“Why Wildlife Whistleblower Rewards Need Work,” by National Whistleblower Center Executive Director, Stephen M. Kohn, and Chief Operating Officer, Ashley Binetti, is now live on Law360. This article highlights the need for effective implementation and enforcement of wildlife whistleblower reward laws.
The authors explain that the recent increase in wildlife trafficking globally has had tremendous consequences for animal species and the prosperity of many countries. Kohn and Binetti make the compelling argument that incentivizing people on the inside to come forward with essential information would allow for greater enforcement of the law, honor Congressional intent, and is just good public policy.
Binetti and Kohn reveal that there are whistleblower reward provisions in most U.S. wildlife protection laws (i.e., the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act) that are meant to provide monetary compensation to whistleblowers who report information on wildlife trafficking and other crimes. Unfortunately, these laws have not been effectively enforced by the government agencies tasked with implementing them (i.e., U.S. Departments of Interior, Treasury, Commerce, and Agriculture). For example, these agencies have not published rules or procedures on reporting information or applying for awards. They also have not established a whistleblower office or consistently provided awards under these wildlife laws, like the highly successful U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Office of the Whistleblower does for securities whistleblowers.
There is great potential for wildlife whistleblower laws to improve detection and reverse the extinction crisis—but they must be effectively utilized to have that impact.
Be sure to check this article out on Law360, or click to read the full article.
*Hat Tip to Author Morgan Palmiter, NWC Intern