If you haven't noticed, we have been really focused on passing stronger whistleblower laws in the economic stimulus bill. We had a major success when the bill passed the House of Representatives, and now we are moving on to the Senate. Although this legislation is the major whistleblower story this week, there are a few other stories on our radar, and I just wanted to share them with our readers.
First, and easily the second biggest whistleblower-related news story of the week, is the testimony of Harry Markopoulos, a financial analyst who tried to blow the whistle on Bernie Madoff's $50 billion fraudulent Ponzi scheme for over a decade. Markopoulos offered stunning testimony before the House Financial Services Committee this week, condemning the SEC for ignoring his reports and mismanaging the investigation. Markopoulos told lawmakers that he "gave them [the SEC] a road map and a flashlight to find the fraud, and they didn't go where I told them to go.”
Here are some articles detailing his testimony:
Now for some good news. Along with the legislative progress being made at the national level, two states are considering statutes to create and/or strengthen whistleblower protections. This Minnesota Star-Tribune opinion piece explains the how Minnesota (and all states) can benefit from a False Claims Act. Minnesota's legislature is considering enacting an FCA modeled on the federal law.
North Dakota is also considering strengthening its whistleblower laws after recent retaliation against state employees revealed that the laws are inadequate.
Our last bit of news comes from Texas, where Marilou Morrison, a former employee of the Texas Commission on Human Rights was awarded a jury verdict of nearly $1 million after suffering retaliation for blowing the whistle on racial discrimination in the agency's hiring practices. The kicker is this: the Texas Commission on Human Rights is the agency that is supposed to enforce laws against discrimination. Ms. Morrison's attorney Gary Bledsoe summed it up nicely by saying, "The agency that is supposed to enforce civil rights is being hit with basically a million dollar judgment for violating the very statutes they are required to enforce."
Ok, now that you are up to date on whistleblower news from around the country, keep checking back for more information on the federal employee whistleblower legislation!