OECD Applauds U.S. Whistleblower Programs for Commitment to Fighting Transnational Corruption
Last week, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (“OECD”) Working Group on Bribery published a report that offered high praise to U.S. whistleblower programs in their continued fight against transnational corruption.
In their Phase 4 Monitoring Report, the OECD concluded that whistleblowing plays a critical role in detecting foreign bribery allegations, and commended the Dodd Frank Act’s multiple layers of protection that prevent retaliation and provide various forms of financial remedies for whistleblowers.
The Dodd Frank Act’s “multi-faceted protections, most notably the SEC’s ability to enforce the anti-retaliation provisions, constitute a good practice given that they provide powerful incentives for qualified whistleblowers to report foreign bribery allegations against issuers,” the OECD noted.
Under the Dodd Frank Act, whistleblowers who witness securities and commodities fraud can anonymously and confidentially report crimes to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”). If the whistleblower suffers retaliation or other discrimination based on their reporting, they can obtain other remedies such as double back pay with interest, reinstatement, and compensation for attorney’s fees.
“The OECD report proves what the international whistleblower community has known for years: whistleblowing works,” said whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn, partner at qui tam law firm Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto. “U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens have access to whistleblower reward laws that offer full anonymity and confidentiality, which protects against the threat of retaliation and incentivizes individuals to come forward.”
These programs offer monetary rewards as incentives for blowing the whistle and have been highly successful for the better part of the last decade. Indeed, the SEC Whistleblower Program alone has issued over $700 million in awards since 2012, when it was established under the Dodd Frank Act. The CFTC Whistleblower Program has similarly issued over $120 million to whistleblowers since 2014.
Uniquely, these programs are not limited to U.S. citizens or U.S. based whistleblowers. Whistleblowers who reside outside of the United States can utilize these programs to report violations. Additionally, international whistleblowers may also confidentially report international corruption and bribery and earn substantial awards under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
Ben Kostyack also contributed to this article.