Washington, D.C. - The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) will host a luncheon at Stewart R. Mott House in the nation's capital to commemorate National Whistleblower Appreciation Day, which falls on July 30th. The NWC was one of the public advocacy groups that petitioned the United States Senate to formally recognize the contributions of whistleblowers by recognizing a day dedicated to their honor.
U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), a major supporter of whistleblowers, sponsored the bill creating the commemorative holiday. July 30th was chosen as it represents the day in 1777 when the Continental Congress passed the first whistleblower law in United States history.
Counterattack v. Chamber of Commerce
The luncheon, which is being held in conjunction with the 2014 Whistleblower Summit, comes at a critical time for the whistleblower community. Whistleblower rights are facing the most formidable attack in history, as the Chamber of Commerce has launched a major campaign to "reform" whistleblower legislation that would, in essence, gut it. The billions of dollars in recoveries that have been won by whistleblower attorneys, most of which was returned to the U.S. Treasury and the state governments, has rankled corporate America.
In our American system, since the times that predate the establishment of the United States, litigation was recognized and encouraged as an effective means of "regulation". Before the New Deal period when the federal and state governments were finally allowed by the Supreme Court to effectively regulate industry to enforce laws ensuring equity and a more level-playing field in the fields of economics and labor (and later, race and gender), litigation was the "regulatory" vehicle ensuring that corporate malefactors were brought to justice and made to pay for their misdeeds.
The punishment of the malefactors, which was pecuniary in keeping in line with centuries of anglo-saxon jurisprudence, was meant to serve as an example to other companies, discouraging them from engaging in corrupt practices.
After the whistleblower legal community achieved some spectacular successes in the past two decades, Big Business decided to strike back, via its hand maiden, the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has a long history of manipulating the federal government and even the Supreme Court to, in effect, not only minimize punishment for corporate misdeeds, but to legalize them.
Now, whistleblower laws are under attack under the guise of "reform", and the NWC is spearheading the counterattack. The Chamber of Commerce's anti-whistleblowing legislative wish-list seeks to minimize litigation under the guise of bolstering corporate regulatory compliance. It is a ruse, as the allegedly beefed-up corporate ethical and regulatory compliance programs that were put in place in the 1990s after the economic depredations of the late 1980s did little to stop the corporate malfeasance that reached at crescendo in the second George W. Bush administration.
That outbreak of corporate greed, which was engendered by the Republican-sponsored deregulation of the 1990s and early 2000s, created a poorly regulated economy that allowed the proliferation of financial crimes that came close to triggering a second Great Depression. The NWC is to be applauded in its efforts to stymie further deregulation that would gut 237 years of American whistleblower laws that have served this country well, when the laws were enforced.
The Stewart R. Mott House is located at 122 Maryland Ave., NE, Washington, D.C. 20002. The luncheon is scheduled from 12:30-3pm. The event is free of charge but people interested in attending must RSVP by Tuesday, July 29th.