July 30 is National Whistleblower Day, a holiday commemorating the United States’ first whistleblower law and celebrating the heroic actions of whistleblowers all over the world. The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) is hosting its annual National Whistleblower Day celebration, and on June 3 the whistleblower advocacy group announced that Gary Gensler, the Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), will deliver keynote remarks at the event.
National Whistleblower Day 2021 will be held virtually and will “include nearly a full day of programming featuring more than 60 speakers, hailing from countries around the world and composing over a dozen panels,” according to NWC. The event will be the largest whistleblower celebration to date and will focus on key themes such as environmental, international, and emergent whistleblower protections.
Gensler was confirmed as the Chair of the SEC on April 14, 2021. He oversees the agency’s highly successful whistleblower program, which is seen by many whistleblower advocates as the gold standard of whistleblower programs.
Before his confirmation, Gensler pledged strong support for the SEC Whistleblower Program. In a series of written answers to questions filed by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Gensler stated: “If confirmed to lead the SEC, I will build on the work of past Chairs to ensure continued strength in the whistleblower program.”
Since Gensler took over as the head of the SEC, the agency has continued to issue whistleblower awards at a record rate. So far this fiscal year, the program has already set fiscal year records for total dollar amount awarded to whistleblowers, largest single award, and number of individual whistleblowers rewarded.
Gensler is not the only government official speaking at National Whistleblower Day 2021. National Security Agency (NSA) Inspector General Robert Storch, Office of Special Counsel (OSC) Special Counsel Henry Kerner, and Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz will be featured at the event. Former DOJ Inspector General Michael Atkinson and former SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson will also be speaking during the celebration.
Whistleblowers scheduled to speak at the celebration include Rebekah Jones (Florida Department of Health), Jane Turner (FBI), Kimberly Young-McLear (Coast Guard), Sara Thompson (Peace Corps), and Bradley Birkenfeld (UBS).
A number of Congressmembers will also be featured at National Whistleblower Day, including Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ron Wyden (D-WI), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) of the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus and Representatives Kathleen Rice (D-NY) and John Garamendi (D-CA).