In a recent article published in the National Law Review, top whistleblower attorney Steven M. Kohn explains the significance of a new Marist poll on whistleblowers and what Americans think about them. The poll, conducted by The Marist Poll, an A+ rated poll according to FiveThirtyEight, was commissioned by the Whistleblower News Network (WNN). It may be the first highly rated poll to ask Americans exclusively about whistleblowers.
Kohn expresses shock at the results; the poll shows that whistleblowing is a bipartisan issue cared about by both Democrats and Republicans. Kohn writes: “Support for increased corporate whistleblower protections was bi-partisan and across all demographics: 81% of all likely voters wanted Congress to prioritize passing corporate whistleblower laws, with over one-quarter (27%) wanting such legislation as an ‘immediate priority.’” While the discovery that over three-quarters of likely voters support prioritization of enhanced corporate whistleblower protections is shocking by itself, the poll goes even further.
Kohn explains the results of another question asked by the poll: “If a candidate for Congress supports strengthening laws that protect employees who report corporate fraud, would you be more likely to vote for them, less likely, or would that not have an impact on your vote?” The results show that 44% of likely voters said they would be more likely to vote for the candidate, while 50% said it would not impact their vote. Kohn explains that this sends a clear message to candidates that they should consider issues other than just the “hot button” issues. The poll shows that a candidate’s position on whistleblowing affects how Americans vote.
Kohn calls for the immediate passage of currently pending legislation that would strengthen corporate whistleblower protections the most. He names The Whistleblower Programs Improvement Act, S.2529, the ILLICIT CASH Act, S. 2583, and Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act, H.B.864 as the most important bills to pass before the end of the Congressional session. Kohn says these bills would improve the speed of SEC whistleblower decisions, help the Department of the Treasury catch and punish money laundering, and incentivize international whistleblowers to report logging, fishing, and wildlife trafficking crimes. Kohn writes that these results show that Americans are ready for stronger whistleblower protections across the board.