WASHINGTON, D.C. | October 21, 2021 — National Whistleblower Center (NWC), alongside 18 additional advocacy organizations, sent a letter to Representative Al Green (D-TX) yesterday thanking him for sponsoring the Whistleblower Protection Reform Act of 2021 (H.R. 5485). The letter commends H.R. 5485’s modernizing provisions for the anti-retaliation provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act and urges swift enactment by Congress.
The Whistleblower Protection Reform Act of 2021 amends the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to strengthen protections for U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) whistleblowers and fortify the SEC’s whistleblower award program. This law ameliorates weaknesses in the Exchange Act such as: lack of protections for in-house disclosures, unfair burden of proof for whistleblowers, no access to jury trials, and missing “anti-gag” provisions for draconic non-disclosure agreements.
Siri Nelson, NWC Executive Director, said, “We are grateful for Representative Green’s leadership in sponsoring the Whistleblower Protection Reform Act, and we urge Congress to pass it. Following congressional intent in creating Dodd-Frank whistleblower protections after the 2008 financial crisis, we must ensure corporate whistleblowers are protected when making internal disclosures – we cannot deter would-be whistleblowers from reporting due to limitations on their protections. Failing to protect whistleblowers and creating narrow channels for reporting misconduct only dissuades whistleblowers from coming forward to their employers with potential securities law violations.”
H.R. 5485 also fortifies the SEC whistleblower program by requiring key updates to the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. The letter notes that updates include timely processing of awards, preventing arbitrary award reductions, authorizing the Office of the Whistleblower to increase staffing using the Investor Protection Fund, and authorizing award payments to whistleblowers based on recoveries by bankruptcy trustees in proceedings that stem from a whistleblower’s original information.
Co-signing organizations include Accountability Lab, Acorn 8, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Defending Rights & Dissent, Essential Information, Government Accountability Project, Government Information Watch, Open The Government, Project On Government Oversight, Public Citizen, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Shadow World Investigations, Taxpayers Against Fraud, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Transparency International, Union of Concerned Scientists, Whistleblowers of America, and Zuckerman Law Firm, LLC.
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