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.
On June 29, 2018 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced proposed amendments that undermine the rules governing its successful whistleblower program.
National Whistleblower Center (NWC) has issued an action alert urging commentary on these proposed amendments. The SEC proposal puts caps on rewards related to cases resulting in $100 million or more in fines. This removes the incentive to blow the whistle on large corporations committing fraud, and consequently will allow large corporate fraud to go unreported and unpunished.
The SEC is proposing controversial amendments to its whistleblower program. The new rules would potentially limit the size of awards that whistleblowers are entitled from successful qui tam action. Under current directives, a whistleblower who provides information that leads to an SEC enforcement action receives 10%-30% of the recovery by the agency. This monetary provision incentivizes potential whistleblowers to disclose rather than remain silent.
This month, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) publicly released its 2017 Annual Report to Congress. Overall confidence in the ability of OSC to protect federal employees has increased. Nonetheless, there are still areas for improvement regarding OSC’s handling of whistleblower reports.
The 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.”
Today marks the 100-day countdown to National Whistleblower Day, celebrated each year on July 30th.
National Whistleblower Day commemorates the passing of America’s first whistleblower law on July 30th, 1778. This visionary action, taken during the height of the American Revolution, stands as a testament to the importance of whistleblowing in U.S. history.
Today, the U.S. Department of Justice officially dismissed their appeal of case Whistleblower 21276-13W and 21277-13W v. CIR, Case Nos. 17-1119 and 1120 (D.C. Cir.), marking a big win for IRS whistleblowers. Below is a statement from the whistleblowers’ attorneys.
The law firms of Zerbe, Miller, Fingeret, Frank & Jadav, PC (ZMF); Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto (KKC) and Robert Amsel, Esq. are pleased to announce today a key victory for tax whistleblowers with the filing of a joint stipulation for dismissal of the government’s appeal in the cases of Whistleblower 21276-13W and 21277-13W v. CIR, Case Nos. 17-1119 and 1120 (D.C. Cir.). The case was scheduled for oral argument on April 9, 2018 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. It had pitted the U.S. Department of Justice and IRS against two whistleblowers whose information has led to $54.131 million in criminal penalties and civil forfeitures awarded against a major Swiss bank. The DOJ and IRS were arguing that the tax whistleblower law did not apply to criminal tax cases that resulted in payments of fines and civil forfeitures.
National Whistleblower Center (NWC), as a member organization of the Workplace Sexual Harassment Coalition, has signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to support the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act (H.R. 4924) which passed in the House of Representatives with bipartisan support last month. The Act, which seeks to improve workplace protections for Congressional staff, has gained broad public support due to the #MeToo movement.
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.
Intelligence community whistleblower ombudsman Dan Meyer has been fired. This is a disturbing and problematic move. It is particularly surprising, or perhaps cynically appropriate, that this occurred shortly after members of the intelligence community (IC) met with whistleblower rights organizations earlier this month.