"Whistle-blower legislation brings in a lot of money," proclaims the headline in Business Hungary magazine. The article in November's issue reports on a trip to Hungary by Stephen M. Kohn, President of the National Whistlelbower Center.
Stephen Kohn traveled to Hungary last Fall to urge Hungarian officials to adopt a whistleblower law similar to America's False Claims Act (FCA). Under the FCA, those whistleblowers who are the original source of information leading to the recovery of federal funds fraudulently obtained can recover between 15% and 30% of those funds. Since a 1987 amendment, FCA claims have helped taxpayers here reclaim $20 billion. To help us make these recoveries, the whistleblowers faced
discharge, financial ruin or worse. Even whistleblowers who are not the "original source" of information are still protected from retaliation.
More significant than the money recovered, the FCA compels business to stay honest with the government -- cleaning up entire industries. No wonder, then, that Hungary's Minister of Justice, Tibor Draskovics, announced plans for a similar law in Hungary. A recent Transparency International report also recommended whistleblower protection legislation as a way to deter corruption.
The Hungarian branch of the Chamber of Commerce recognizes how whistleblower remedies, and even cash awards, will encourage reports of wrongdoing and help honest businesses compete. I wonder, though, why honest American businesses are not promoting the FCA here in their homeland. The FCA routs out the the dishonest operators here too, and levels the playing field for honest businesspeople everywhere. It would be logical, then, if these same American businesses would support the False Claims Corrections Act when it is reintroduced in the new Congress.