Treatment of Trump-Ukraine Informer Could Have Chilling Effect on Corporate Whistleblowers

As the Trump-Ukraine whistleblower scandal has many searching for historical comparisons, it’s important to remember that the U.S. government has long made it a priority to protect whistleblowers. Just seven months after the Declaration of Independence was signed, the Continental Congress passed the first whistleblower protection law. The False Claims Act, which empowers whistleblowers to investigate and prosecute fraud and waste in the government, even when the government chooses not to intervene, was championed by “Honest Abe” Lincoln.

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph McGuire offered sworn testimony last week defending the informer’s conduct and confirming that the whistleblower had precisely followed the steps required by law. However, a chorus of powerful second-guessers are already calling for a public outing and punishment – something that should alarm lawyers with experience handling whistleblower claims, says executive employment attorney Joe Ahmad of Houston’s Ahmad Zavitsanos Anaipakos Alavi Mensing, or AZA. President Trump even joined in, suggesting that anyone who shared information that wound up in the whistleblower complaint is “close to a spy.”

“It’s not uncommon for corporate whistleblowers to be treated with a similar degree of suspicion and threats of reprisal,” Mr. Ahmad writes in a recent blog post. “This sadly predictable treatment explains why so many people are reluctant to assume the whistleblower role in corporate America, despite Sarbanes-Oxley protections that were created following Enron to protect whistleblowers. Future whistleblowers are watching. Let’s hope these legal protections survive this latest test.”

To speak with Mr. Ahmad, contact Robert Tharp at 800-559-4534 or Robert@androvett.com.

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