Whistleblower Protection Blog

Whistleblower Protection Blog

Advocating Whistleblower Rights for over Twenty Years

National Whistleblower Center Testifies Before House Committee in Defense of the SEC Whistleblower Program

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers
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Today, National Whistleblower Center Executive Director Stephen Kohn submitted testimony to the House Financial Services Committee in defense of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) whistleblower program—a highly successful program that has protected investors and recovered $1 billion from Wall Street fraudsters since its inception.

Section 823 of the draft Financial Choice Act of 2017 directly, and negatively, impacts the whistleblower protections afforded under the Securities and Exchange Act (“SEA”).  While it purports to exclude opportunistic individuals from the SEA’s reward provisions if they are “culpable” for the violation for which they are reporting, this amendment is not needed and would undermine the SEA’s highly successful whistleblower law.

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DOJ’s Decision to Appeal Tax Whistleblower Case Will Weaken the Federal Government’s Ability to Detect Fraud

Posted in Tax Whistleblowers
IRS-whistleblower

The Justice Department is appealing the Tax Court’s decision in Whistleblower 21276-13W v. Commissioner and Whistleblower 21277-13W v. Commissioner, 147 T.C. No. 4 (2016). This case arose after two courageous whistleblowers stood up to the Swiss banks and exposed how the banks helped U.S. millionaires and billionaires illegally evade taxes.  These whistleblowers won a hard fought victory in Tax Court—which ruled that employees who report criminal violations of the tax laws are fully protected under the IRS whistleblower program.

Prior to this decision, there was ambiguity about whether “collected proceeds” from criminal violations would be included in calculating IRS whistleblower rewards. The consequences of this Tax Court decision on the issue are massive. The largest tax fraud cases inevitably include criminal fines and penalties, and are often primarily criminal in nature. If criminal violations were excluded from the whistleblower reward calculation, the IRS program would not incentivize those whistleblowers with the most important information about the largest tax evasion schemes to report violations.

The victory in tax court was a major win for whistleblowers and for all Americans who want a fairer tax system.

However, the Justice Department has decided to appeal the decision and try to roll back progress.

Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center and co-counsel for the petitioner, Stephen M. Kohn said of the appeal,

“The current administration was given the chance to do the right thing on a silver platter, to help whistleblowers and go after big time tax crooks. The new administration, instead, decided to make life easier for the wealthy with Swiss bank account holders and corporations engaged in tax shelters.” Kohn further noted, “Instead of draining the swamp, as the current administration has promised, this decision to appeal will just make the swamp bigger.”

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NWC Speaking at EDTx 2017

Posted in Environmental Whistleblowers, Events, News, Wildlife Crime Whistleblowers
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Earth Day Texas, or EDTx 2017, will take place Friday, April 21st – Sunday, April 23rd, 2017, in Dallas, Texas.  EDTx is notably “the world’s largest annual forum for sharing the latest initiatives, discoveries, research, innovations, policies and corporate practices that are reshaping the future.”

This year’s agenda is packed with presentations from over 225 experts and thought leaders and 850 exhibitors.  The National Whistleblower Center’s Chief Operating Officer, Ashley Binetti, will speak on the Global Wildlife Defense panel this Saturday, April 22nd from 4:00pm – 5:00pm. The panel will showcase global efforts that support wildlife habitat and defend their existence against human interference of any kind.  Binetti will discuss how empowering wildlife whistleblowers is the key to combating the global extinction crisis.

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An Uncertain Future for South Africa’s Rhinos

Posted in International, News, Wildlife Crime Whistleblowers
Rhino mother and baby

On April 5, 2017, South Africa’s Constitutional Court legalized domestic trade in rhino horn against the South African government’s desire to keep the ban in place.  South Africa is home to 70% of the world’s dwindling population of rhinos, and the decision has sparked questions about the potential impact on poaching and rhinos’ survival in the country.

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Tackling Wildlife Trafficking: Legal Tools and Tactics

Posted in Legislation, Wildlife Crime Whistleblowers
ELI Seminar Part Two Panel

The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) and the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) hosted the second part of its seminar series on wildlife crime whistleblowers on March 28th, 2017.  “Representing Wildlife Whistleblowers: Technical Skills for Lawyers” focused on wildlife crime prosecutions and the powerful U.S. laws that attorneys can use when helping whistleblowers report wildlife crime.  These laws include not only wildlife protection laws such as the Endangered Species and Lacey Acts, but also creative application of the False Claims Act related to customs violations, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to detect bribery at ports.

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New Legislation to Improve IRS Whistleblower Protections

Posted in Tax Justice for Whistleblowers, Tax Whistleblowers
Sen Grassley

Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Ron Wyden today introduced critically needed legislation to protect tax fraud whistleblowers from workplace retaliation. The National Whistleblower Center strongly believes that this legislation is crucial to effectively prevent honest employees from having their careers destroyed, simply for doing the right thing.

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Elephant Action League’s Wildleaks Joins NWC’s Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program

Posted in Campaigns, Wildlife Crime Whistleblowers
Wildleaks and the NWC

Press Release
March 29, 2017

Elephant Action League (EAL), through its project WildLeaks, and the National Whistleblower Center (NWC), through its Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program, are thrilled to announce a collaboration that will enable wildlife whistleblowers around the world to safely and anonymously file wildlife crime reports, and help ensure that these courageous whistleblowers qualify for monetary rewards.

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Despite Bipartisan Efforts to Stand Up to Wildlife Trafficking, Agencies Continue Their Standstill  

Posted in Environmental Whistleblowers, False Claims / Qui Tam, Wildlife Crime Whistleblowers
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Last year, Steve Kohn informed the world about dormant whistleblower provisions in wildlife protection laws that, if activated, would effectively combat wildlife trafficking. While several branches of the U.S. government have committed to addressing trafficking activities that have pushed many iconic species such as tigers and elephants to the brink of extinction, federal agencies have yet to use all the tools available to them in this fight.

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World Wildlife Day Comes at a Turning Point in Wildlife Protection History

Posted in Environmental Whistleblowers, International, Wildlife Crime Whistleblowers
#DoOneThingToday

Today is UN World Wildlife Day, which marks the day that the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), was signed in 1973. Celebrated globally, World Wildlife Day raises awareness of the importance of our world’s wild animals and plants, and is more crucial now than ever before.

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Seminar Series on Whistleblowing Highlights Need for Robust System of Protection and Rewards

Posted in Events, Wildlife Crime Whistleblowers
Wildlife Whistleblower Seminar

On February 9th the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), in partnership with the National Whistleblower Center, hosted the first seminar in a two-part series on wildlife whistleblowing. “Harnessing the Power of Whistleblowers: Combating Wildlife Crime” focused on the vital role that whistleblowers play in the fight against global wildlife trafficking. Panelists included Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of The National Whistleblower Center; Crawford Allan, Senior Director of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF); and Alexander (Sascha) Von Bismark Executive Director of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

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