Whistleblower Legislation

Washington, D.C. December 16, 2017. The final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Bill has eliminated two key provisions to protect whistleblowers who report major criminal tax frauds.

The National Whistleblower Center today issued an Action Alert asking the American public to oppose the tax bill based on the elimination of these two critical anti-fraud protections. Continue Reading Key Whistleblower Protections Cut from Tax Reform Law, Criminal Fraudsters Protected

On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, Senator Charles Grassley and the Securities and Exchange Commission joined the National Whistleblower Center in supporting the whistleblower in Digital Realty Trust v. Somers (No. 16-1276) by filing amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court. Continue Reading Senator Grassley and SEC Join NWC in Filing Amicus Briefs in Critical Supreme Court Case

Washington, D.C. December 1, 2016.   The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittees on Government Operations and Health Care, Benefits and Administrative Rules will hold a hearing today on proposed changes to the appropriations process that would have a major impact on existing whistleblower laws.

The hearing, “Restoring the Power of the Purse: Legislative Options,” will review H.R. 5499—The Agency Accountability Act—a bill that would restrict or prohibit executive agencies from using monies obtained as sanctions to directly pay whistleblowers the compensation they are owed under existing whistleblower reward laws.  The Act would impact all federal spending financed by fees, fines, and penalties currently administered by federal agencies, and instead require that Congressional appropriations approve this spending.

Continue Reading House Committee to Hold Hearing on Appropriations Reforms that Could Severely Impact Current Whistleblower Programs

The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) filed several amici curiae (friend of the court) briefs this year to support whistleblowers and advocate for their protection.  In particular, NWC briefs have addressed compelling legal issues including preventing attempts to weaken the False Claims Act (FCA) before the United States Supreme Court, and supporting whistleblower rights for veterans before the Federal Circuit Court.

The NWC wrote amici briefs in two major False Claims Act cases in 2016: Universal Health Services v. U.S. ex rel. Escobar, and State Farm Fire and Casualty Company v. U.S. ex rel. Rigsby. In Escobar, amici asserted that the FCA holds contractors liable not only when they defraud the government and taxpayers by violating express terms of their contract, but also when they violate implied certifications as well. In Rigsby, amici argued that the FCA’s seal provision was designed for the exclusive benefit of the Government, and mandatory dismissal for seal violations would undermine the FCA and hurt taxpayers—the intended beneficiaries of the False Claims Act.

Continue Reading End-of-Year Amicus Round-Up!

The Economic Community of West African States’, or ECOWAS, recently held a weeklong anti-corruption meeting in Monrovia, Liberia. Attendees included 13 West African countries, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Arms, and international partners. As Tunde Ajisomo, ECOWAS ambassador to Liberia noted, “Fighting corruption is everybody’s business, but we need to put in place appropriate legislation.” Ajisomo also underscored the importance of supporting whistleblowers, urging, “It is important that we protect whistle-blowers, as the role they play is critical.”

While recognizing the role of whistleblowers and their need for protection is incredibly important, Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, expressed caution regarding this particular initiative, “Unless a country can demonstrate an effective democratic infrastructure capable of fully protecting and rewarding whistleblowers, we would not recommend blowing the whistle or using such a country’s laws.  A poorly structured whistleblower program can be counter-productive and dangerous.  Currently, the United States has effective, transnational whistleblower laws, like the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act, and certain wildlife anti trafficking laws which we do recommend using.”

Read the entire article here.
Learn more about the National Whistleblower Center’s international work, here.

A recent report published by Blueprint for Free Speech and the Thomson Reuters Foundation has found that UK law “does not–and cannot–adequately protect whistleblowers.” The report, entitled “Protecting Whistleblowers in the UK: A New Blueprint,” closely examines the UK’s existing whistleblower protection legislation, specifically PIDA (the Public Interest Disclosure Act), concluding that the law is outdated, “broken”, and in need of several major updates. In addition to outlining PIDA’s shortcomings in terms of protecting whistleblowers in the UK, the report’s authors offer specific solutions to ameliorate the law. Continue Reading Expert Report Highly Critical of UK Whistleblower Protection Laws, Calls for Urgently Needed Reforms

In a press conference scheduled for Friday, April 22, 2016 at the Clinton Presidential Library, Arkansas State Representatives Vivian Flowers and Ken Ferguson will announce their support for a state law recognizing National Whistleblower Day.  Arkansas would be the first state to recognize America’s first whistleblower law (passed in 1778 during the Revolution).  For the past three years the U.S. Senate has unanimously approved a similar resolution.
The National Whistleblower Center’s Executive Director, Stephen M. Kohn, will be speaking at the press conference scheduled for 9:00 a.m. Later in the day he will give the keynote address at the National Whistleblower Day luncheon ceremony.

Continue Reading Arkansas State Legislators to Introduce Whistleblower Day Law

On April 18, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration published a final rule establishing procedures for handling retaliation complaints under the Food Safety Modernization Act. The final rule explains the burdens of proof, remedies and statute of limitations similar to other whistleblower protection statutes that OSHA administers. Continue Reading Food Safety Whistleblower Protection Procedures Finalized

Washington, D.C. December 22, 2015. On December 8, 2015, the Eastern District of Tennessee dismissed a whistleblower’s claims, finding that the Plaintiff was not entitled to protection under the whistleblower provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. Verble v. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC et al., 3:15-cv-00074 (E.D. Tenn. Dec. 8, 2015).  The court’s decision further divides the split amongst circuits regarding the scope of the Dodd-Frank’s whistleblower protection provision. Continue Reading Court Ruling Threatens Internal Compliance Programs