Former White House ethics chief Walter Shaub threw Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) own words back in his face Friday for his resounding silence as witnesses who testified in the House impeachment hearings on President Donald Trump were thrown out of their jobs.
Grassley has co-authored whistleblower laws and defended protecting federal workers who step forward to reveal wrongdoing in government.
But Grassley hasn’t spoken up since decorated Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was dismissed Friday from his National Security Council post (along with his twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman) and escorted from the White House. European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland was fired shortly afterward.
Alexander Vindman and Sondland testified before House committees in Trump’s impeachment investigation in response to congressional subpoenas. Vindman’s attorney said his client was fired for “telling the truth.”
“If a federal worker had no rights to communicate directly with Congress, would fraud and corruption grow in the federal bureaucracy? My answer to that question is absolutely yes,” Grassley said in a video message Shaub posted on Twitter.
Shaub added: “Today, Sen. Grassley was nowhere to be found.”
Instead, Grassley posted a grateful tweet on Friday after Trump vowed to protect Iowa’s primary schedule for “as long as I am president.” Grassley thanked him for “sticking w Iowans.”
Grassley referred in his past video message to the Lloyd-La Follette Act, which was passed in 1912 to “guarantee the right of federal employees to directly share information with Congress.” He added: “We need all the eyes and ears to keep government accountable. That’s why I work to strengthen whistleblower protections.”
Grassley noted: “Open communication is a critical function of representative government. ... without it, we would have an aristocratic government that would be dominated by the executive branch.”
The video was one of five that Grassley issued in the summer of 2018 to underscore the “importance of congressional oversight.”
As recently as November, Grassley spoke up for the whistleblower who alerted officials to Trump’s pressure in a phone call on Ukraine’s president last year to launch an investigation into unfounded accusations against political rival Joe Biden.
A day after Trump called on the media to name the anonymous whistleblower late last year, Grassley said he supported “maximum protection” for whistleblowers to safeguard them as they come forward with information.
Grassley did not immediately return a request from HuffPost to comment on Shaub’s attack.