Top SEC Whistleblower Attorneys Join Coalition Supporting Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Reforms
Yesterday, the nation’s top whistleblower attorneys, Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto (KKC), joined a coalition of whistleblower advocates in thanking the sponsors of the Whistleblower Programs Improvement Act (WPIA). The WPIA, introduced on September 23rd, is a bipartisan effort to improve the whistleblower reward and anti-retaliation provision of the Dodd-Frank Act. The bill sponsors are Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Richard Durbin (D-Illinois). This bill aims to clarify the Congressional intent of the Dodd-Frank Act to protect and reward SEC and CFTC whistleblowers.
In February 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court stripped protections from “internal” whistleblowers who report fraud to directly to their company rather than to regulatory authorities. Since the Digital Realty Trust v. Somers (No. 16-1276) decision, whistleblower advocates have called for a legislative response from Congress.
“There’s no reason why those who want to report wrongdoing internally should face potential retaliation from the exact people they are reporting to. Internal disclosures can be the fastest and most effective way for a company to remedy problems, prevent fraud, and protect investors. Our bill will ensure that those who do the right thing and report violations will be protected,” Grassley said.
“If we strengthen and empower whistleblowers, we can do a better job of holding corporate America accountable,” Baldwin said.
“There has long been a bipartisan consensus that if whistleblowers are being retaliated against for reporting wrongdoing, Congress has a responsibility to step in. Whistleblowers deserve to be protected. Period,” Durbin said.
The coalition letter also thanks the bill’s sponsors for their leadership. The coalition members also stress that “whistleblowers must be protected when they make internal disclosures, or they will be discouraged from sounding the alarm in the first place.”
“The Whistleblower Programs Improvement Act is essential to ensure Wall Street whistleblowers are protected,” said leading whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn. Kohn is a partner at KKC and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Whistleblower Center.
“The long delays in issuing rewards under the Dodd-Frank Act are seriously harming whistleblowers and the credibility of the Dodd-Frank Act whistleblower reward laws,” Kohn continued. “Whistleblowers often have to wait over 4-years to obtain a reward, many living in poverty after being fired. This delay is unacceptable, and the Whistleblower Programs Improvement Act will fix this injustice,” he explained.