This week the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) met with the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) General Counsel Peter Davidson and Senior Counsel James Uthmeier to discuss the implementation of whistleblower laws in their agency. NWC was represented by Executive Director Stephen M. Kohn, Managing Director of the Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program Scott Hajost, and Co-Chairperson of the Board Dr. Gina Green.
Esmond Martin, after decades of working undercover investigating the illegal wildlife trade, was found stabbed to death in his Nairobi home earlier this week.
Martin was an extraordinarily intelligent man. An American geographer from New York, Martin published books and extensive reports on Kenya, Tanzania, Vietnam, and Laos. But it may have been Martin’s bravery that got him killed.
Picture this: while at work you become aware of conduct that you believe is unethical, illegal, or qualifies as government waste, fraud, or abuse. You decide you want to blow the whistle. But before you act, be careful! Most corporate and government networks log traffic. Your work computer and phone are not private. When you use a company or department computer, assume everything you do is monitored. These computers are an easy way for your employer to determine you are the whistleblower.
Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center (NWC), travelled to Kenya to teach a workshop on wildlife whistleblowing. The event was hosted by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
At a meeting last week, the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) announced that it would reverse its recommendation to institute whistleblower protections to workers on offshore oil rigs. This unfortunate turn will be bad for workers, destructive to the environment, and quite possibly even harmful to the energy industry. Continue Reading Chemical Safety Board Reneges on Recommended Whistleblower Protections
The illegal wildlife trade is wiping entire species from our planet, and causing irreparable damage to our biological ecosystems. Despite all of the national and international government regulations and anti-poaching measures by nonprofit groups and other organizations, wildlife trafficking is an incredibly lucrative trade that continues to thrive, valued at $7 – 23 billion per year.
If there is any hope of tackling the global wildlife trafficking epidemic, we must turn to practical, proven methods to find a sustainable solution. Harnessing the power of whistleblowers to combat wildlife crime would be an absolute game-changer (Stephen Kohn, Monetary Rewards for Wildlife Whistleblowers).
“Why Wildlife Whistleblower Rewards Need Work,” by National Whistleblower Center Executive Director, Stephen M. Kohn, and Chief Operating Officer, Ashley Binetti, is now live on Law360. This article highlights the need for effective implementation and enforcement of wildlife whistleblower reward laws.
Yesterday, the Department of Justice announced that Dewey W. Willis Jr. plead guilty to federal charges for the illegal harvest of Atlantic striped bass from federal waters in 2010. It has been illegal to harvest the Atlantic striped bass, also referred to as a “rockfish” or a “striper,” from federal waters since 1990, due to the severe decrease in stock. Decrease in stock is the result of overfishing and environmental conditions since the 1970s. “The illegal poaching of striped bass by commercial fishermen has a major impact on the survival of this iconic fish resource and has the potential to devastate the future livelihoods of law abiding commercial fishermen,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
Washington, D.C. January 4, 2016. The Environmental Law Reporter published an article that explains how the monetary rewards provisions for whistleblowers in both the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act can have a massive impact on the detection and deterrence of wildlife crimes. The article, “Monetary Rewards for Wildlife Whistleblowers: A Game-Changer in Wildlife Trafficking Detection and Deterrence,” published on January 1, 2016 was written by Stephen M. Kohn, a founder of the National Whistleblower Center. Continue Reading Monetary Rewards for Wildlife Whistleblowers A Breakthrough for Environmental Protection
This past Friday the Houston Chronicle published an important article regarding allegations that DuPont let poisonous gas leak continuously from a plant near New Orleans for three years. The article, “Whistleblower case raises more safety concerns about DuPont,” details a novel approach to enforce environmental standards using the False Claims Act (FCA).
The plaintiff in U.S. ex rel Simoneaux v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co., Civ. No. 12-129-SDD-SCR is attempting to prove his case in what experts describe as an unusual and potentially ground-breaking use of the False Claims Act FCA), claiming DuPont did not report environmental issues at the plant to avoid fines from the federal government. Continue Reading False Claims Act Used to Enforce Environmental Safety Standards