Rule 3: Follow the Money

Part of the “Quick Peek” Series, exploring the NEW edition of Stephen Kohn‘s Whistleblower’s Handbook.

Stephen Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center (NWC), underscores that “the single most important rule for whistleblowers is very simple: Follow the money.” Whistleblowing can be a long and difficult road, so before embarking on the journey potential whistleblowers should make sure they know the risk to reward scale is tipping to their favor. Nine federal laws require whistleblower compensation, and over $6.7 billion in rewards has been paid to whistleblowers between 1987 and 2016.

The oldest of these whistleblower reward laws is the False Claims Act (FCA), which covers all federal procurement and contracting fraud. Why do we need laws like the FCA to protect and support whistleblowers? Kohn emphasizes, “The reasoning behind the[se] law[s] is simple: Reward people for doing the right thing.” And the government is making a pretty penny doing it. Between 1986 and 2016 the U.S. Treasury recovered over $54 billion! Additionally, whistleblower rewards incentivize reporting—the False Claims Act is the most successful anti-fraud law in the world because it encourages insiders to report crime.

These laws work, but it is important to familiarize yourself with the relevant laws and procedures if you are thinking about blowing the whistle to do so safely and effectively.

The new edition of The Whistleblower’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What’s Right and Protecting Yourself will be released in July 2017. You can reserve your copy of this highly acclaimed Whistleblower’s Handbook now by making a tax-exempt donation of $50 or more to the National Whistleblower Center. Your donation will support the NWC’s work to protect the brave individuals that put themselves on the line to protect us all. The forthcoming edition is fully updated, with new sections on wildlife whistleblowing, combating foreign corruption, and an international anti-corruption toolkit.

*Hat tip to NWC intern Arthur Kohn for his authorship of this blog post.

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