In addition to advocacy efforts centered in the United States, the attorneys at Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto have worked pro bono to push for stronger whistleblower protections across the globe.
Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto attorneys have offered guidance to foreign lawmakers drafting whistleblower legislation, appeared on panels at international conventions, and repeatedly met with foreign government officials to explain the key role whistleblowers can play in rooting out misconduct and corruption.
Strengthening EU Whistleblower Laws
In 2019, the European Parliament passed a landmark Whistleblowing Directive requiring all European Union (EU) member nations to pass whistleblower legislation that align with the Directive’s standards for anti-retaliation laws and safe channels for reporting.
Since before the Directive even passed, the pro bono team at Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto has offered its expertise on whistleblower law and advocated for the strongest and most effective whistleblower provisions.
In late 2018 and early 2019, Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto’s pro bono team sent twoletters to the Presidents of the European Parliament and the European Commission on behalf of the National Whistleblower Center. The letters explained that draft proposals for the Whistleblower Directive included dangerous internal reporting requirements that needed revision. According to the letters, the requirements “undermines the rule of law, violates international anti-corruption conventions, [and] violates U.S. securities laws applicable to numerous European companies.”
Furthermore, in November 2018, KKC founding partner Stephen M. Kohn testified before the European Parliament as an expert on whistleblower legislation. “The EU should harmonize Europe’s whistleblower protections with the highly effective whistleblower laws that are part of the U.S. tax code (covering illegal offshore banking and money laundering) and the Dodd-Frank Act (covering the financial services industry, publicly traded corporations, most banks, and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act),” Kohn explained.
Thanks in part to Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto’s advocacy, the final EU Whistleblower Directive revised the proposed internal reporting requirements. The final Directive still leaves ambiguity in its requirements, therefore, the attorneys of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto have continued to advocate for individual EU countries to pass the strongest and most effective whistleblower laws.
In September 2020, Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto’s pro bono team wrote to each EU member country providing guidance and recommendations on whistleblower legislation. The guidance included expanding whistleblower protections to cover disclosures permitted under international anti-corruption conventions signed by Member States, narrowly interpreting the EU Directive’s Article 22 in order to ensure that whistleblowers are not chilled from making disclosures and their confidentiality is maintained, and enacting whistleblower reward laws to combat specific legal violations, including foreign bribery, money laundering, tax evasion, government procurement fraud, and ocean pollution.
Meeting with Foreign Officials
As part of the firm’s pro bono advocacy, attorneys at Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto have met with foreign officials to explain the importance of strong whistleblower laws and to detail the specifics of legislation and policy.
In addition to advising foreign officials on whistleblowing, Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto also works to educate the global public about whistleblowing as part of its pro bono efforts. Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto attorneys have addressed anti-corruption groups, spoken at industry conferences, and taught courses on whistleblowing.
Our pro bono team has helped lead the fight to pass amendments which would strengthen the False Claims Act (FCA). Furthermore we've filed numerous amicus curiae briefs with the Supreme Court championing FCA whistleblowers' rights.
Our team, working with the National Whistleblower Center and Whistleblower Network News, led a successful grassroots campaign that pushed for the passage of the Anti-Money Laundering Improvement Act. Continue reading to learn more about this pro bono effort.
Since the Tax Relief and Health Care Act established the modern IRS Whistleblower Program in 2006, the pro bono team at Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto has engaged in consistent advocacy to ensure that the program works to the best of its abilities.
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