NGO Calls on Whistleblowers to Address Coronavirus and Climate Change

Today, the Washington, D.C. based National Whistleblower Center (NWC) issued a plea for whistleblowers to assist in the “twin crises of coronavirus and climate change.” “The coronavirus pandemic requires priority attention from every part of society,” said NWC Executive Director John Kostyack. However, he continues, “We must also stay aware of the crisis we face due to climate change. “Climate change – continues to gather momentum despite a temporary drop in global carbon emissions linked to the dramatic reduction in economic activity related to coronavirus restrictions,” explained Kostyack.

“Whistleblowers play a critical role in meeting the climate challenge, which is why the National Whistleblower Center has made its Climate Corruption Campaign one of its top organizational priorities,” explains Kostyack. He thinks whistleblowers can help ensure coronavirus-related public funds are not only used to help those most in need but also “to build a more sustainable and resilient economy.”

Also, Kostyack warns “the great risk is that the fossil fuel sectors will seek to keep shareholder dividends flowing through environmental and safety shortcuts and generous infusions of taxpayer dollars.”

The most potent law covering Coronavirus whistleblowing is the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act (FCA). Whistleblowers can use this law to police fraud within the billions of dollars in federal funding allocated to fight the Coronavirus. The FCA allows private individuals to sue on behalf of the U.S. government and allows those individuals to collect whistleblower rewards of between 15 to 30 percent of any monetary sanctions collected by the government.

The U.S Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission each have whistleblower programs created under the Dodd-Frank Act. Under these programs, whistleblowers who report fraud in the securities, commodities, and derivatives markets can choose to remain anonymous. Whistleblowers who want to stay anonymous must hire an attorney to file allegations on their behalf. Because rewards can only be paid based on “original” information, the whistleblower who first alerts the government to a potential violation stands the strongest chance of obtaining the most substantial reward. Whistleblowers can be eligible to receive between 10 and 30 percent of the sanctions collected if the information provided to the government results in a successful enforcement action of $1 million or more.

Whistleblowers, using these laws, can be an essential tool in addressing both the Coronavirus Pandemic and climate corruption.

Read the full article from the National Whistleblower: Whistleblowers are Needed to Help Address the Twin Crises of Coronavirus and Climate Change.

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