On Tuesday, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs convened a panel discussion to examine the effects of transnational wildlife trafficking on U.S. security. During the hearing, Members of Congress and panelists discussed methods to combat and report cases of illegal ivory trade and wildlife trafficking. Specifically, panelists brought up efforts by the National Whistleblower Center to expose wildlife crime on social media platforms like Facebook.
Longtime advocate of whistleblower protections Sen. Chuck Grassley delivered a strongly-worded floor statement to the United States Senate on Thursday, saying that FBI agents, and all federal law enforcement agents, are protected when reporting misconduct to Congress, and they should not fear retaliation. The Senator from Iowa and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee cleared up any misconception of agents not being able to approach Congress without a subpoena. Continue Reading Senator Grassley Reminds FBI Agents of Their Whistleblower Rights
THE HAGUE / WASHINGTON, D.C. | May 24th, 2018 — The Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) and National Whistleblower Center (NWC) have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a framework for cooperation, develop joint endeavors, and exchange information with regards to transnational wildlife crime.
Members of Congress are urging the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate the illegal trafficking of wildlife on Facebook. On May 14th, Representatives Raul Grijalva (AZ) and Jared Huffman (CA) filed a letter to the SEC saying that Facebook was breaking laws that require public companies to protect shareholders and prevent illegal activity. The letter demanded an investigation into the illegal wildlife trafficking on Facebook.
D.C.-based law firm Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto (KKC) sparked the Congressional inquiry after filing a complaint with the SEC alleging the social media giant facilitates illicit trade in wildlife products. KKC previously filed the anonymous complaint against Facebook in August 2017.
Washington, D.C. | May 23, 2018—A delegation from the country of Georgia visited the National Whistleblower Center on Wednesday morning to learn about whistleblower laws and their implementation in the U.S. The goal of the visit was to share whistleblower best-practices and lessons-learned that might be applied in Georgia. Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, Stephen Kohn, and Legal Fellow Maya Efrati presented to the group.
On May 8, 2018, Representative Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU) and Don Young (R-AK), introduced H.R. 5697, the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act (WCATA) of 2018. The bipartisan bill will “support wildlife conservation, improve anti-trafficking enforcement, [and] provide dedicated funding for wildlife conservation at no expense to the taxpayer.” It includes critical whistleblower provisions necessary to incentivize informants to risk their careers (or their lives) to report trafficking.
In a series of blog posts over the next several weeks, the National Whistleblower Center will explain why this bill is so crucial for preserving wildlife and such a powerful tool for combatting international criminal syndicates.
We will begin this series by explaining why this bill is necessary. In future posts, we’ll explain why H.R. 5697 “is the most important anti-trafficking legislation of our generation.” For the remainder of this post though, we’ll look at the catastrophic problem that this bill is seeking to fix: the extinction of many of the globe’s most treasured living creatures.
National Whistleblower Center featured in ABC News, New York Post & more
Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, Stephen M. Kohn, has spoken to ABC News investigative reporters recently about a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) complaint filed against Facebook by D.C. whistleblower law firm Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto (KKC).
WASHINGTON, D.C. | May 11, 2018—In an analysis of the 100 most recent Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) prosecutions available on Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER), court records reveal that whistleblowers were responsible for over 75% of all successful cases in the years ranging from 1993-2017. Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto LLP (KKC) completed this review in order to provide a snapshot of how the whistleblower reward provision has been implemented in APPS cases.
According to a statistical analysis conducted by KKC, the United States obtained over $270 million in sanctions from 100 polluters and paid 206 whistleblowers a total of more than $33 million in rewards under APPS. Additionally, over $63 million was ordered by courts to be used for beneficial purposes in fighting ocean pollution. Organizations that received restitutions include the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
Bill contains whistleblower protections, enhanced enforcement and restitution provisions
WASHINGTON, D.C. | MAY 8, 2018 — Today, Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK) introduced the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018. This groundbreaking legislation enhances the ability of informants worldwide to detect and report wildlife crimes.
To learn more about the bill, visit the National Whistleblower Center’s website.
Whistleblower Law Expert Responds to GAO Report on Combating Wildlife Trafficking
Washington, D.C. May 8, 2018. In a report released today, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued wide-ranging recommendations to increase the effectiveness of paying informants and whistleblowers to report illegal wildlife trafficking. Continue Reading U.S. Government Accountability Office Urges Federal Government to Take Stronger Action to Promote Wildlife Crime Whistleblowers