Welcome and Introductory Remarks
Executive Director, National Whistleblower Center
John Kostyack is the Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, the leading whistleblower legal advocacy organization, and a practicing attorney. Kostyack was previously the Executive Director of the Wind Solar Alliance, where he helped transform the organization into a critical hub for joint policy advocacy efforts of the wind and solar industries. Before that, he worked 20 years at the National Wildlife Federation as Vice President and in other leadership positions.
Board Co-Chair, National Whistleblower Center & FBI Whistleblower
Jane Turner worked for 25 years as Special Agent for the FBI. She is one of the only FBI agents to win a lawsuit under the FBI Whistleblower Protection Act based on retaliation for exposing theft at the 9/11 crime scene. In a second whistleblower case, a jury in Minnesota found the FBI liable for retaliating against her in a sex discrimination lawsuit and awarded her the maximum damages permitted under law.
Crisis of Police Misconduct and Racial Injustice
LORENZO DAVIS, ESQ.
Retired Chicago Police Commander & Police Misconduct Whistleblower
Lorenzo Davis is a lifelong Chicago resident. He was a supervisor at the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) in the City of Chicago after a 23-year career as a Chicago Police Officer, during which he was a decorated officer, receiving numerous awards, including the Superintendent’s Award of Valor. He was terminated from IPRA for refusing to change his findings that some police excessive force and officer involved shooting cases were not justified. Mr. Davis continues to be involved in the civilian oversight of police as a member of NACOLE and multiple bar associations, along with serving on the Criminal Justice Committees of the NAACP and the Coalition of African-American Leaders.
Keynote Address: Protecting Covid-19 Whistleblowers
REPRESENTATIVE JACKIE SPEIER
U.S. Representative, D-California
Representative Jackie Speier is a fearless fighter for women’s equality, LGBTQ rights and the disenfranchised who has dedicated her life to eliminating government corruption while working to strengthen America’s national and economic security. She was named to Newsweek’s list of 150 “Fearless Women” in the world and one of “Politico's 50” most influential people in American politics for bringing the Me Too reckoning to Congress.
Keynote Address: Whistleblowers in Times of Crisis
SENATOR CHARLES E. GRASSLEY
U.S. Senator, R-Iowa
Senator Chuck Grassley is a devoted champion of government accountability. Throughout his time in Congress, he has worked to empower whistleblowers to shine a light on fraud, inefficiencies or misconduct in government. Grassley, author of numerous whistleblower protection laws, is also founder and chairman of the bipartisan Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus, which raises awareness about the need for adequate protections against retaliation for private sector and government employees who call attention to wrongdoing.
Senior Policy Analyst, National Whistleblower Center & Partner, Zerbe, Miller, Fingeret Law
Dean Zerbe has long been at the forefront of the IRS tax whistleblower program – starting in 2006 when serving as Senior Counsel and Tax Counsel for the Senate Finance Committee for then-Chairman Charles E. Grassley. Mr. Zerbe left government service in 2008 to practice law at Zerbe, Miller, Fingeret, Frank & Jadav law firm. Mr. Zerbe has successfully represented a number of tax whistleblowers – including UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld.
Covid-19 Crisis: The Contribution of Whistleblowers to Public Health and Economic Revitalization
Registered Nurse & Coronavirus Healthcare Whistleblower
Jhonna Porter is a charge nurse at the Hospital Corporation of America-owned West Hills Hospital in Los Angeles, where she has worked for 12 years. She is from Simi Valley, California. In March, she alerted her coworkers to a potentially dangerous change on a floor in the hospital in response to Covid-19.
MICHAEL E. HOROWITZ
Inspector General, Department of Justice & Acting Chair, Pandemic Response Oversight Committee
Michael E. Horowitz is the Inspector General of the Department of Justice, responsible for oversight of the FBI and DOJ. In 2018 he released investigative findings concerning Hilary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Since 2015, he has also served as the Chair of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, an organization comprised of all 73 federal Inspectors General.
HENRY J. KERNER
Special Counsel, U.S. Office of the Special Counsel
Henry J. Kerner was nominated by President Trump to be Special Counsel of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate and assumed his duties on October 30, 2017. Prior to his appointment, he was the assistant vice president of investigations for Cause of Action. Before that, he was on the staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the chief investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives. Under Chairman Darrell Issa, and later Chairman Jason Chaffetz, he led investigations of the federal bureaucracy and fought on behalf of whistleblowers to protect taxpayers.
SUSAN M. COLER
Principal, Halunen Law
Susan M. Coler is a Partner at Halunen Law in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she heads its False Claims Act/Whistleblower practice group. Her group represents whistleblowers across the United States in areas including health care, pharmaceutical, procurement, defense, and small business. Coler represented one of the relators in the Abbott Laboratories Depakote FCA case, one of the largest civil healthcare recoveries under the FCA.
Climate Change Crisis: The Role of Whistleblowers in Ensuring Timely and Accurate Disclosures
of Climate Risks
Financial Analyst, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA)
Kathy Hipple is a financial analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and a finance professor at Bard's MBA in Sustainability.
DAN M. BERKOVITZ
Dan M. Berkovitz was nominated by President Trump to serve as a Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate and sworn into office on September 7, 2018. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Berkovitz was a partner and co-chair of the futures and derivatives practice at the law firm of WilmerHale. He also was an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law School, and vice-chair of the American Bar Association Committee on Futures and Derivatives. In addition, Mr. Berkovitz served as General Counsel of the CFTC from 2009-2013. Before the CFTC, Mr. Berkovitz was a senior staff lawyer for the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
Senior Program Director, Ceres
Veena Ramani leads Ceres’ work on critical market levers that will help scale the transition to sustainable capital markets. This includes governance systems that companies should put in place at the corporate board level to allow for effective board sustainability oversight. She also oversees Ceres work to engage financial regulators on climate change as a systemic risk, under the umbrella of the Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets.
Tools for Whistleblowers
Professor of Law and former SEC Commissioner
Robert J. Jackson, Jr. is Professor of Law, Co-Director of the Institute for Corporate Governance and Finance, and Director of the Program on Corporate Law and Policy at the New York University School of Law. He was nominated and unanimously confirmed by the Senate to be Commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2017 and served in that role until February 2020. Commissioner Jackson was an outspoken advocate for protecting investors, consistently calling for more transparency in capital markets and championing evidence-driven policymaking. Prior to his nomination, he taught at Columbia Law School.
Principal, Compliance Strategists
Donna Boehme is an internationally recognized authority in the field of organizational compliance and ethics with 20+ years’ experience designing and managing compliance and ethics solutions, within the US and globally. As Principal of Compliance Strategists LLC, she has advised a wide spectrum of private, public, governmental, academic and non-profit entities. She serves on the respective boards of RAND Center of Corporate Ethics and Governance, Rutgers Center for Government Compliance & Ethics.
Chairman of the Board, National Whistleblower Center
Stephen M. Kohn is the Chairman of the Board for the National Whistleblower Center and the author of eight books on whistleblower law, including The New Whistleblower’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What’s Right and Protecting Yourself (Lyons Press 2017). His historical research led the re-discovery of America’s first whistleblower law, passed by the Founding Fathers during the height of the American Revolution on July 30th, 1778.
Director, National Whistleblower Center & Executive Director, The Utility Reform Network (TURN)
As executive director since 2008, Mark Toney aligns the TURN legal, organizing, legislative and communication staff to fight for affordable, clean and safe energy and phone service for all California residents. Mark currently serves on the boards of ACLU Northern California, Consumer Federation of California, National Whistleblower Center, and California Shakespeare Theatre. Previously, Mark served as executive director of Center for Third World Organizing for four years, and for Direct Action for Rights & Equality for eight years.