Washington, D.C. December 1, 2016. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittees on Government Operations and Health Care, Benefits and Administrative Rules is holding a hearing today on proposed changes to the appropriations process that would have a major impact existing whistleblower reward laws.
The hearing, “Restoring the Power of the Purse: Legislative Options,” will review H.R. 5499—The Agency Accountability Act—a bill that would restrict or prohibit executive agencies from using monies obtained as sanctions to directly pay whistleblowers the compensation they are owed under existing whistleblower reward laws. The Act would impact all federal spending financed by fees, fines, and penalties currently administered by federal agencies, and instead require that Congressional appropriations approve this spending.
Stephen Kohn, a partner in the Washington, DC based whistleblower advocacy firm of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, LLP, will testify on the potential harm this bill could inadvertently cause existing whistleblower programs. Kohn is urging the Committee to ensure that whistleblower programs are protected in any final legislation.
“The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has a strong track record of supporting whistleblowers. We hope that the Committee will carefully review H.R. 5499 and ensure that federal agencies retain their ability to pay financial rewards to whistleblowers under laws such as the False Claims Act and Securities Exchange Act,” said Kohn. “Congress’s consideration of H.R. 5499 creates an opportunity to reinforce successful whistleblower programs by ensuring that federal agencies pay whistleblowers in a timely manner,” Kohn added.
The hearing is scheduled to start at 2pm EST and can be watched live here: https://oversight.house.gov/hearing/restoring-power-purse-legislative-options/
Written Testimony of Stephen M. Kohn