Corporate Whistleblowers

Last week, the Department of Justice announced that it collected $3.7 billion in settlements and judgements from False Claim Act (FCA) cases against the government in 2017. The FCA is a statute that allows individual whistleblowers, called relators in this context, to file lawsuits on behalf of the government.

Known as Lincoln’s Law, the FCA was originally passed in the Civil War when avaricious contractors supplied the Union with faulty weapons and failing supplies. Over the last decade, FCA cases filed have grown in number and become one of the government’s premier tools for policing corporate fraud.


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The National Whistleblower Center released a new video featuring four prominent whistleblowers who share their personal stories of blowing the whistle and the backlash they faced for doing the right thing. Whistleblowers Change the World,  highlights the crucial role whistleblowers serve in exposing corruption at all levels of society and why we need a sustained grassroots movement to ensure the legal protections they require are upheld.

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The 2002 Enron scandal drew global attention and Sherron Watkins became forever known as the Enron whistleblower. Speaking at National Whistleblower Day earlier this year, she praised the crucial role whistleblowers play in demanding transparency and accountability from our corporations and government and recognized the incredible progress made in whistleblower protections since the collapse of Enron.

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The fate of corporate whistleblowers and compliance programs is on the line as the U.S. Supreme Court reviews the case of Digital Realty Trust V. Somers. At issue in this case is whether whistleblowers who report potential violations within their organizations, as opposed to reporting directly to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), are protected under the Dodd-Frank Act (DFA).

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This term the U.S. Supreme Court will decide Digital Realty Trust v. Somers (Digital), one of the most important whistleblower cases to come before the Court in 20-years.   The Chamber of Commerce and its Wall Street allies want to strip all employees who report securities frauds internally to their compliance departments or managers from protection under the Dodd-Frank Act’s (DFA) whistleblower law.
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Corporate whistleblower protection “undermined” if internal complaints not protected.

Washington, D.C. June 26, 2017.  The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari today in the case of Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers, Paul.  The Court will decide the issue of whether internal reports to managers are covered under the Dodd-Frank Act’s anti-retaliation law.
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Washington, DC, November 16, 2016. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Whistleblower Program had its most successful year to date in 2016. The agency, which issued its annual report to Congress today, reports it issued awards totaling over $57 million in 2016—higher than all award amounts issued in previous years combined. The Office of the Whistleblower (OWB) received over 4,200 tips this year, which is a more than 40 percent increase in whistleblower tips since 2012. In addition, the SEC took action in its first ever stand-alone whistleblower retaliation case.

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