HomeWhat Makes a Whistleblower Award Law Successful?

What Makes a Whistleblower Award Law Successful?

In a new article published by Reuters, Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto founding partner Stephen M. Kohn outlines what makes a whistleblower award law successful. Kohn explains that knowing how to interpret potentially overlapping whistleblower laws is of growing significance because whistleblowers and their counsel may have to choose which law to use in certain cases where two laws cover one violation.

According to Kohn, because modern whistleblower award laws have been actively used since 1986, “a solid empirical basis exists to judge which laws to use, and which to avoid.” Based upon the empirical record, Kohn highlights three elements of a successful whistleblower award law: mandatory award payment requirements, confidentiality protections, and related action provisions.

Kohn explains the importance of each of these elements in detail. He outlines which award laws have these elements and why they are so vital to the laws being successful. For example, Kohn traces the history of the False Claims Act and how the implementation of mandatory award requirements in 1986 transformed the law into the most effective anti-fraud law in the United States.

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Latest News & Insights

  • December 6, 2022

    On December 6, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in United States, ex rel. Polansky v. Executive Health Resources, Inc. The case concerns the issue of whether or not the U.S. government can dismiss False Claim Act whistleblowers' qui tam suits after initially declining to intervene in them. According to whistleblower attorneys, the case has tremendous implications for the efficacy of the False Claims Act. “All of the Justices’ questioning at oral argument appear to be deferential to the government’s position that the DOJ can dismiss a case that it did not initially intervene in,” said whistleblower attorney David Colapinto, a founding partner at the qui tam firm Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto. “However, the Court is struggling with what standard, if any, should be applied by courts at a hearing on the government’s motion to dismiss a whistleblower’s False Claims Act suit, years after the government has declined to intervene in the case.” "During the oral argument the government took the position that it’s just 'too bad' if the whistleblower has spent 'a ton of money' and years litigating the False Claims Act suit. That was brushed off as a reasonable risk that every whistleblower takes when filing suit," continued Colapinto, who has represented False Claims Act whistleblowers since the 1980s. "This turns the False Claims Act statute on its head. Congress created the right of a whistleblower to bring these suits without the government to protect the taxpayers." “If the ...

  • December 5, 2022

    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 ...

  • December 2, 2022

    Each year the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of the Whistleblower releases an Annual Report to Congress detailing the activities of the highly successful SEC Whistleblower Program. The annual report for the 2022 Fiscal Year (FY 2022), which ended on September 30, reveals that the SEC Whistleblower Program had a record-setting fiscal year. The SEC received a record 12,300 whistleblower tips in FY 2022 and issued 103 whistleblower awards totaling approximately $229 million. Here are some key takeaways from the report: SEC Whistleblower Program Continues Success of Record-Shattering FY 2021 “Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 continued to build on the record-breaking success of FY 2021 for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Whistleblower Program,” the report begins. In fact, FY 2021 was not just a record-breaking year but a record-shattering one. That year, the SEC received a record 12,200 whistleblower tips and issued a record $564 million in whistleblower awards to a record 108 individuals. Over the course FY 2021, the whistleblower program issued more awards than in all previous years combined. The SEC Whistleblower Program’s Annual Report for FY 2022 shows that FY 2021 was not a fluke. In FY 2022 the SEC received a new record 12,300 whistleblower tips. It also once again issued over 100 whistleblower awards. While the overall monetary amount awarded to whistleblowers dipped, the difference can almost entirely be attributed to two $100 million-plus awards issued by the ...

  • November 28, 2022

    On November 28, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a $20 million whistleblower award to an individual whose disclosure contained “new and critical information that led to the success of an enforcement action,” according to the SEC. "Today’s whistleblower played a crucial role in the ultimate success of the enforcement proceeding," said Creola Kelly, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. "Whistleblowers can help advance existing investigations in meaningful ways when their information saves the agency time and resources, and when their contributions allow SEC staff to better understand complicated issues." Through the SEC Whistleblower Program, qualified whistleblowers, individuals who voluntarily provide the SEC with original information that leads to a successful enforcement action, are entitled to an award of 10-30% of the sanctions collected by the SEC in the case. The SEC weighs a number of factors in determining the exact percentage to award a whistleblower. In this case, the SEC “considered that the whistleblower provided significant information and continuing assistance that helped Enforcement Division staff more quickly and efficiently investigate complex issues,” according to the agency’s press release. However, according to the award order, the SEC also negatively assessed the facts that the whistleblower “was involved for a short period and at the direction of his/her supervisor in the conduct underlying part of the Covered Action” and “delayed reporting for over two years after being ...

Subscribe for News & Resources

Receive exclusive updates and news from our firm.