairs is what we each need to focus on rather than the latest "decision" by some bureaucrat or lawyer in the Interior Department about the definition of "habitat" or what some Regional Director or Wolf "Coordinator" just said at a meeting. To bring animals and the environment back under our control through our elected state governments and to reassert our property rights and the proper Constitutional role of the Federal government REQUIRES fundamental amendment or repeal of most of these recent (+/- 40 years) LAWS. That requires an electorate placing committed politicians in office. Anything short of that is merely "lipstick on a pig".

So I called Congressman Dingell's office and asked to speak to the staff person handling this hearing. The young lady was pleasant and said it "was probably something to do with 'the Committee' and she would forward me". The next young lady was equally pleasant and said the person wasn't "located here" but was located in the Ford Building. (Think of how wonderful it must be to have a building [even such an 'out-building'] or a refuge or a bridge or whatever named after you! Why it is almost enough to make one want to take up politics. Note that was a joke.) The next young lady said the fellow I wanted was busy and would I want to leave a message? I said I did and left my name and phone number and mentioned the circumstances of my "whistle blowing" and subsequent "agreement" conditions. I concluded that I had several insights about those "agreements" that might be useful to him if he had a few minutes.

Enough time has now passed that I no longer expect to have my call returned. I am not surprised nor am I disappointed. I am glad I made the effort because like "the dog that did not bark" in the Sherlock Holmes mystery, the silence says much.

Congressman Dingell is a Michigan Congressman from a District South of Detroit. This District encompasses some of the most famous duck marshes and decoy collecting areas in the upper Midwest. The Detroit River and Lake Erie marshes are legendary waterfowl areas with a rich history. His father was a long-term Congressman from this same District and like his son a reputed "big hunter and fisherman". His father is famous for sponsoring the "Dingell-Johnson tax" collected on fishing tackle and distributed to State fish and wildlife agencies (by the US Fish & Wildlife Service) for SPORT Fish Restoration. The Congressman lists one of his former jobs (the other is "Attorney") as "Park Ranger". All in all he seems like my kind of guy but I learned long ago that nothing is as it appears here in fantasyland.

The good Congressman has been in this office for 40 some years. He originally was a big advocate for hunting and fishing but years ago he morphed into a compliant accomplice (to government agencies) in annual government land purchases for refuges and parks and forests et al. He steadily accumulated "seniority" like his Senate counterpart, Senator Byrd of West Virginia, and has come to wield enormous power that helps some and crushes others. What is that old saying about "power" and "absolute power"? His District has evolved to a point of where he actually had a close race last time due in no small measure to an influx of many Middle Eastern-origin voters whose expectations and interests are not necessarily those of the blue collar workers that loved him and his Dad for the past (how many??) years.

When I testified twice before Congress about the US Fish & Wildlife Service administrators stealing money from the (Pittman-Robertson excise taxes on arms and ammunition AND THE DINGELL-JOHNSON excise taxes on fishing tackle) hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked by law for State hunting and fishing programs; the Congressman was quiet. When the General Accounting Office confirmed that $45 to 60 Million had been stolen in just the two previous years, the Congressman was no help to me. When the State fish and wildlife agencies did not request that the funds be replaced in the State hunting and fishing programs (they didn't want to anger the Federal hand that they were hoping would begin feeding them Federal Appropriated Funds one day); the Congressman was evidently busy with other things.

Now in fairness to the Congressman, he and his partisan colleagues, were reluctant to join the Republicans like Young, Pombo, & Chenoweth in going after Democrat appointees under President Clinton. Several Democrat Congressmen did support the probe but it was in the shadow of impeachment and sex scandals. The Congressman and his staff probably view me as some sort of Republican and not to be trusted as a result.

Now before I tell you what I wanted to tell the Congressman's point staff-person about whistleblower agreements I must mention two things. First, my informant mentioned "over the past seven years", why seven? Time's up. Why that is only under the Bush watch. If the subject is "whistleblowers" and "conditions" in "agreements": why only look at the last "seven" years? I leave that to you to figure out.

Second, why even mention a condition about never seeking government employment again? That is just plain silly. What bureaucrat in his or her right mind would touch any whistleblower with a ten-foot pole? It is next to impossible to unload a worthless employee on someone else without lying and any whistleblower carries a public reputation. Does anyone really think that any whistleblower applying for a government job would get anything more than the knowledge that he raised the heart rate of some moribund administrator? Get real. Of course this is not to say that the current hiring "standards" would not still apply. Looking at the US Fish & Wildlife Service (the only one I am reasonably familiar with) the "standards" for hiring and promoting to high levels are things such as your parent is a Senator (like Dingell was a Park Ranger, hmm?), your wife is the Director, your husband is a top Washington Administrator, your father is a Regional Director, and on and on. Who would want to jeopardize such things?

So what was it I wanted to tell the staff person about cash settlement "conditions"?

What stunned me when I was offered a cash settlement to retire was the clearly spelled out item that I would get three equal payments over a three year period AND IF AT ANY TIME IN THOSE THREE YEARS I SPOKE ABOUT OR WROTE ABOUT THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF MY SEPARATION TO ANYONE THE AGREEMENT WOULD BE VOIDED. To say that such a "condition" catches your attention is an understatement.

Think about this: your tax money is used by YOUR bureaucrats to pay hush-money. In my case, I could not advocate replacing the stolen taxes nor could I explain how US Fish & Wildlife Service policies AND State agency cooperation was undercutting hunting and fishing and trapping. I could not explain how US Fish & Wildlife Service administrators (career and appointed) were publicly supporting fish and wildlife management while secretly advancing the agendas of environmental and animal rights radicals. No Administrator was called to task for the theft of the money. No public explanation of the disposition of those funds was ever made. No one was fired or even missed a bonus. All went on to greater things and warm welcomes at State meetings from hunting and fishing organization representatives. I on the other hand was dismissed as "kooky" or a "political hack" or "bitter" or just plain "nuts".

My point here is not the residue on me: my point is that BECAUSE I WAS MUZZLED (by the "condition" in the agreement) there was no public debate and the matter was allowed to simply disappear. There was never any opportunity for the media or interested groups to get my side of the story and compare it to the agency "side" in order to decide what was happening and what needed to be done. Not unexpectedly, misuse of the money and unimagined power flowing to this particular agency continued and has gotten worse. Worst of all, YOUR TAX MONEY WAS USED TO KEEP YOU IN THE DARK AND TO FEATHER THE NESTS OF BUREAUCRATS, POLITICIANS, AND A COTERIE OF RADICALS PUSHING ANTI-AMERICAN AGENDAS. Therefore:

To Whom It May Concern:

Federal agencies should be prohibited from requiring, through a cash settlement or written agreement or any other means, that any whistleblower or former government employee remain silent about any non-classified matters surrounding said employment or any factors leading up to a cash settlement or separation.

I say this as a former whistleblower that was forced to retire and as a United States citizen convinced, as were the Founding Fathers, that the free exchange of information and the public debate of ideas and policies are vital to maintaining a free Republic. Stifling debates that allow for public decisions only leads to totalitarianism under those removing such debate from the public forum.


Jim Beers
20 March 2007

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- Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Centreville, Virginia with his wife of many decades.


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