Media Round-Up: Our Whistleblower Lawyers in the Press
With whistleblowers continuing to dominate the headlines, lawyers from the Constantine Cannon whistleblower team have been published in and featured in a number of outlets. This week saw the following stories:
- Gordon Schnell and Max Voldman were published in FierceHealthcare, What’s Missing from the Debate about “Medicare for All”? Combating Billions in Healthcare Fraud. With Democratic candidates talking about expanding government healthcare spending, whether through “Medicare for all” or a public option, Schnell and Voldman emphasize the importance of controlling fraud in such spending, stating that “unless a move toward expanding Medicare is coupled with a plan to combat Medicare fraud, it is destined to falter.“ As they note, the False Claims Act has proven highly effective in combating healthcare fraud, but its success is threatened by a lack of government resources, an aversion to whistleblowers, and problems arising from the revolving door between government employment and private industry. Schell and Voldman call on all 2020 candidates – Democrat and Republican – to send a strong message that the government wants the help of whistleblowers, and understands the sacrifices made by whistleblowers when they come forward.
- Eric Havian published an article, Strengthen the Intel Community’s Whistleblower Act on Breaking Defense. Havian notes that whistleblowers under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act have few of the benefits and protections available to whistleblowers reporting corporate fraud. The ICWPA does not provide whistleblowers with compensation or judicial remedies for retaliation, and has no mechanism to punish the wrongful disclosure of a whistleblower’s identity. Moreover, ICWPA whistleblowers must submit their complaints to the very agency on whom they are blowing the whistle, which creates opportunities for interference – as seen in the case of the Ukraine whistleblower. National security whistleblowers, Havian concludes, deserve rewards and protections, not confrontation, and should receive the same benefits provided to corporate fraud whistleblowers.
- Mary Inman was quoted in a Washington Post article by Tom Mueller, who recently published a book about whistleblowers, Crisis of Conscience: Whistleblowing in an Age of Fraud. In the Post column, “The law doesn’t care about whistleblowers’ grudges,” Mueller writes that “[b]oth demonizing and canonizing whistleblowers are pointless exercises. As a matter of law, a whistleblower’s motivations are irrelevant.” Whistleblowers have many reasons for coming forward, and motivations vary between different whistleblowers. Mueller quotes Inman that “[m]ost whistleblowers make their life-changing decision to act from a complex mixture of raw emotions — fear, indignation, righteousness, [or a] desire for vengeance after having been silenced or maligned.” A claim that a whistleblower is motivated by vengeance is, Mueller concludes, no more relevant to the strength of the whistleblower’s charges than a claim of the whistleblower’s altruism. “Only the facts matter.”
- Ari Yampolsky was quoted in India’s Deccan Herald in an article titled U.S. Market Regulator SEC Begins Probe of Infosys Saga. IT company Infosys disclosed to Indian regulators, where the company is based, that it had been contacted by the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding a whistleblower complaint apparently submitted to the SEC. Previously, a letter purporting to be from an anonymous group of Infosys employees had been published in the Indian press, accusing the CEO and CFO of improper practices with respect to the firm’s accounting and financial reporting, prompting inquiries to the company from Indian regulators and complaints from Infosys investors about the company’s purported concealment of the whistleblowers’ complaints. While Infosys did not disclose the nature of the SEC inquiry, Yampolsky opined that “the most common SEC enforcement actions concerning accounting violations are related to inaccurate representations of revenue, which include enforcement actions for fraudulent reporting of fictitious sales, improper timing of revenue recognition, and improper valuation of revenue.”
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