Below is the letter the Alaska Forum sent to Don Young condemning his actions against POGO.
February 28, 2000
Chairman Don Young
House Resources Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Young,
The Alaska Forum for Environmental Responsibility wishes to express its concern and alarm over the House Resources Committee’s efforts with regard to the Project On Government Oversight. We have learned that subpoenas have been issued to obtain the Executive Director’s home phone records as well as the organization’s office phone records. These actions are a reprehensible violation of their First Amendment rights.
The Alaska Forum has spent the better part of a decade offering support for concerned employees and thus we understand the vital role that whistleblowers play in both government and private industry. The Project On Government Oversight also understands this role and indeed the efforts of both that organization and the courageous whistleblowers have helped to eliminate fraud and deceit within government. By issuing these subpoenas, your Committee is undermining the faith that whistleblowers’ identities will be protected.
In the early 1990’s, the disastrous effects of whistleblower retaliation were realized with the so-called "Alyeska Covert Operation" and the Wackenhut investigation. This fiasco, as you’ll remember, involved private citizens having their trash sifted through and phone lines being tapped – including perhaps phone lines within Congressional offices. You were correct then to admonish and condemn such egregious behavior. And we hope that you will recognize that your Committee’s recent efforts constitute another form of whistleblower retaliation.
We respectfully request that you withdraw the subpoenas issued to the Project On Government Oversight.
The Alaska Forum for Environmental Responsibility
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