The National Whistleblowers Center Press Room lists the latest press on whistleblower issues, NWC heroes, NWC staff, press releases on top issues, links to multimedia, and upcoming events.
NWC News Highlights
Today is National Whistleblower Appreciation Day. On this day in 1778 the Continental Congress passed what very well could be the world’s first whistleblower law. Our revolutionary forefathers, when they learned that two whistleblowers that had exposed misconduct by the highest-ranking U.S. naval official, were being prosecuted in the State of Rhode Island, agreed to act. They voted to spend precious monies from the new government’s treasury to ensure that the whistleblowers had lawyers to defend them. They voted to release all of the naval records documenting the whistleblower’s concerns.
Finally, the Founding Fathers, on July 30, 1778 passed our nation’s first whistleblower law. It’s message was clear and the vote was unanimous: “That it is the duty of all persons in the service of the United States, as well as all other inhabitants thereof, to give the earliest information to Congress or any other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by any persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge."
The history behind this historic day was lost. However, fifteen years ago, when the National Whistleblower Center’s Executive Director Stephen Kohn was researching materials for an amicus brief filed by the NWC supporting the constitutionality of the False Claims Act, he discovered this law. He then carefully researched why our Founding Fathers enacted the resolution, and learned the details of America’s first whistleblower case. He reviewed the letters the whistleblowers wrote in jail pleading their case to the revolutionary Congress. He obtained from the National Archives a copy of the check the Continental Congress wrote to Sam Adams, honoring Congress’ agreement to pay the costs of the whistleblower’s defense.
This history was spelled out for the first time in The Whistleblower’s Handbook. When Senator Charles Grassley learned of this historic event, he worked in a bi-partisan manner with Senator Levin to ensure that this day would be honored. On July 30, 2013 the U.S. Senate enacted their Joint Resolution recognizing National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.
Today, we call on all citizens of the world to honor National Appreciation Whistleblower Day. To remember the sacrifices whistleblowers have endured to protect the public interest. To demand that their governments rise to the call of justice for which our Founding Fathers did, while fighting a war for the very survival or our nation, on that day, July 30th, 1778.
The National Whistleblower Center When you make a donation of $15 or more to support the National Whistleblower Center* today, July 30, 2014, you will receive a copy of The Whistleblower's Handbook as our gift in honor of National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.
*Please note the donation links take you to the National Whistleblower Center's secure donation page.
Washington, D.C. December 27, 2012. The Washington Post published year-end articles that highlighted three ongoing projects of the National Whistleblower Center.
In an article published on December 26, "Top 10 stories in the federal workforce in 2012", The Washington Post cited the scandal involving FDA electronic spying on its own scientists who blew the whistle on agency misconduct. The Post ranked the FDA electronic spying scandal as the number 9 story that affected the federal workforce this past year. The NWC has been actively supporting the scientists who have sued the FDA for whistleblower retaliation and challenged the constitutionality of the FDA's secret monitoring of the scientists' personal and private emails. As revealed by the NWC and the whistleblower scientists, the FDA targeted the whistleblowers for electronic surveillance by installing secret spyware on their computers. The FDA captured confidential emails from the whistleblowers' personal and private email accounts (such as Yahoo and Gmail accounts) and the FDA stole the whistleblowers' confidential communications with their attorneys as well as communications with members of Congress, the Inspector General and others discussing the whistleblowers' allegations of serious wrongdoing by the agency.
Washington, D.C. November 29, 2012 - On November 5, 2012, the National
Whistleblower Center filed a briefing paper/amicus brief with the
Internal Revenue Service addressing key questions of law governing the
IRS Whistleblower program. The brief, linked here, addresses the issue
of "collected proceeds" under the IRS whistleblower law. The "collected
proceeds" issue impacts hundreds if not thousands of cases in which the
IRS must determine whether a whistleblower is entitled to a reward
based on monies obtained by the U.S. government related to tax
November 27, 2012
By Samuel Rubenfeld
President Barack Obama signed new whistleblower protections into law, the White House said Tuesday.
The law, known as the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (pdf), expands protections for federal workers who blow the whistle on misconduct, fraud and illegality.
Former FBI Agent John Roberts profiled on 60 Minutes.
Recent Press Releases
Requests that the Hearing Scheduled for July 30, 2014 Present Balanced TestimonyWashington, D.C. July 25, 2014. Today the National Whistleblower Center released a new report entitled “Saving America's 'Most Important Tool to Uncover and Punish Fraud.'” The report rebuts arguments being raised by the Chamber of Commerce as part of its aggressive lobbying campaign to undercut and weaken the False Claims Act.
The FCA is widely acknowledged as America’s most effective anti-fraud law. It encourages whistleblowers to report fraud in government contracting, and results in the recovery of billions of dollars every year from fraudulent government contractors. The Chamber is preparing to testify at an upcoming hearing before the House Judiciary Committee in order to pave the way for Congress to weaken the FCA.
“Why would anyone want to undermine the key law protecting taxpayer’s money? Why would anyone want to destroy a key anti-fraud law? The Chamber of Commerce is doing the bidding for corrupt contractors, some of which have engaged in bid-rigging, illegal marketing of unapproved drugs, and selling unsafe bullet proof vests to police. In a recent FCA case the Chamber filed papers in court to keep secret company files that fully documented widespread corruption in a major defense contract,” said Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center and the author of the NWC’s rebuttal report.
“No member of Congress should support the Chamber’s misguided and misleading campaign to weaken America’s most important anti-fraud law. Currently, the House Judiciary Committee will not permit representatives from the National Whistleblower Center to testify. This should be corrected, and the NWC should be permitted to present it report to the full committee,” Kohn added.
SOX whistleblower protection covers mutual fund industry
Washington, D.C. March 4, 2014. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in Lawson v. FMR, LLC, that contractors and subcontractors of publicly traded companies are fully protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for corporate whistleblowers.
Significantly, in today's decision the Supreme Court explicitly held that investment advisors and other "independent contractors" employed in the mutual fund industry are fully protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act's whistleblower provisions. The Supreme Court's ruling reversed a lower court holding excluding the mutual fund industry from protection under Sarbanes-Oxley.
In her majority opinion, on page 20, Justice Ginsburg explained that her ruling "avoids insulating the entire mutual fund industry from" the corporate whistleblower law. Justice Ginsburg also explained that these mutual funds manage $14.7 trillion dollars, on behalf of "nearly 94 million investors."
Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, released the following statement regarding the importance of this decision:
“This is a big win for corporate whistleblowers. This is a big win for every person who invests money through mutual funds. The Supreme Court closed a potentially devastating loop hole in corporate whistleblower protection. By ruling that contractors and subcontractors of publicly traded companies are fully protected under the corporate whistleblower provisions, the Court has put an end to the popular shell game which large companies use try to silence whistleblowers.”
The National Whistleblower Center filed a friend of the court brief before the Supreme Court in this case and has been instrumental in defending the Sarbanes-Oxley Act from corporate attempts to undermine its effectiveness.
Mr. Kohn is available for further comment on this decision. Email email@example.com to set up an interview.
Read the decision: Lawson v. FMR, LLC
The Agent responsible for finding and cultivating this source, and successfully thwarting terrorist threats in California, is FBI Supervisory Special Agent Bassem Youssef. Mr. Youssef was the FBI’s highest ranking counterterrorism official to “blow the whistle” on the FBI’s gross mismanagement of the War on Terror. He was also the highest-ranking FBI agent who is fluent Arabic. In spite of his qualifications, after the 9/11 attacks the FBI irresponsibly questioned his loyalties due to his national origin and blacklisted him. When he alerted a Member of Congress and the Director of the FBI to the discrimination he faced, Mr. Youssef was subjected to more severe retaliation, including the denial of promotions, punitive transfers and stripping him of all his prior operational counterterrorism duties, which had resulted in the successful infiltration detailed in today’s Washington Times. The retaliation against Mr. Youssef continues to this day.
The National Whistleblower Center issued an Action Alert calling on President Obama to give credit to Supervisory Special Agent Youssef for his work in one of the most significant triumphs in the war on terror and to tell the FBI to stop the retaliation against him. Please join with the NWC and take action on this critical issue.
Washington, D.C. Feburary 20, 2014. Today the Securities and Exchange Commission filed an extensive brief and position statement before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit urging the court to fully protect whistleblowers who make internal disclosures exposing fraud against investors and other violations of securities laws. Linked here are a copy of the SEC's brief and a copy of a statement by Sean McKessy, Chief of the SEC Whistleblower Office. The brief was filed in the case of Liu Meng-Lin v. Siemens AG, case number 13-4385.
Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, released the following statement regarding the SEC's action:
"The brief filed today by the SEC marks a fundament shift in the position of the Commission and the whistleblower community. The Commission is backing up its words with action. The Commission's rules recognize the importance of protecting employees who report fraud internally to managers. Practically speaking, most fraud is disclosed through the chain of command and retaliating against employees who report internally has a devastating impact on the enforcement of laws designed to protect shareholders from the unscrupulous wolves of Wall Street.
In filing a powerful and well written position statement supporting whistleblowers who report fraud internally, the SEC is backing up its rules with strong legal action. The SEC has done the right thing in advocating for justice in a whistleblower retaliation case."
FBI Whistleblower Dr. Frederic Whitehurst on Larry King Live.