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Crime, Law Enforcement and the Judiciary
Written by James Landrith
Sunday, 17 August 2014
I cannot imagine how painful it must be for the family of Michael Brown and the city of Ferguson to witness all of the political posturing by opportunists on the left and the right. Some on the right are hell-bent on characterizing an entire community as rioting thugs, while some on the left are exploiting the tragedy to take childish and ignorant potshots at people who don't share their own political compass. Neither has the moral high ground here.
As someone who lost a family member in a violent act, I can only imagine the fear that comes with turning on the television, reading social media or seeing a newspaper. It must extremely disheartening to see their family and their community used in such a callous, calculated and compassionless manner.
Honestly, it disgusts me. For those taking advantage, using the death of a human being, and the pain of a community for political gain and partisan posturing - fuck all ya'll.
You lack the most important of human traits - empathy and compassion. Someone is dead and a community is in mourning while you posture and peacock over bullshit political preferences. I have no use for such people and see you as 100% part of the problem.
Written by James Landrith
Sunday, 17 August 2014
It is fascinating to me how often SOME progressives, like some of their counterparts on the right, will outright lie and then act like petulant children when busted in said lies. Case in point is "The Mahablog", most recently taking part in the childish game of labeling Republicans with minor libertarian leanings as being representive of the entire libertarian movment. In short, The Mahablog created a gigantic libertaian strawman and then whined when called out on the lie. Further, The Mahablog is co-opting a horrible tragedy for partisan political purposes.
I posted this in response to her ridiculous lies:
There are no libertarians in Congress. Calling a few Republicans with minor libertarian leanings on a FEW issues libertarians is extremely dishonest. Doing so for the purpose of scoring political points on the backs of a community suffering a tragedy is beyond disgusting.
The blogger Barbara O'Brien, defending her lies and misuse of a tragedy, responds like a spoiled child with no integrity:
“There are no libertarians in Congress.” Yes, we know. Nobody in politics is ever pure enough to be a “real” libertarian. Sightings of real libertarians are rare and always prove to be false as soon as the sighted creature actually goes on record about anything.
In short, son, bite me.
It takes an absolute lack of intregrity, compassion failure and a miserable excuse for a human being to co-opt another's tragedy to play p9litical games for anyone else's benefit. It shows a lack of maturity to say "bite me" when called out such.
I have spent the better part of two decades involved in advocacy that worked alongside progressives, moderates, conservatives and non-partisan activists alike such as the ACLU, Center for National Secuity Studies, People for the American Way, Liberty Coalition, Electronic Privacy Information Center, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Amenesty International, and dozens of other organizations on a wide variety of issues such as domestic surveillance, police misconduct, prison rape, male rape survivor issues, torture, the mistreatment and illegal detention of Muslim and Arab Americans by the Bush Administration and the buildup/lies used to justify the Iraq War. One thing I've learned over the years is that there a lot of people who truly care about poeple and want to make the lives of others better, regardless of ideological compass or label.
The asshole behind the Mahablog is about none of these things. She appears to simply be an opportunistic liar, taking advantage of a tragedy for political purposes. That is disgusting and abhorrent to those of us who actually give a shit about the people involved and the lives that have been forever impacted. I grew up in a household affected by murder. I've seen family members afraid to watch the news for fear that the trial and our family member would be talked about yet again. I've seen how it affects the surviving family members and forever alters our view of the world. I abhor the fact that anyone would co-opt such an experience for political purposes. O'Brien and her blog have done that and show an utter lack of maturity and compassion in the doing, even when called out on such earnestly.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 17 August 2014 )
Advocacy and Comment Letters
Written by Coalition
Friday, 25 July 2014
July 25, 2014
The Honorable Mary Jo White
US Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, NE
Washington DC 20549
Dear Ms. White:
We, the undersigned organizations, write to express our concern for the widespread and growing problem of retaliatory conduct against corporate whistleblowers. Not merely a threat to public policy, retaliation of this nature has a deleterious effect on corporate culture and growth. And, ultimately, such conduct undermines the force and efficacy of the SEC Whistleblower Program.
Retaliation against whistleblowers is a quiet and growing epidemic. In a 2012 supplement to its National Business Ethics Survey, the Ethics Resource Center (ERC) found that a near recordsetting 22% of employees who reported misconduct faced retaliation, up from 12% in 2007.1 More than a third of those who declined to report misconduct pointed to fear of retaliation as the reason for their silence. A culture in which employees are retaliated against or fear to speak up is a cancer that slowly grows but consistently kills and has been responsible for countless highprofile corporate scandals. Most alarming, increases in the incidence of retaliation are outpacing the overall rate of increases in Whistleblowing disclosures. Various other studies confirm the prevalence of retaliation and fear of retaliation in the corporate workplace.2
The commercial marketplace wants and needs guidance. We believe the majority of corporations want to do the right thing and many invest in robust ethics and compliance programs to do so. Unfortunately, corporate compliance is not a panacea. While there is a low incidence of whistleblower retaliation in companies with strong ethical program, the ERC survey found that these organizations also represent the greatest uptick in reports of retaliation. In other words, even strong ethics programs alone are an inadequate deterrent. The proposed guidance would benefit employers and whistleblowers alike by reducing the litigation expenses associated with legal uncertainties, helping companies more effectively reduce their risk of retaliationrelated liability, and ensuring that individuals who report possible misconduct, both internally and to the Commission, do so with a full understanding of their reporting options and the applicable risks and rewards. It also would benefit corporations, because most whistleblowers disclose fraud against their employer, and every study has shown that in this role they are more effective than audits, compliance programs and law enforcement combined.3
The success of the SEC Whistleblower Program, the health of our markets and the broader public interest are protected and served when employees can safely report wrongdoing. Indeed, an open and transparent workplace is a key barometer of a working democracy. For these reasons, we urge the SEC to take the following actions:
(1) Engage in appropriate rule-making to clarify and strengthen protections available to those who report misconduct internally or externally. Specifically, clarify that whistleblowers are in fact eligible for protection when they make disclosures within their respective corporations. Further, clarify that any actions made by the wrongdoer in effort to block the flow of whistleblowing evidence are illegal. Finally, clarify that it is legally protected to disclose evidence of crime or other violations of SEC rules, despite any assertions by wrongdoers that employees have stolen their “property.” These suggested solutions warrant a public hearing and careful consideration by the Commission.
(2) Launch a series of field hearings around the country to discuss the problem of workplace retaliation and explore new ways to increase reporting—both internally and externally; and
(3) Create an Advisory Committee on Whistleblower Reporting and Protection. Leveraging the staff reports from the field hearings described above and the expertise of a diverse group of participants that meet regularly, this committee will serve as a vehicle for the Commission to collate advice, best practices and recommendations related to whistleblower reporting and protection.
We thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important investor protection problem. As the SEC places more emphasis on the role of whistleblowers in the national enforcement program, it must also use its authority to mandate integrity, transparency and accountability in the marketplace. This is good for whistleblowers, good for business and good for our country.
American Association of Small Property Owners
Americans for Financial Reform (coalition of 200+ organizations)
Atlantic States Legal Foundation
Bernabei & Wachtel, PLLC
Circumpolar Conservation Union
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
Corporate Action Network
Defending Dissent Foundation
Employment Justice Center
Evangelicals for Social Action
Evans Law Firm, Inc.
Faculty Against Rape
Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics
Government Accountability Project
Heart of America Northwest
Implode-Explode Heavy Industries, Inc.
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
International Association of Whistleblowers
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Investor Environmental Health Network
Kentucky Resources Council, Inc.
Labaton Sucharow LLP
Lower Ninth Ward Living Museum
National Coalition of Organized Women
National Consumers League
National Employment Lawyers Association
National Organization for Women
National Whistleblower Center
New Jersey Citizen Action
New Jersey Work Environment Council
New Orleans Women's Shelter
The Other 98%
Peace Fund and Peace Action Education Fund
Pentecostals and Charismatics for Peace and Justice
Project On Government Oversight
Public Concern at Work
Sustainable Energy and Economy Network
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
The Coalition For Change, Inc.
The Multiracial Activist
West Virginia Citizen Action Group
Wild Earth Guardians
1 Ethics Research Center, Retaliation: When Whistleblowers Become Victims (2012),
2 See 2012 Corporate Governance and Compliance Hotline Benchmarking Report commissioned by The Network; Wall Street in Crisis: Labaton Sucharow Survey of Financial Services Industry 2013.
3 PricewaterhouseCoopers and Martin Luther University Economy and Crime Research Center, Economic Crime, People,
Culture and Controls: The 4th Biennial Global Economic Crime Survey (2007), http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/economic-crimesurvey/pdf/pwc_2007gecs.pdf.; Society of Certified Fraud Examiners, 2008 Report to the Nation on Occupational Fraud and Abuse (2008), at 4. 30.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 31 July 2014 )
Written by Coalition
Monday, 21 July 2014
Labaton Sucharow, GAP Lead Coalition to Outlaw Gag Orders and Combat Retaliation Against Corporate Whistleblowers
July 21, 2014
Coalition Petitions SEC to Ban Corporate Tactics Used to Silence Whistleblowers
(Washington, DC) On the fourth anniversary of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, better known as Dodd-Frank, Labaton Sucharow LLP, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) and a growing coalition, representing more than 250 organizations and nearly two million citizens, announce they have submitted petitions with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) demanding a strengthened Whistleblower Program.
The SEC Whistleblower Program offers eligible whistleblowers the ability to report anonymously, robust employment protections and the opportunity to earn substantial monetary awards – regardless of nationality. A recent Wall Street survey, commissioned by Labaton Sucharow, found that financial services professionals were aware of unethical and illegal behavior in the workplace (23%), willing to report possible violations with the protections and incentives offered by the Program (89%) and knew about the existence of the Program (60%, up from 49% just one year earlier).
"As awareness and interest in the SEC Whistleblower Program and other similar programs has grown, they have come under stealth attack by Corporate America," said Jordan Thomas, Chair of the Whistleblower Representation Practice at Labaton Sucharow and a former Assistant Director in the SEC’s Enforcement Division. "If the SEC doesn’t adopt appropriate counter-measures, gag orders, retaliation and other forms of legal bullying will quickly erode the potential of this powerful investor protection tool."
The first petition (rulemaking proposed by Labaton Sucharow and GAP, summary here) addresses unscrupulous legal maneuvers employed by many companies trying to silence potential whistleblowers. Examples include: preventing employees from consulting independent legal counsel, requiring notice of external reporting, demanding waivers of any future whistleblower awards, and threatening lawsuits to enforce secrecy agreements. These and other troubling legal tactics effectively topple each of the three pillars of the SEC Whistleblower Program – anonymous reporting, employment protections and monetary awards. This petition provides companies with clear guidance regarding these problematic employment agreements. The petition also urges the SEC to issue a policy statement regarding the current scope of employment protections available to SEC whistleblowers and its intent to prosecute companies that retaliate against them.
"Virtually every corporation in America has internal policies that encourage employees to report wrongdoing and promise to protect them from retaliation for doing so," said Tom Devine, GAP Legal Director and author of The Corporate Whistleblower’s Survival Guide. "The problem is the reality gap between what these organizations say and what they do, because they have not been held accountable. Currently, corporations have little or nothing to lose from legal bullying. The worst that can happen is they won’t get away with it. The SEC can change this."
"Retaliation against corporate whistleblowers is a quiet and growing epidemic," said Thomas. In the 2013 National Business Ethics Survey, the Ethics Resource Center found that retaliation has increased sharply since Congress passed stronger legal rights to protect whistleblowers. A near record-setting 21% of employees who reported misconduct faced retaliation, up from 12% in 2007. More than one-third of those who declined to report misconduct pointed to fear of retaliation as the reason for their silence.
In recognition of this serious problem, a broad coalition of organizations, including Americans for Financial Reform, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the National Employment Lawyers Association, and many other prominent groups, has submitted a second petition (non-rulemaking) asking the SEC to: launch a series of public hearings to discuss the problem of workplace retaliation and ways to increase reporting, create an Advisory Committee on Whistleblower Reporting and Protection, and engage in appropriate rulemaking to clarify and strengthen whistleblower protections. A full list of coalition members is available here.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Whistleblower Protection Act, GAP encourages the public to attend the Whistleblower Summit for Civil and Human Rights in Washington D.C. beginning on July 28, 2014. As part of that effort, on July 30, National Whistleblower Appreciation Day, GAP is producing a panel discussion on financial whistleblowing held on Capitol Hill. More on that panel can be found at the link provided above.
About the Campaign Organizers
Labaton Sucharow has been one of the country’s premier law firms comprehensively representing businesses, institutional investors and consumers in complex securities and business litigation for more than 50 years. It was the first law firm in the country to establish a practice exclusively focused on protecting and advocating for whistleblowers who report possible securities violations to the SEC. Building on the Firm’s market leading securities litigation platform, the Whistleblower Representation Practice leverages a world-class in-house team of investigators, financial analysts and forensic accountants with federal and state law enforcement experience to provide unparalleled representation for whistleblowers. Labaton Sucharow is consistently among the top plaintiff litigation firms based upon its rankings in Chambers & Partners, The Legal 500, The National Law Journal’s Plaintiff Hot List and Benchmark Plaintiff.
The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization. A non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization that litigates whistleblower cases, GAP helps expose wrongdoing to the public and actively promotes government and corporate accountability. Since its founding in 1977, GAP has represented over 6,000 whistleblowers in the court of law and in the court of public opinion, including hundreds of whistleblowers who have reported financial misconduct. GAP is also a leader in campaigns to enact or defend all federal whistleblower protection statutes, including those in the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank laws.
Contact: Zach Kouwe, Press Representative for Labaton Sucharow, Dukas Public Relations Office
Phone: 646.808.3665, cell 551.655.4032
Contact: Dylan Blaylock, Communications Director, GAP
Phone: 202.457.0034, ext. 137, cell: 202.236.3733
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