On this Thanksgiving, Whistleblower Network News would like to extend our deepest thanks to whistleblowers. Without the brave actions of whistleblowers, the world would be a far worse place. Whistleblowers save lives, defend civil rights, guard the integrity of our markets, and protect democracy and the planet itself. Whistleblowers risk their livelihoods and their own health and safety for the betterment of society. Individuals who blow the whistle are usually motivated by a belief in the truth, not by a desire for rewards or recognition. However, we feel it is important to express our gratitude for their actions.
In 2020, whistleblowers have taken on a particularly vital role in society as the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the world and put everyone at risk. COVID whistleblowers in the government, such as Dr. Rick Bright, have fought to ensure that the government responds to the crisis in the best interest of the people. Dr. Li Wenliang, who worked as an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, tried to warn coworkers about COVID-19 in late December of 2019 before being retaliated against by the city government. Meanwhile, frontline whistleblowers such as Jhonna Porter have used their voices to make sure that frontline workers are given the protections and support they need.
In addition to COVID whistleblowers, individuals across all levels and departments of the government have risked their livelihoods and safety to bring light to government mismanagement and abuses of power. Whistleblower nurse Dawn Wooten brought the horrible conditions at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Georgia to the attention of the American public. An anonymous whistleblower at the Department of Homeland Security blew the whistle on political interference with intelligence reports. Whistleblowers have continued to show that they are integral to government oversight and accountability.
In the corporate world, whistleblowers continue to fight against fraud and mismanagement. While a majority of corporate whistleblowers remain anonymous, these brave individuals deserve our thanks, whoever they may be. The SEC Whistleblower Program’s recently released 2020 Annual Report to Congress details just how essential whistleblowers are in ensuring the integrity of the markets. In the program’s ten-year history, $2.7 billion in total monetary sanctions have been triggered by whistleblower disclosures. More than $850 million has been or is scheduled to be, returned to harmed investors.
Whistleblower Network News would also like to thank all the whistleblower advocates who tirelessly fight to ensure that whistleblowers are listened to and protected. We are deeply grateful for these advocates, whether they be whistleblower attorneys, employees at NGOs, or simply individuals who use whatever platform they may have to voice support for whistleblowers. Additionally, we would like to thank those members of Congress who fight for stronger whistleblower protections.
It is reassuring to know that the American public stands behind us in our support for whistleblowers. Our recently published Marist poll reveals the overwhelming degree to which American adults support stronger protections for whistleblowers. Thus, we feel confident that the general public agrees with our sentiments of thanks and gratitude.
Thank you, whistleblowers.