WASHINGTON, D.C. | April 27, 2021 — Last week, the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) calling for the creation of an Office of the Whistleblower within the soon-to-be-launched Office of Public Participation (OPP). Included in the comments are recommendations on how FERC can strengthen its education of potential whistleblowers and how it can protect and incentivize whistleblowers.
John Kostyack, NWC Senior Director of Environmental Innovation, said: “As FERC sets up the OPP, it must do so leveraging the full power of whistleblowers and whistleblower law. Companies that are ill-prepared for the energy transition have enormous incentives to commit fraud – but by working with whistleblowers, FERC can expand its law enforcement capabilities, deter fraud and hold the bad actors accountable.”
Mary Jane Wilmoth, NWC Interim Executive Director, said: “NWC supports FERC’s efforts to encourage greater public participation through the OPP. FERC’s current approach to whistleblowing recognizes that individuals with evidence of crime and corruption need an anonymous disclosure channel in order to step forward; however, more can be done to protect whistleblowers and encourage their reporting.”
In order to adequately protect whistleblowers that come forward, NWC offered three recommendations to improve FERC’s law enforcement program. First, an Office of the Whistleblower must be established within the OPP with a mandate of ensuring that credible disclosures are investigated, and whistleblowers are educated about the disclosure process and guided through it. Second, FERC should request that Congress authorize it to offer financial rewards to whistleblowers as a percentage of the monetary sanctions that the whistleblowers help secure. Third, when appropriate, FERC should refer whistleblower disclosures to the Securities Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and other agencies with authority to make rewards.
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