In an exclusive webinar hosted by Wake Forest University, whistleblower Sherron Watkins of Enron, Bill McGovern of Kobre & Kim and John Kostyack of the National Whistleblower Center discuss the role of whistleblowers in America with hosts Richard Levick and Christina Elson, of WFU’s Center for the Study of Capitalism.
Since 1778, the United States has protected whistleblowers. Behind virtually every major fraud investigation in the United States is a whistleblower. In 2001, whistleblower Sherron Watkins now famously warned that Enron could “implode in a wave of accounting scandals.”
After the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, the federal government initiated more protections and financial incentives for whistleblowers in the private sector so they could safely and effectively expose financial fraud and protect investors. Yet by 2019, whistleblowers in the federal work force watched as the President of the United States appeared to violate whistleblower protection laws by trying to unmask a government whistleblower who filed a complaint that led to his own impeachment.
Are whistleblowers heroes or villains? How do whistleblowers protect themselves while serving the public interest in exposing unscrupulous corporate and government executives? How should companies protect themselves from financially incentivized whistleblowers?