Yesterday NWC’s founder and executive director, Stephen M. Kohn, identified lack of law enforcement as the key driver of the Vaquita’s impending extinction, during an informative Capitol Hill briefing, “Wildlife Whistleblowing: A Game-Changer in the Enforcement of Wildlife Trafficking Laws.”
May 9, 2017. Washington, D.C. Congressional oversight leaders obtained an internal memo sent, on May 3, from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) instructing employees to inform the agency before communicating independently with Congress.
“Why Wildlife Whistleblower Rewards Need Work,” by National Whistleblower Center Executive Director, Stephen M. Kohn, and Chief Operating Officer, Ashley Binetti, is now live on Law360. This article highlights the need for effective implementation and enforcement of wildlife whistleblower reward laws.
The Rethinking Animals Summit 2017 will be held May 6-7 addressing the massive global exploitation of animals and ways to create sustainable initiatives – including wildlife whistleblower laws.
As humans continue to exploit animals and their resources for economic activities their existence becomes increasingly threatened. The summit aims to assemble “science, health business, conservation, animal welfare, security and ethics leaders and concerned citizens” to address protection and conservation of wildlife.
The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) intensified its campaign to save the whistleblower provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. The NWC’s action alert members have sent over 31,000 messages to Congress as of 3 pm (EST) today. If you have not yet acted, do so now! Continue Reading
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.
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 whistleblowers 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.
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.
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.
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.