Senate Republicans’ whistleblower site not secure

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Two weeks ago, MAPE asked Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka to remove a misleading “State government employee whistleblower portal” from the Senate Republican Caucus website.

Within the past day, the Senate Republicans have changed the look of the portal and renamed it. The new site does address some of the concerns MAPE raised to Gazelka and Senate Republicans, including referencing the Minnesota Government Data Practice Act and providing information on how to contact the Office of the Legislative Auditor or look up information on their own legislator. Yet many of MAPE’s other concerns have not been addressed.   

An informational pop-up on the site states that “The legislature is not subject to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act,” but fails to mention executive branch employees are subject to the state Government Data Practices Act as well as the Codes of Conduct and Ethics in their use of state resources and disclosure of nonpublic information.

Furthermore, the website does not clearly outline what types of disclosures state employees can make, the circumstances under which it is permitted, to whom the disclosures can be made or the specific protections afforded to employees under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act.  

Not only is the site misleading, many web browsers previously warned that the portal is not secure and according to Google Chrome, “Your connection is not private. Attackers may be trying to steal your information from”  (City Pages: Your computer doesn't want you to visit the Minnesota Republicans' whistleblower site)

The whistleblower portal is not housed on the Senate official legislative web page but rather on the Senate Republican campaign committee site. Inquiries about who has access to the submissions and procedures for ensuring data protection have yet to be answered. “This is a clear indication that the portal is a partisan maneuver as opposed to a genuine attempt to assist public employees to share their stories and improve their working conditions,” MAPE President Chet Jorgenson wrote to Gazelka.