Opinion: On GivingTuesday Help the National Whistleblower Center Fight Corruption

Today is GivingTuesday– a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations worldwide to encourage people to donate to the causes close to their heart. The National Whistleblower Center, the nation’s leading whistleblower advocacy organization, has a 30-year history of fighting corruption. The NWC announced its 2018 GivingTuesday campaign by sharing a few highlights from the year.

National Whistleblower Day Celebration 2018:

The 2018 National Whistleblower Day Celebration was a huge success. Whistleblowers were honored on July 30th at the annual celebration hosted by the National Whistleblower Center. Government officials, whistleblower advocates, whistleblowers and their supporters gathered to commemorate the 240th anniversary of the nation’s first whistleblower law, which was passed on July 30th, 1778.

Whistleblowers and agency leaders took turns speaking to the crowd of over 200 attendees about their stories and their dedication to fighting corruption, fraud, waste, and abuse in the government and private sectors. Over 60 of the attendees were whistleblowers, and each received individual recognition when NWC Board Member and FBI Whistleblower Jane Turner asked them to stand to be recognized. Each was met with a strong round of applause. Watch the videos of this year’s speakers.

NWC’s Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program:

The Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program has seen tremendous growth under the leadership of Scott Hajost. Hajost was named the new managing director of the program in January. He has worked to forge new partnerships, both in the U.S. and globally, to refer and protect whistleblowers in the areas of wildlife crime, including illegal logging and fishing. In 2018 the NWC announced partnerships with Wildlife Justice Commission and International Fund for Animal Welfare.

In January, NWC Executive Director Stephen M. Kohn, travelled to Kenya to teach a workshop on wildlife whistleblowing. In March The GAO issued a report finding that wildlife trafficking is among the top-ranked illicit trades, valued at approximately $23 billion a year, and that “the United States is one of the world’s largest trafficking markets.” The GAO recommended a top-down review of how to best utilize the payment of rewards to combat illegal wildlife trafficking, and how to effectively publicize the whistleblower reward program to the public. And In a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivered October 9, 2018, the NWC requested that Facebook immediately start cooperating with the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) efforts to investigate and halt wildlife trafficking.

The NWC’s upcoming End-Year report will address the many other highlights for the Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program in 2018.

NWC in the Courts:

The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) filed four amici curiae (friend of court) briefs in 2018 to support whistleblowers and advocate for their protection. These briefs have addressed compelling legal issues including veterans’ preference-eligible FBI employees the right to raise whistleblowing as an affirmative defense in an appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), the right of Idaho state employees to receive damages for emotional distress and whether whistleblower reports needed to be “definitive and specific,” for whistleblowers to receive protection under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Learn more about these cases from previous posts.

Further Reading:

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