Whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn recently co-authored an extensive report on the urgent need to utilize environmental whistleblowers in the ongoing fight against corruption that threatens the wildlife and ecosystems.
The report, titled Whistleblower Protection: An Essential Tool for Addressing Corruption that Threatens the World’s Forests, Fisheries, and Wildlife, was published in the World Wildlife Fund as part of the Targeting Natural Resource Corruption (TNRC) project. Kohn co-authored the report with John Kostyack, who serves as the Senior Director of Environmental Innovation at the National Whistleblower Center.
Some of the key takeaways from the report included:
- Whistleblowing is a powerful tool for combatting and prosecuting corruption when implemented with the proper anti-retaliation provisions
- Ensuring confidentiality to whistleblowers and providing for substantial financial rewards can incentive those with information of fraud to step forward
- Enforcement of environmental laws is extremely difficult, and corrupt actors have been able to plunder natural resources with impunity. Insiders who witness these crimes are needed to help bring an end to continued damage on our ecosystems.
Kohn, who serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors at the National Whistleblower Center, has represented numerous environmental whistleblowers.
There are several existing U.S. laws that protect environmental whistleblowers and offer financial rewards. A strong framework of laws such as the False Claims Act, Dodd Frank Act, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act(FCPA), can apply to crimes that are involved in illegal logging, fishing, and wildlife trafficking.
There are also more specific laws such as the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and the Lacey Act that include whistleblower provisions.
Read the full report: Whistleblower Protection: An Essential Tool for Addressing Corruption that Threatens the World’s Forests, Fisheries, and Wildlife