Quaker Universalist Conversations

Whistleblowing: A Universal Challenge

The New Whistleblower’s Handbook
by Stephen Martin Kohn – A review

The New Whistleblower’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What’s Right and Protecting Yourself, 3rd Edition Stephen Martin Kohn (Lyons Press, 2017)

Stephen Martin Kohn’s third edition of his The New Whistleblower’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What’s Right and Protecting Yourself benefits for improving corporate and governmental culture and integrity.

The book is conversational in tone, conveying a massive amount of specific, practical information. This is a serious book addressing the motives and the emotional burdens on whistleblowers. Kohn conveys an enthusiastic, can-do theme and attitude. He is clearly supportive of whistleblowing as a benefit to private and public good governance.

The New Whistleblower’s Handbook consists of some 350 pages of text and 100 pages of state law charts and checklists on special subjects, the reward laws, and securities fraud. It also provides 70 pages of annotated text chapter notes, 6 pages of official resources for further and more current information, and an index.

The text is organized around 31 rules for whistleblowers in the U.S. (see the National Whistleblowers Center), with a section on the weaker, but improving, international whistleblower tools.

The United States provides the best legal structures and, in the Kohn’s opinion, provides the current global gold standard for engaging, respecting, protecting, and rewarding whistleblowers. The newest part of this revised text provides information particularly about environmental whistleblowing, Wall Street whistleblowing, and financial rewards for whistleblowing.

After reading this thorough book, the Quaker reader may ask what further is needed in the use of whistleblowing for service to the integrity of government and organizational cultures. What is a global and universal perspective on the future role of whistleblowing?

What is needed includes:

  • Global Strategy: a concerted, cumulative, coordinated, sequential, global whistleblowing strategy;
  • Public Partnerships: a strategy for building further mechanisms for bringing governments as partners with whistleblowers to renew public life;
  • Reward Funding: a strategy for cumulating whistleblowing rewards for funding larger government and organizational reform strategies;
  • Nonprofit Sector: a future role for whistleblowing in renewing governance in global nonprofit organizations;
  • Corporation partnerships: a strategy for engaging corporation partnerships with whistleblowing in areas unrelated to effect on governments;
  • Corruption: a strategy for using corruption disclosure to strengthen democracy;
  • Analyst Role: a strategic development of the nonprofit organization surrogate “analyst” role on behalf of the individual whistleblowers in renewing government and organizations;
  • Transparency: a role for whistleblower agency for moving government toward more general transparency standards; and
  • Picture Accuracy: development of more accurate global descriptions of government corruption targets for reform through whistleblowing.

Quakers: There is no reference to Quakers in the text. There is some interesting discussion of the uses of silence in several stages of whistleblowing. Quakers are challenged with the potential for faith-based vocational stewardship through whistleblowing.

Questions:
  • Do Quakers encourage whistleblowing?
  • How do the Quaker testimonies apply to whistleblowing?
  • What is the Quaker role in global government and corporate renewal?
  • Should whistleblowing be encouraged in nonprofit organizations?
  • What support do Quakers provide for Quaker whistleblowers?
Resources:
  • National Whistleblower Center, P.O Box 25074, Washington DC 20027, www.whistleblowers.org/.
  • James Millward, ‘[“‘Reeducating’ Xinjiang’s Muslims’;https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2019/02/07/reeducating-xinjiangs-muslims/],” New York Review of Books (February 7, 2019).
  • Sheelah Kolhatkar, “The Whistle-blowers: The personal toll of exposing fraud,” ??The New Yorker// (February 4, 2019).

Stephen Martin Kohn is the Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center. Since 1984 he has successfully represented numerous nationally recognized whistleblowers

He is regularly consulted by House and Senate leaders for help in drafting whistleblower protection laws. He is the author of several legal books on the subject. For more information, see www.kkc.com/our-attorneys/stephen-m-kohn.

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