Establishing an Effective DOJ Whistleblower Rewards Program

DOJ Whistleblower Program

The National Whistleblower Center is playing a leading role in advocating that the US Department of Justice’s new whistleblower program is effective and fully protects whistleblowers. Through meetings with DOJ officials, detailed letters, and in-depth opinion pieces, our attorneys are outlining the best practices for effective whistleblower award programs that incentivize whistleblowers and strengthen public trust. We urge all whistleblower supporters to join in the advocacy campaigns to make the DOJ program work.

The U.S. Deputy Attorney General announced a fast-track DOJ initiative in March 2024 to establish a new whistleblower program. This “90-day policy sprint” aims to define the specific policies that will govern the most important whistleblower laws essential for fighting fraud and corruption. 

The National Whistleblower Center is providing input to the DOJ on the key elements the program must contain in order for it to be an effective whistleblower award program that incentivizes and protects whistleblowers looking to come forward and disclose wrongdoing.

NWC’s advocacy alone is not enough. Strong public support is essential for the DOJ to change past practices and create a program that protects and incentivizes whistleblowers. Please join the National Whistleblower Center’s advocacy campaign.

The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) is urging the DOJ to model its program off of the successful aspects of the Dodd-Frank Act at the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco stated that these programs “have proven indispensable.” Advocates at NWCargue that Dodd-Frank provides a clear model for an effective whistleblower award program.

In particular, NWC and other law firms, such as Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto are advocating for four key elements of the Dodd-Frank programs to be included in the developing DOJ whistleblower rewards program:

Mandatory Awards of 10-30% of Proceeds Collected

All effective whistleblower reward programs mandate that qualified whistleblowers are entitled to a monetary award based on the funds recovered in the enforcement action connected to their disclosure. Without the promise of a mandatory award, whistleblowers will not come forward under the program.

Anonymous and Confidential Reporting Channels

To incentivize and protect whistleblowers, the DOJ program should prioritize anonymous and confidential reporting channels. Such practices incentivize whistleblowers to report wrongdoing without fear of reprisal, leading to a greater number of disclosures and ultimately, stronger enforcement.

Dedicated Whistleblower Office

The DOJ must establish a Whistleblower Office modeled on the SEC Office of the Whistleblower to effectively administer its whistleblower program. A Whistleblower Office will be able to properly receive anonymous whistleblower disclosures and ensure they are forwarded to the appropriate DOJ officials. A Whistleblower Office can also train DOJ staff on how to interface with whistleblowers in ways which protects their identity

Eligibility Requirements which Match the SEC Whistleblower Program

The SEC Whistleblower Program has clear and effective guidelines for what makes an individual eligible for monetary awards. The DOJ should copy these eligibility requirements. Not only have they proven to be effective but straying from established guidelines could cause confusion among would-be-whistleblowers.

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