2020 Agenda

12:00 P.M. - 12:45 P.M. EDT 


Welcome and Introductory Remarks

  • John Kostyack, Executive Director, National Whistleblower Center

  • Jane Turner, Board Co-Chair, National Whistleblower Center and FBI Whistleblower


Crisis of Police Misconduct and Racial Injustice: How Whistleblowers Can Help Restore Accountability and Rebuild Trust

  • Lorenzo Davis, Esq., Retired Chicago Police Commander and Police Misconduct Whistleblower


Keynote Address: Protecting COVID-19 Whistleblowers

  • Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), Co-Chair of the House Whistleblower Protection Caucus 


Keynote Address: Whistleblowers in Times of Crisis

  • U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus

  • Moderator: Dean Zerbe, Senior Policy Analyst, National Whistleblower Center; Partner, Zerbe, Miller, Fingeret Law 

12:45 P.M. - 1:15 P.M. EDT 


Covid-19 Crisis: The Contribution of Whistleblowers to Public Health and Economic Revitalization 

The vast spending and rapid pace of government action in response to the COVID-19 crisis create ideal conditions for waste, fraud and abuse. Thanks in large part to whistleblowers, important investigations have been launched in recent months that almost inevitably will improve health care delivery, ensure that economic revitalization funds get into the right hands and otherwise improve the lives of people struggling due to COVID-19.

Panelists will discuss how whistleblowers are helping ensure transparency and accountability in connection with the COVID-19 crisis and suggest actions that can be taken to give whistleblowers the protections and support they need.

  • Jhonna Porter, Registered Nurse and Coronavirus Health Care Whistleblower

  • Michael Horowitz, Acting Chair, Pandemic Response Oversight Committee; Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice

  • Henry Kerner, Special Counsel, U.S. Office of Special Counsel

  • Moderator: Susan Coler, Principal, Halunen Law



1:15 PM - 1:45 PM EDT

Climate Change Crisis: The Role of Whistleblowers in Ensuring Timely and Accurate Disclosures of Climate Risks 

Spurred by growing public alarm about climate change, governments and corporations around the globe have accelerated action to reduce carbon emissions. Major companies in virtually every sector have announced commitments to align their emissions with the carbon reduction targets in the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. However, many companies are not well-positioned to adapt to the physical and transition risks of climate change. Companies heavily invested in high-carbon assets and with business models oriented to infrastructure buildout for a high-carbon economy are at a crossroads: either liquidate, make rapid changes to their investment portfolios and business plans or deceive investors and others about their lack of preparedness.

Panelists will discuss (1) how timely and accurate corporate disclosures about response to climate risk are essential to the transition to a low-carbon economy and well-functioning markets, (2) the legal framework governing disclosure of climate risks and (3) the critical role of whistleblowers in ensuring timely and accurate disclosures.

  • Kathy Hipple, Financial Analyst, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

  • Dan Berkovitz, Commissioner, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission

  • Veena Ramani, Senior Program Director, Ceres

  • Moderator: John Kostyack, Executive Director, National Whistleblower Center

1:45 P.M. - 2:15 P.M. EDT


Tools for Whistleblowers

Important innovations in whistleblower protection are taking place in programs aimed at private sector wrongdoing. In recent years, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Justice have worked successfully with whistleblowers to win major victories against waste, fraud and abuse, securing billions in sanctions against wrongdoers, obtaining significant commitments to corporate reforms in settlement agreements and paying whistleblowers millions of dollars in rewards. What are the key factors in these successes and how can they be applied more broadly to address corruption in all segments of society?  How do the whistleblower reward laws impact compliance programs?  How do they improve the ability of law enforcement to detect and prosecute white collar crime? What are the most significant barriers to enlisting whistleblowers to address corruption? How can whistleblower-assisted prosecutions be improved to achieve greater justice and accountability?

Panelists will address these and a host other questions of interest to potential whistleblowers who are working to reduce corruption and promote democracy and the rule of law.

  • Robert Jackson, Professor, New York University Law School; Former Commissioner, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

  • Donna Boehme, Principal, Compliance Strategists

  • Stephen Kohn, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, National Whistleblower Center; Partner, Kohn Kohn & Colapinto

  • Moderator: Mark Toney, Director, National Whistleblower Center; Executive Director, The Utility Reform Network

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