Whistleblower Legislation

The United Nations has named March 3, Sunday, as World Wildlife Day.  This year’s theme is “Life below water,” and events took pace Friday at the United Nations in New York and around the globe.

They include shoreline trash collection in British Columbia, a photo contest on the shores of  Lake Victoria in Uganda and a youth art competition. Siem Reap, Cambodia will host a “day of exciting wildlife awareness activities and game for kids.” With the aquatic theme, the event’s film festival offers movies on whales, overfishing, penguins and pollution. Find trailers for many on the event’s video channel.

National Whistleblower Center and the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) offered a webinar Tuesday on using whistleblowers address wildlife crimes like poaching, overfishing, habitat destruction and trafficking. The center’s Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program partners with conservation and anti-trafficking groups to expand and strengthen wildlife whistleblower programs. They see whistleblower rewards as a powerful but underused tool that could bolster the enforcement of wildlife protection laws.

Continue Reading On World Wildlife Day, a reminder that whistleblowers can help protect turtles, dolphins and other marine species

Whistleblower Protection in EU

The proposed European Parliament directive on whistleblower protection could make it more difficult for individuals to come forward with information about wrongdoing, according to a coalition of transparency and anti-corruption groups.

At issue is a provision that requires employees to report potential crimes and fraud internally before going to regulators and law enforcement.

A letter signed by a range of groups calls on the EU to protect the “free flow of information necessary for responsible exercises of institutional authority.” Disclosures to law enforcement and regulatory agencies provide a “safety net for protecting the public interest and the public’s right to know when organisations are corrupt or fail to take responsibility,” they write.

If this mandatory internal disclosure regime stands, the directive will have abandoned responsible Europeans who raise concerns appropriately to their employers through their supervisors or normal management channels of communication, who disclose information to competent authorities who have the power and mandate to address wrongdoing, or who provide information to the journalists who investigate and report in the public interest. They will suffer. Europe will suffer.

Continue Reading The effort to improve whistleblower protection in Europe will fail unless insiders can seek help from outsiders

On January 30, 2019, Reps. Don Young (R-AK) and John Garamendi (D-CA) introduced the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2019 (H.R. 864). This bipartisan, groundbreaking legislation enhances the ability of informants worldwide to detect and report wildlife crimes. It also strengthens the laws criminalizing trafficking.

In a joint press release, both representatives recognized the importance of halting poachers, traffickers, and transnational criminal organizations—all of which are responsible for exacerbating the global extinction crisis. Furthermore, as Congressman Garamendi points out, “Our bipartisan bill advances American leadership in tackling the global wildlife trafficking and poaching crisis at no cost to the American taxpayer.” Continue Reading Landmark Bill Combating Wildlife Trafficking Reintroduced in the House

If poachers and wildlife trafficking networks operate like international criminal syndicates, why not treat them that way? That’s one approach outlined in a bill reintroduced in Congress today designed to bolster efforts to use whistleblower rewards to stop wildlife crime. 

The bill aims to address problems with existing wildlife whistleblower programs that were identified in May by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). It expands on existing whistleblower provisions and calls for new rules and the authority to enforce them.

The Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act was reintroduced by Republican Rep. Don Young of Alaska – who calls himself an avid sportsman — and California Democrat John Garamendi, who describes himself a conservationist and outdoorsman.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration “NOAA) each currently have the option to reward whistleblowers who expose poaching, trafficking and other wildlife crimes. But, the 2018 GAO audit found that agencies’ programs are underused and inefficiently implemented.

The Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act would give more muscle to existing programs. The bill also would require that penalties and fine from prosecutions be redistributed to wildlife conservation efforts.

Continue Reading Bill would bolster reward programs that allow US agencies to fight wildlife crime with whistleblowers

Despite Slowdown in Prosecution, Whistleblowers Continue to Play the Critical Role in Detecting Fraud. In statistics published this week by the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. government’s recoveries under the False Claims Act (“FCA”) hit their lowest mark since 2008, the last year of President Bush’s administration.   Continue Reading DOJ False Claims Act Recoveries Hit Ten Year Low

General-buildingPresident Trump signed the All Circuit Review Act into law this past Monday, making permanent a pilot program established by the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012. This provision allows whistleblowers to appeal decisions of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) regarding retaliation complaints to any U.S. Court of Appeals.

Continue Reading All Circuit Review Act Passed into Law

Whistleblower Directive heading for approval by the European Parliament contains serious deficiencies that impede direct reporting to law enforcement agencies

WASHINGTON, D.C. | July 13, 2018—The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) and leading international bank whistleblower, Mr. Bradley Birkenfeld, have filed a formal response to the European Commission’s proposed Whistleblower Directive. The response highlights serious deficiencies in the proposed Directive that undermine international anti-corruption treaties and place restrictions on the ability of private sector employees to directly report corruption to law enforcement officials.

Continue Reading National Whistleblower Center Urges EU to Amend Whistleblower Directive

A great strength of the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018 (H.R. 5697) is that it integrates innovative mechanisms for combating the illicit wildlife trade with preexisting wildlife protection methods. This post will explain how frontline enforcement innovations can bolster traditional conservation strategies.

Continue Reading H.R. 5697 Series—Part VI: Reinforcing Wildlife Conservation

judge-gavel-law-bookThe Trump Administration has signed the Whistleblower Protection Coordination Act (S. 1869) into law, permanently reauthorizing the Whistleblower Protection Coordinator position in all federal agencies’ Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

Special Counsel Henry Kerner stated: “This an important step to ensure whistleblowers who disclose waste, fraud, and abuse know their rights and are protected.”

Continue Reading Whistleblower Protection Coordination Act Passed into Law

judges-gavel-and-handcuffsd This is a multi-part series on the Whistleblower Protection Blog covering the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018. 

What do Atlanta teachers, crooked investors, mafiosos, and Mexican cartel members all have in common? The answer: all were indicted under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

Continue Reading H.R. 5697 Series—Part V: The Power of RICO