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Press Room

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.

Journalists with inquiries about national, local or international whistleblower issues, please contact Mary Jane Wilmoth at mjw@whistleblowers.org for more information.

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NWC News Highlights

    Thursday, 27 December 2012

     

    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.

     

    Thursday, 29 November 2012

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    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 violations.

    Wednesday, 28 November 2012

    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.

    Tuesday, 27 November 2012

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    Washington, D.C. November 27, 2012. President Barack Obama signed into law today the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA). Whistleblower attorneys working pro bono with the NWC played an instrumental role in passing this Act. NWC's Executive Director Stephen Kohn testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee and David Colapinto testified before the House Government Oversight hearing in support of the bill.

    The bill contains important advances including an expanded definition of "protected disclosure" and permits whistleblowers to collect compensatory damages.  Kohn and Colapinto worked for over two years to successfully block three "poison pills" that had been inserted into the law. These "poison pills" would have permitted the MSPB to summarily dismiss cases without a hearing, repealed existing protections for FBI whistleblowers and permitted the executive branch to fire whistleblowers for reporting "minor" violations of law.


Former FBI Agent John Roberts profiled on 60 Minutes.

 

 

Recent Press Releases

    Tuesday, 04 March 2014

     

    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 mjw@whistleblowers.org to set up an interview.

     

    Read the decision: Lawson v. FMR, LLC 

    Wednesday, 26 February 2014
    Washington, D.C. February 26, 2014.  In an exclusive report, The Washington Times reports that important information regarding the FBI’s counterterrorist achievements was never given to the members 9/11 Commission. The fact that the FBI had placed a human source in direct contact with Osama bin Laden in 1993 and ascertained that the al Qaeda leader was looking to finance terrorist attacks in the United States, was revealed in court testimony in a little-noticed employment dispute case.

     

    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.

     Take Action!

     Read: EXCLUSIVE: FBI had human source in contact with bin Laden as far back as 1993


    Thursday, 20 February 2014

    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."

    Monday, 16 December 2013

    National Whistleblowers Center
    P.O. Box 25074
    Washington, D.C. 20027
    http://www.whistleblowers.org

    FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
    Mary Jane Wilmoth
    (202) 342-1902
    mjw@whistleblowers.org

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

     

    Whistleblower Fears UBS Banker Raoul Weil 
    Will Get Sweetheart Deal
     
    UBS Tax Fraud Kingpin Extradited to
    United States Faces Hearing Today

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida. December 16, 2013.  Raoul Weil, the former head of UBS’s Global Wealth Management business is scheduled to appear for a hearing in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale today. He was extradited to the United States from Italy where he was arrested on an international warrant after being indicted for his role in conspiring to violate U.S. tax laws.  Weil was the top boss for UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld, and controlled the international illegal banking schemes worldwide.

    As  head of Global Wealth Management while Birkenfeld worked at the bank, Weil had responsibility for five international regions for which UBS actively solicited wealthy clients to establish secret and illegal accounts and other fraudulent enterprises that permitted hundreds of billions of dollars to be hidden from local taxing authorities, including the United States.  His regions were:  Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe and Americas).  Martin Liechti, who was directly responsible for the illegal banking activities that Birkenfeld exposed, was the head of the America’s program, and reported to Weil.

    In 2007, UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld provided the IRS, SEC, U.S. Senate and Department of Justice with unprecedented access to thousands of pages of documents and other information revealing for the first time the international fraud schemes managed by Weil.  Birkenfeld’s historic disclosures led directly to Weil’s indictment in 2008 and his eventual arrest by Italian authorities.

    In a statement issued today by Stephen M. Kohn, the Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center and one of Mr. Birkenfeld’s attorneys, Kohn warned that the Justice Department “may give Weil a sweetheart deal that could cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars, and set back international efforts to curb corruption.” 

    Kohn pointed to a highly improper “deal” cut with Martin Liechti, who formally ran the America’s program under Weil’s leadership at UBS.  “Liechti was caught red-handed in the United States, but was permitted to plead the ‘Fifth Amendment’ in testimony before Congress, and soon after permitted to leave the United States without having to face justice for his illegal actions in hiding billions of dollars from the IRS,” Kohn said.  


FBI Whistleblower Dr. Frederic Whitehurst on Larry King Live.