This article was sent as part of NWC’s “Sunday Read” series that aims to educate supporters about whistleblower stories and whistleblower legislative or policy initiatives and current events. For more information like this, please join our mailing list.
On Friday, December 23, a Christmas miracle happened. The United State Congress passed the desperately needed Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Improvement Act. This bill has been in front of Congress for two-years, and finally, it will become law.
National Whistleblower Center has been at the forefront of the advancement of this bill. We have worked to ensure that everyone understands how important Anti-Money Laundering whistleblowers are to fighting back oligarchs and impeding the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is highly significant, that this law was passed the same week Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, spoke to the United States House of Representatives — calling out the importance of U.S. sanctions.
This Sunday, Christmas Day, we celebrate this gift to the people or Ukraine. To all of the people of Ukraine and Russia who now have a way to report about money laundering, who have information about where kleptocrats hide their money and assets, NWC tips our hat to you and thanks you for your courage.
President Zelenskyy Describes a Resilient Christmas in Ukraine
During his speech on December, President Zelenskyy said:
The Russians’ tactic is primitive. They burn down and destroy everything they see. They sent thugs to the front lines. They sent convicts to the war. They threw everything against us, similar to the other tyranny, which is in the Battle of the Bulge. Threw everything it had against the free world, just like the brave American soldiers which held their lines and fought back Hitler’s forces during the Christmas of 1944. Brave Ukrainian soldiers are doing the same to Putin’s forces this Christmas.
[I]n two days we will celebrate Christmas. Maybe candlelit. Not because it’s more romantic, no, but because there will not be, there will be no electricity. Millions won’t have neither heating nor running water. All of these will be the result of Russian missile and drone attacks on our energy infrastructure.
But we do not complain. We do not judge and compare whose life is easier. Your well-being is the product of your national security; the result of your struggle for independence and your many victories. We, Ukrainians, will also go through our war of independence and freedom with dignity and success.
We’ll celebrate Christmas. Celebrate Christmas and, even if there is no electricity, the light of our faith in ourselves will not be put out. If … our people will have to go to bomb shelters on Christmas Eve, Ukrainians will still sit down at the holiday table and cheer up each other.
Like the Ukrainians have come together to fight this war, National Whistleblower Center supporters have come together to win for whistleblowers. Efforts taken by thousands of National Whistleblower Center supporters moved the needle on the AML bill, and have been noted as the SOLE reason the AML provisions were included in this law that left so many other bill on the drafting floor.
NWC’s Advocacy Since 2020
NWC has advocated for an Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower program which would include provisions like anonymity, anti-retaliation, and mandatory rewards found in the highly successful Dodd-Frank Act since 2020. The Dodd-Frank Act created the incredible Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission whistleblower programs. These programs have garnered billions in sanctions for the United States and stopped massive frauds that harm the American public and threaten the global economy. By working with the SEC and CFTC whistleblowers from around the world have helped to stop crime on every continent — yet, these highly successful programs have come under unwarranted attack.
Attacks on the SEC and CFTC program resulted in the failure of the complete creation of the AML whistleblower program. The initial program was created without mandatory rewards and the required funding provisions to make it a success. And, since then the program has been underutilized. Allowing sanctions dodgers to take their money and live lavishly while engaging in crime and funding an unwarranted and unprovoked war. NWC did not give up when the AML Whistleblower Program was set up for failure. We kept fighting. Just like the Ukrainian people continue to fight today.
After years of advocacy, the moment became ripe. NWC, working with Kohn, Kohn, and Colapinto, LLP and Whistleblower Network News, were able to drive the bill to Senate approval. In early December there was only one essential step — passage in the House — stopping this bill from getting to the full Congress and becoming law. There was no way forward for NWC or supporters in Congress. NWC had written op-eds, held panels, drafted letters, participated in phone calls, but none of it was taking this bill across the finish line. Something was needed to show Congress that the time to act is now – and that is where NWC supporters came in.
NWC Supporters Took Incredible Action
When National Whistleblower Center published calls to action, we had no idea how many people would have the courage to pick up the phone. We hoped that some people would call, but were not sure what impact it would have. NWC, KKC, and WNN were cautiously optimistic but did not expect anything like the outpouring of support that resulted.
Thousands of supporters read e-mails about the AML bill. You understood why action needed to be taken. You had the courage to speak up. And, then, the tide started to change. The bill started to move. Efforts were having impact. NWC was overjoyed to see messages flooding our inbox from individuals who called to advocate for the AML bill. We are still left in awe of what our supporters were able to accomplish.
Several contacts on the Hill divulged that without NWC supporter calls, the AML bill would have languished on the drafting floor. The potential for disaster was withing reach — but NWC supporters fought back defeat.
This year, your activism was a gift to the people of Ukraine and any other place where oligarchs and kleptocrats oppress the people and threaten stability. This victory will ripple through generations and shows oligarchs that the United States and it’s people mean business.
Celebrating Christmas with Pride
“Now, on this special Christmastime, I want to thank you, all of you. I thank every American family which cherishes the warmth of its home and wishes the same warmth to other people.” Said President Zelenskyy during his speech. And, NWC would like to thank you.
Thanks to public support, grassroots efforts, and engaged democracy, whistleblowers who use information to fight Russia and kleptocrats around the world, have a reliable safe haven in the FinCEN program. National Whistleblower Center will keep fighting to ensure this incredible AML program will be put to use, and we know you are right there with us. This is an accomplishment worthy of pride.
You have already done so much for whistleblowers this year, but if you can find just a bit more — please consider giving a gift to National Whistleblower Center today. Your contributions mean more than ever as we plan efforts to support the AML program and AML whistleblowers in 2023.