The National Whistleblower Center (NWC)’s Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program was recently featured in Mongabay Wildtech, a non-profit provider of conservation and environmental science news.
The Whistleblower Protection Blog’s most popular posts of 2016 covered a wide range of topics including Supreme Court case coverage, the National Whistleblower Center’s new program for wildlife whistleblowers, and crucial agency-related and legislative victories that improved whistleblower rights.
December 15, 2016. On Wednesday, December 14th, The U.S. Justice Department announced that it recovered over $4.7 billion from False Claims Act (FCA) cases in 2016. Of those recoveries, $2.9 billion were recovered through cases initiated by whistleblowers. The Justice Department paid more than $519 million in whistleblower awards over the course of the year. This represents the continuation of a long trend of successful cooperation between whistleblowers and the Justice Department, and demonstrates the enormous success an effective whistleblower program can generate.
Today, the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) released its End-of-Year Report, filled with whistleblower successes from 2016. In the past year, the NWC continued its mission to strengthen whistleblower protections and incentives, defend whistleblowers’ rights, and educate people at home and abroad about the power of whistleblowers in combatting fraud and corruption.
More FBI whistleblower reforms needed in next Congress
December 12, 2016. In the wee hours of Saturday morning’s lame duck session, the U.S. Senate passed a truncated version of the FBI Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA). This bill was drawn from an excerpted portion of a bill of the same name, originally introduced by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in 2015. Whereas the original bill was a full reform of the broken FBI whistleblower protection system, there were last minute objections from the intelligence community that prevented enactment of the full FBI WPEA.
On December 6th, the National Whistleblower Center filed an amicus brief in support of FBI whistleblower Darin Jones. Jones alleged he made whistleblower disclosures about an improper award of a $40 million contract and other improper procurement spending at the FBI. The FBI fired him from his position as a Supervisory Contract Specialist, which Jones alleges was done as an act of retaliation for his whistleblowing. The FBI argued that the current inadequate whistleblower protections at the FBI did not protect Jones because they require whistleblowers to report to the highest-ranking FBI official at their job site, rather than reporting to their immediate supervisor, which is consistent with FBI policy. Because Jones behaved in a manner consistent with standard practices at the FBI of reporting alleged wrongdoing through the managerial chain of command, he was written out of whistleblower protection for supposedly not reporting his allegations to the correct office and the retaliation against him has thus far been tolerated by the Department of Justice.
Serbian news media recently published an interview with NWC’s Executive Director Stephen Kohn. This fall, Kohn participated in the “For Every Truth There Is a Source: Protecting Whistleblowers and Journalistic Sources” conference in Belgrade. The international conference, hosted by the Serbian whistleblower advocacy group Pištaljkaa (The Whistle), and sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Information brought together leading whistleblower experts from the United States and the United Kingdom; whistleblowers from Serbia, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Bosnia and Herzegovina; as well as journalists from Germany, Serbia and Montenegro, and prominent government officials from around the world.
Washington, D.C. December 6, 2016. This Friday, December 9th, the United Nations and anti-corruption organizations around the world will celebrate International Anti-Corruption Day. International Anti-Corruption Day annually recognizes the critical fight against fraud and corruption, and provides a venue to discuss new strategies for tackling these issues around the world. This year the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have announced a joint global campaign: “United Against Corruption,” which focuses on how corruption impacts rich and poor countries alike and must be addressed through a unified international approach. The 2016 joint international campaign highlighted this in their statement on the campaign, “Fighting corruption is a global concern because corruption is found in both rich and poor countries, and evidence shows that it hurts poor people disproportionately. It contributes to instability, poverty and is a dominant factor driving fragile countries towards state failure.”
Washington, D.C. December 6, 2016. An attempt by large government contractors and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to undermine the False Claims Act (FCA) was beaten back by whistleblower advocates. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision today in the case of State Farm Fire and Casualty Company v. U.S. ex rel. Rigsby ruling that breaches to the confidentiality (or seal) provision of a case brought under the FCA will not result in an automatic dismissal of the case. Continue Reading
Washington, D.C. December 5, 2016. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on December 1st to consider proposed changes to the appropriations process that would have a major impact on existing whistleblower laws.