On December 2, Michael D. Kohn, founding partner of the leading whistleblower law firm Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto (KKC), joined four representatives from the Libyan government to discuss whistleblowing in the United States and abroad.
Kohn is also co-founder and president of the National Whistleblower Center (NWC). Friday’s event, which took place at the Meridian International Center, was one of many presentations that KKC and NWC put on for international guests.
Titled “Anti-Corruption and Accountability within Governmental Institutions: A Project for Libya,” Kohn’s presentation covered U.S. whistleblower reward laws, government programs, and pending laws supporting whistleblowers in different fields.
The participants hailed from audit, finance, and banking roles in the Libyan government. As part of the State Department’s professional exchange program, the International Visitor Leadership Program, these officials travel across the U.S. learning about American culture, business practices, and governmental affairs.
Kohn explained the process in which whistleblower rewards are paid, which comes at no expense to U.S. taxpayers.
During the Q&A segment, participants asked about the history of modern day whistleblower laws, penalties for false or frivolous whistleblower tips to government officials, and media involvement in the world of whistleblowing.
Kohn also discussed the cultural motivations to blow the whistle. While honesty is taught to be praised in many scenarios, Kohn explained, it may backfire and lead to retaliation in instances of whistleblowing. This is where financial rewards are key, as they make the risk of whistleblowing worthwhile.
“If there’s a reward, the culture does not matter that much,” Kohn said. “That is where it becomes a lot more successful.”
With the possibility of these large awards, along with protections such as confidentiality and anonymity, whistleblowing can be a successful avenue for people in any field to fight corruption and deter wrongdoing.
To request a speaking appearance by Michael Kohn, or any representative from Kohn, Kohn, & Colapinto LLP or the National Whistleblower Center, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org