December 9 is International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD): the date was designated by the United Nations’ (UN) General Assembly on October 31, 2003. 2022’s commemoration of IACD “seeks to highlight the crucial link between anti-corruption and peace, security, and development” and recognizes that it is everyone’s right and responsibility to fight corruption.
In this article, learn about critical anti-corruption legislation in the U.S. that is waiting to be passed and get insights on how whistleblowers are key in the fight against corruption.
The Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Act: Critical Anti-Corruption Legislation
On December 7, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously, 100-0, to pass the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Whistleblower Improvement Act. The bill extends Dodd-Frank style whistleblower rights to individuals reporting money laundering and sanctions violations.
The bill is essential to holding Russian oligarchs accountable. By incentivizing whistleblowers, the bill will allow the U.S. to crack down on the money laundering and sanctions-busting schemes of Russian oligarchs. It is these illicit financial streams which are helping fund Putin’s war machine.
Currently, whistleblowers reporting sanctions violations are not protected under any U.S. whistleblower laws and money-laundering whistleblowers are not afforded the same rights as corporate whistleblowers. The AML Whistleblower Improvement Act addresses these current legislative shortcomings.
The House of Representatives is prepared to pass the bill. But Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, needs to support a vote on the bill in the House in order for the bill to be passed.
The National Whistleblower Center is calling on whistleblower supporters to contact Representative DeLauro and urge her to support the AML Whistleblower Improvement Act.
Representative DeLauro’s office can be reached at (202) 225-3661 and the House Committee on Appropriations at (202) 225-2771.
Whistleblowers Key in Fight Against Corruption
Whistleblowers play a huge role in combating corruption all over the world. In the U.S.’ healthcare complex, whistleblowers are critical to uncovering waste, fraud, and abuse. Fraudulent schemes can be particularly harmful to patients and erode trust in the medical system: kickback schemes prioritize profits and perks over the wellbeing of patients, while situations in which federal healthcare programs are being defrauded are detrimental to taxpayers and patients. In Fiscal Year 2021, qui tam whistleblowers helped the DOJ recover $1.6 billion in settlements. The DOJ highlighted health care fraud as “the leading source of the department’s False Claims Act settlements and judgments.”
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) whistleblowers made a huge difference this year in fighting against fraudulent schemes. During the 2022 Fiscal Year, which ran from October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022, the SEC received a record 12,300 whistleblower tips. According to the report, “the most common complaint categories reported by whistleblowers were Manipulation (21%), Offering Fraud (17%), Initial Coin Offerings and Cryptocurrencies (14%), and Corporate Disclosures and Financials (13%).”
103 SEC whistleblowers won a total of $229 million in Fiscal Year 2022. Through the SEC Whistleblower Program, qualified whistleblowers are entitled to awards of 10-30% of the sanctions collected in the enforcement action connected to their disclosure. The largest whistleblower award issued in the 2022 Fiscal Year was a $40 million award issued in October 2021 to two whistleblowers who reported critical information to the SEC. The other top-five awards issued in the 2022 Fiscal Year were for $37 million, $17 million, $16 million, and $15 million.
Fighting Anti-Corruption Globally
Whistleblowers all over the world continue to make critical impacts and fight against corruption. Nestlé whistleblower Dr. Yasmine Motarjemi is continuing to advocate for better protections for French whistleblowers and spread the word about the importance of food safety whistleblowers. Youth Against Corruption, an NGO, has “hundreds of volunteers” and reached “3,000 young people in Lebanon” interested in learning about combating corruption in refreshing ways, founder Serena Ibrahim told WNN. The anonymous Panama Papers whistleblower, who released over 10 million documents that “exposed illicit financial activity and tax evasion through the use of anonymous offshore shell companies,” gave their first interview in July. Malaysian organization the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism told WNN about the state of whistleblowing in Malaysia, media coverage of corruption schemes, and the organization’s work.