The New Yorker declares it the year of the whistleblower, and we offer some of our popular posts of 2019.

From The New Yorker:

This year, as one scandal after another played out in the news, it was easy to become overwhelmed. Amid all the noise, there’s been a common theme in many of the reports—the increased profile and significance of whistle-blowers. It’s hard to think of another recent period when the act of whistle-blowing has had such a consequential impact on our politics and culture.

From the Whistleblower Protection Blog:

Ukraine whistleblower
  • Can the Ukraine call whistleblower remain anonymous? And, who is obligated to protect his or her anonymity?
  • The journalist and the whistleblower. Every journalist who has ever worked with a whistleblower knows these are fraught relationships.
  • Remember when the whistleblower complaint was seen as “hearsay”? Turns out secondhand whistleblower “reports are 47.7% more likely than firsthand reports to be substantiated by management, which suggests that management views many secondhand reports as credible.“
Climate Corruption Campaign
  • NWC announces new program; Only company insiders would know of climate change-related risks concealed from shareholders, the IRS and the public. The campaign will help these insiders secure confidential whistleblower status.
  • More here. Can whistleblowers save the Amazon rainforest?


Continue Reading Whistleblowers were big news in 2019. Here’s a sample.

The corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 17th Street NW is close to traffic passing the White House, according to the DCist, a local news site affiliated with radio station WAMU. Every weekday since the beginning of October, a retired software developer has stood there for the morning rush hour with a hand-lettered sign: “Honk

From the markets to the boardroom to the picket line, the reach of Danske Bank’s money laundering fraud scandal continued to play out this week.

Reuters delivered several stories. A Wednesday morning story reported that foreign investors sold Danish shares worth almost $14 billion in 2018, according to a report from Denmark’s central bank.

The divestment of bank equities may reflect a loss of confidence in the Danish banking sector in the wake of Danske Bank’s money laundering case, it said.

“The trust from international investors has certainly been reduced,” governor Lars Rohde told reporters in Copenhagen. He said political initiatives to combat money laundering were paramount to restore foreigners’ trust in Danish banks.

Rohde is the chairman of the board of governors of Danmarks Nationalbank.

Danske-Bank-Whistleblower-Howard-Wilkinson. Source: www.kkc.com
Howard Wilkinson

The Danske Bank scandal was exposed by whistleblower Howards Wilkinson. He reported suspicious financial transactions at bank’s Estonia branch, where he worked until 2014. It has been calculated that up to $20 billion in fraudulent financial activity have been brought to light by Wilkinson’s disclosures.

Stephen M. Kohn, Wilkinson’s whistleblower attorney, said in a statement that whistleblowers need to be supported, not vilified: “If the Bank had simply properly investigated Mr. Wilkinson’s initial disclosures in 2012 and 2013, they could have avoided most of this mess.”

Continue Reading Investors bail while shareholders demand answers and action from Danske Bank on money laundering scandal

Whistleblower Protection in EU

The proposed European Parliament directive on whistleblower protection could make it more difficult for individuals to come forward with information about wrongdoing, according to a coalition of transparency and anti-corruption groups.

At issue is a provision that requires employees to report potential crimes and fraud internally before going to regulators and law enforcement.

A letter signed by a range of groups calls on the EU to protect the “free flow of information necessary for responsible exercises of institutional authority.” Disclosures to law enforcement and regulatory agencies provide a “safety net for protecting the public interest and the public’s right to know when organisations are corrupt or fail to take responsibility,” they write.

If this mandatory internal disclosure regime stands, the directive will have abandoned responsible Europeans who raise concerns appropriately to their employers through their supervisors or normal management channels of communication, who disclose information to competent authorities who have the power and mandate to address wrongdoing, or who provide information to the journalists who investigate and report in the public interest. They will suffer. Europe will suffer.

Continue Reading The effort to improve whistleblower protection in Europe will fail unless insiders can seek help from outsiders

Tinker Ready, a journalist who has worked with whistleblowers throughout her career as a writer and investigative reporter, is the new editor of the Whistleblower Protection Blog.

With the help of whistleblowers, Ready has written important stories about medical conflicts of interest, poor conditions in nursing homes, and disease in an industrial slaughterhouse. Find her

Fresh water turtlesA recent investigation of wildlife trafficking highlights the importance of improving whistleblower incentives in the wildlife crimes sphere. Through “Operation Dragon,” the Wildlife Justice Commission (“WJC”) investigated the ties between the trafficking of endangered and CITES-listed freshwater turtles and the corruption that facilitates that illicit trade. Over the course of two years, WJC used undercover investigators to document operations of eight major trafficking networks in South Asia and the corrupt customs and transportation officials that consistently enabled the trafficking. The investigation allowed law enforcement to significantly disrupt these networks, arresting 30 individuals and seizing over 6,000 freshwater turtles. Wholesale value for a batch of 6,000 averages $3 million.
Continue Reading As Anti-Corruption Day Approaches, WJC Report Reminds Us of the Importance of Whistleblower Incentives

Photo Credit: Leslie Rose Photography
Photo Credit: Leslie Rose Photography

Whistleblowers have been effective at combatting financial and corporate crime, but are sorely lacking in the sphere of wildlife crime. If empowered to combat it, whistleblowers could be fundamental to dismantling the wildlife crime economy, writes Scott Hajost, Managing Director, Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program, National Whistleblower Center.
Continue Reading Empowering whistleblowers is the key to combating wildlife crime

judge-gavel-law-bookThe Trump Administration has signed the Whistleblower Protection Coordination Act (S. 1869) into law, permanently reauthorizing the Whistleblower Protection Coordinator position in all federal agencies’ Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

Special Counsel Henry Kerner stated: “This an important step to ensure whistleblowers who disclose waste, fraud, and abuse know their rights and are protected.”

Continue Reading Whistleblower Protection Coordination Act Passed into Law

Washington-dc-buildingConcern expressed over Report’s impact on pending EU whistleblower directive

WASHINGTON, D.C. | June 20, 2018—The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) and the European Center for Whistleblowers Rights has made a formal request to the Governor of the Bank of England (BoE), Mark Carney, that the BoE remove a misleading report on U.S. whistleblower reward laws from its website within 10 working days.

The letter to Governor Carney states: “We are concerned that continued use of the BoE Report as a policy reference will only serve to inhibit the implementation of effective anti-fraud laws in the U.K. Many of its assertions […] are simply false.”

Continue Reading National Whistleblower Center Requests Bank of England Withdraw ‘Deleterious’ Whistleblower Report

Kohn is representing an anonymous whistleblower(s) who has gathered information on wildlife trafficking that takes place on Facebook.

Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) and whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn has been featured in a WIRED article about Facebook’s wildlife trafficking market. The story details how Kohn and his team at NWC are using a novel methodology, whistleblower law, to hold Facebook accountable for the wildlife black market facilitated on its website.
Continue Reading Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center Featured in WIRED Story