On January 12, the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) hand-delivered thank you letters to the offices of members of Congress who supported the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Whistleblower Improvement Act. The bill, which was passed by Congress on December 23, has been described as “the most important transnational anti-corruption law ever passed.”
NWC delivered the letters to Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Representatives Alma Adams (D-NC), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).
“NWC and our supporters have been fighting for these improvements to the Anti-Money Laundering whistleblower program for two-years,” said Siri Nelson, Executive Director at NWC. “We are so grateful that our supporters, and the support of Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto, LLP, and Whistleblower Network News, were able to garner the support of Senators Grassley and Warnock, and Representatives Adams, DeLauro, and Gonzalez to make this critical improvement a reality. Thanks to these leading legislators, President Biden was able to do the right thing for whistleblowers and set the FinCEN program up for success.”
“Thanks to your efforts in securing the AML whistleblower provision, the government will save money while attacking global corruption at its roots,” the letters read. “This bill will give law enforcement the tools it needs to go after the illegally sourced money of Russian oligarchs and despots around the world.”
“Thank you, once again, for your commitment to whistleblowers,” the letters conclude. “This was a monumental step forward for whistleblower protections and global anti-corruption efforts. We celebrate your leadership in advancing this critically important bill.”
The AML Whistleblower Improvement Act offers two reforms to the AML Whistleblower Program which was established in 2021 but has been undermined by legislative loopholes. The reforms are modeled off provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, which established the highly successful SEC and CFTC whistleblower programs. One provision specifies that under the AML Whistleblower Program, qualified whistleblowers will receive awards of “not less than 10 percent” of the sanctions collected in the relevant enforcement action. Previously, there was no statutory minimum for AML whistleblower awards, meaning that awards are purely discretionary.
Secondly, the bill establishes a fund to pay AML whistleblower awards. Like the SEC’s whistleblower fund, it is entirely financed by sanctions collected in whistleblower-assisted cases. This means that whistleblower awards are not reliant on the Congressional appropriations process and do not cost the taxpayers any money.
Furthermore, the AML Whistleblower Improvement Act expands the reach of the AML Whistleblower Program to cover whistleblowers who disclose violations of U.S. sanctions such as those imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Previously, no U.S. whistleblower law covered sanctions whistleblowing.
Leading whistleblower attorney and NWC’s Chairman of the Board Stephen M. Kohn appeared on WNN’s Whistleblower of the Week podcast to discuss the grassroots campaign by whistleblower supporters to get the bill passed.