National Whistleblower Center

John Kostyack Previews Strategy
for New Era of Whistleblower Advocacy

The National Whistleblower announced today that it is naming John Kostyack, a well-known nonprofit leader, attorney and policy expert, to serve as its Executive Director effectively immediately. Below is Kostyack’s first statement as Executive Director: 

What an exciting time to be joining the National Whistleblower Center team.  NWC is one of the world’s most respected nonprofits leading the fight for whistleblowers and against corruption. Thanks to laws secured in recent years by NWC and its partners and growing bipartisan interest among policy makers to strengthen these laws, NWC is poised to quickly ramp up its work with whistleblowers to reduce environmental damage and other harm to the public caused by large-scale corruption.
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Whistleblowers in the European Union will be at risk of retaliation unless they can report crimes to regulators and law enforcement without first reporting them internally.

Danske Bank Whistleblower EU testimony
Danske Bank whistleblower Howard Wilkinson testifies during hearing at the EU Parliament Brussels, Belgium November 21, 2018.

That is the message from Stephen M. Kohn in an article published Wednesday on the website of Whistleblowerprotection.eu. Kohn, a Washington-based lawyer represents Danske Bank whistleblower Howard Wilkinson.

Kohn writes that a fundamental principle in whistleblower law is the protection of employees who come forward.

Common sense dictates that reports directly to government officials must be protected. For example, if you are looking out your window, and see youthful offender mugged a senior citizen, you do not call the young person’s parent. You call the police. The same goes for corporate crime. If a company is stealing from its investors, or engaging in money laundering, illegal secret banking or other offenses, it is clearly important to report these crimes directly to the police as quickly as possible
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Problems with forensics at the FBI crime lab continue, 25 years after a whistleblower flagged the agency for sloppy science, according to a story from independent news source ProPublica.

The story reports on the lack of scientific evidence supporting the work of FBI technicians who specialize in facial identification and “visual evidence.”  The unit analyzes and sharpens crime scene photos and videos. From the story:

The FBI’s endorsement of the unit’s findings as trial evidence troubles many experts and raises a new question about the role of the FBI Laboratory as a standard-setter in forensic science.”  

Add that to the questions that have lingered since crime lab problems were revealed by insider Frederic Whitehurst in 1994. The chemist’s information about faulty evidence and worse have emerged via three inspector general reports and a National Academy of Sciences study. The ProPublica piece is the latest in two decades of investigative news stories about faulty FBI forensics and its consequences.

Whitehurst is now the director of the National Whistleblower Center’s Forensic Justice Project.


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Laws on the books designed to protect wildlife whistleblowers have been underutilized, according to a spring report from the Government Accounting Office.  Now, two groups devoted to wildlife protection have joined with the National Whistleblower Center to help ensure that U.S. agencies use the tools they have to protect animals and fisheries and prevent trafficking.

Thinking Animals United is an advocacy group that works “to galvanize worldwide support for the care, protection, and conservation of animals and other species.”  It has signed an agreement with the NWC to “develop joint endeavors, and exchange information with regards to addressing the relationship between environmental crime, economic growth, and national security,” according to a statement from the two groups.
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National WhistleblowerToday is GivingTuesday– a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations worldwide to encourage people to donate to the causes close to their heart. The National Whistleblower Center, the nation’s leading whistleblower advocacy organization, has a 30-year history of fighting corruption. The NWC announced its 2018 GivingTuesday campaign by sharing a few highlights from the year.Support National Whistleblower
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Chuck-Grassley -Keynote-speaker-national-whistleblower-dayYesterday, the country celebrated National Whistleblower Day. The day celebrates whistleblowers’ contributions to democracy, and commemorates the Founding Fathers’ unanimous passage of the first U.S. whistleblower law on July 30, 1778.

The National Whistleblower Center hosted its annual National Whistleblower Day celebration on Capitol Hill. The U.S. Senate also unanimously passed a resolution recognizing July 30th, 2018 as “National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.”

In recounting the history of America’s whistleblower law, Stephen M. Kohn, executive director of the National Whistleblower Center, stated: “we must ensure that this incredible act of democracy is remembered.”


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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.

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Yesterday, a delegation from the Republic of Armenia visited the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) for a presentation about best practices to fight corruption and the implementation of whistleblower laws. The visit was facilitated by the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), an initiative of the U.S. Department of State.

Attendees from the delegation included representatives from Armenia’s criminal court system (including both a lead judge and prosecutor), the Judicial Department, the Council of Justice, and the Ministry of Justice.


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The 90th Academy Awards yesterday featured a diverse set of films nominated for Best Picture, including a whistleblower film called The Post. Based on a true story, the movie centers on the fight to publish top-secret U.S. government information on the Vietnam War leaked by whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. The star-studded cast includes Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.

In the spirit of The Posts’ Oscar recognition, here are some other riveting whistleblower films that you can enjoy on the big screen.


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The release of the Steven Spielberg film The Post (starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep) has prompted a new upsurge in interest about whistleblowers. In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, Washington Post and other newspapers which published the shocking revelations of how the American people had been lied to about the Vietnam War for decades.
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