Will the DOJ Whistleblower Program Permit Anonymous and Confidential Reporting?


As the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) continues on its 90-day policy sprint to develop a whistleblower award program, whistleblower advocates are pushing on the agency to implement proven best-practices found in other whistleblower programs.

In a new piece for NYU Law’s Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement, leading whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto dives into the issue of anonymous and confidential reporting channels for the DOJ Whistleblower Program.

“Whistleblower advocates have uniformly asked the Justice Department to permit anonymous and confidential reporting as is currently permitted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under the highly successful Dodd-Frank Act,” Kohn writes. “However, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has historically not permitted anonymous or confidential whistleblower disclosures to the department. The current DOJ-approved procedures require all ‘human sources’ to undergo an extensive background screening making anonymous reporting impossible. Even when a whistleblower is granted confidential informant status, the current procedures permit the DOJ to waive confidentiality essentially at-will.”

In the piece Kohn outlines the current DOJ rules on confidentiality. He then explains how the Dodd-Frank Act’s confidentiality provisions broke new grounds and how the SEC Whistleblower Program’s rules on anonymity and confidentiality have been highly successful.

“The empirical evidence demonstrates that the Dodd-Frank confidentiality rules work well, incentivizing informants to step forward, but not interfering with law enforcement investigations,” Kohn writes in conclusion. “Adopting the Dodd-Frank confidentiality rules will go a long way to making the new DOJ program a success.”

Anonymous and confidential reporting channels are one of the key elements being called for by whistleblower advocates, including National Whistleblower Center and former-SEC Commissioner Allison Herren Lee.

National Whistleblower Center is calling on whistleblower supporters to join in urging the DOJ to follow proven best practices for its whistleblower award program. It has set up an Action Alert allowing individuals to write to the DOJ, as well as to Congress and the White House, explaining why these best practices are so essential and have proven to work for whistleblowers.

Read the Full Article:

Will the Justice Department’s “90-Day Sprint” Creating a New Whistleblower Program Permit Confidential or Anonymous Reporting?


90 Day Policy Sprint for DOJ Whistleblower Rewards Program

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