Mission & History

Our Mission

NWC’s mission is to support whistleblowers in their efforts to expose and help prosecute corruption and other wrongdoing around the world.

Our History

The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) was founded in 1988 by three experienced whistleblower attorneys – Stephen M. Kohn, Michael D. Kohn and David K. Colapinto – to educate the public about the plight of whistleblowers at the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant.

The first high-impact case that NWC supported challenged an industry-wide practice of coercing employees to sign non-disclosure agreements prohibiting them from raising safety concerns to federal regulators. NWC garnered support in Congress, the U.S. Court of Appeals, the Department of Labor and before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) despite well-financed opposition in the nuclear industry and one of its prime construction contractors.

The precedents set were groundbreaking. All the “hush money” agreements, industry-wide, were voided. Years later, these precedents were relied on by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in its historic ruling banning restrictive non-disclosure agreements in corporate America.

NWC has remained dedicated to protecting all whistleblowers – regardless of industry, nationality, or type of wrongdoing. With the help of our hundreds of thousands of grassroots supporters, we have achieved successes like establishing National Whistleblower Day and adding key whistleblower protections into the Dodd-Frank Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act and numerous other federal laws.

NWC educates whistleblowers about their rights, assists in finding them legal aid, and provides support for high-impact whistleblower litigation.  In order to help whistleblowers around the world with finding legal assistance, NWC has partnered with the National Whistleblower Legal Defense and Education Fund (NWLDEF), a public interest law firm that provides a secure intake process to assist whistleblowers in finding an attorney.

NWC’s achievements include:

  • Successfully advocated on behalf of the Swiss bank whistleblowers, including one who received the largest tax qui tam reward in history (Bradley Birkenfeld). These whistleblowers cracked open the illegal secret Swiss banking system that had permitted U.S. citizens to cheat the government out of billions of dollars in taxes.
  • Proposed key regulations approved by the SEC implementing the Wall Street whistleblower qui tam provisions
  • Advocated worldwide for the implementation of the qui tam provisions in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and False Claims Act
  • Trained government officials, Members of Parliament and NGOs in order to trigger the enactment of whistleblower laws in Hungary, Serbia and Bosnia, and participated in the Prague conference that resulted in the publication of international whistleblower “best practices” now used worldwide as a blueprint for effective laws.

NWC is a tax-exempt, non-partisan organization based in Washington, D.C., dependent on public support for its work advocating for the rights of whistleblowers.

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