Whistleblowers: Saving Businesses and Saving Lives

Hosted by the GWSB Department of Accountancy

Join us for a lively discussion about whistleblowers and their impact on corruption and safety in business and government. Whistleblowing has taken a recent rise throughout society as firms and governments realize the power behind listening to your employees. Professor Kyle Welch will talk with healthcare whistleblower and compliance authority Elin Baklid-Kunz, Government Accountability Project Legal Director Tom Devine, and New York Times-bestselling writer Tom Mueller, author of Crisis of Conscience: Whistleblowing in an Age of Fraud (Penguin Random House 2019).

This event is free, and no registration is required.

Guest Speakers and Moderators

Tom Mueller

photo - Tom Muller

 

Tom Mueller is a New York Times bestselling author whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times MagazineAtlantic Monthly, the New Republic and elsewhere. He has reported from 22 countries on a wide range of topics, with recent emphasis on fraud and institutional corruption. He has also been interviewed for shows and stories by 60 Minutes, the New York Times, the History Channel, Al Jazeera and others. His latest book is Crisis of Conscience: Whistleblowing in an Age of Fraud, recently published by Penguin Random House. This work — the result of seven years of research and reporting and over 200 interviews with whistleblowers — traces the rise of whistleblowing as a legal and social phenomenon. It also explores the societal, economic and psychological drivers of whistleblowing, which include institutional corruption, revolving door and other extreme conflict-of-interest situations, the cult of secrecy, and the psychoactive nature of money.
 
Mueller was educated at Oxford (DPhil, Rhodes Scholar), Harvard (BA, summa cum laude), and Alief Hastings High School in rural Texas, home of the Fighting Bears. He also studied classical guitar in Seville, Spain, and worked as an associate in M&A at Goldman Sachs in their London and Frankfurt offices (but nobody’s perfect). 

Elin Baklid-Kunz

photo - Elin Baklid-Kunz

 

Elin Baklid-Kunz was director of Physician Services and a longtime employee of Halifax Health in Daytona Beach, Florida, until she discovered Medicare fraud being perpetrated by the hospital. She filed a whistleblower lawsuit under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, and the government intervened. On the eve of trial in 2014, Halifax settled for $85 million and an obligation to undertake substantial internal compliance reforms. Ms. Kunz’s extraordinary efforts to ensure compliance resulted in her being awarded the 2014 Taxpayers Against Fraud Whistleblower of the Year award.

Ms. Kunz is an expert in medical coding compliance who supports clients in matter across the United States with more than 20 years of experience in the field. She has been a regular contributor to numerous magazines and journals on a variety of coding, auditing and compliance topics, and a frequent speaker, both nationally and internationally. Recent speaking engagements include the 2019 New York State Bar Association Presidential Summit, the 2018 European Symposium on Ethics and Governance in Paris for the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the American Bar Association (ABA) 2018 Physician Legal Issues Conference.  

Ms. Kunz’ experience includes six years as an adjunct professor and curriculum developer at Seminole State College, where she taught courses pertaining to healthcare reimbursement and data analysis. She earned her Master’s degree in Business Administration from Stetson University, where she currently serves as head judge for the Southeast Regional Business Ethics Case Competition.

Tom Devine

photo - Tom Devine

 

Tom Devine is the Government Accountability Project’s legal director, and has worked at the organization since 1979. Since that time, Tom has formally or informally assisted more than 7,000 whistleblowers in defending themselves against retaliation and in making real differences on behalf of the public, such as shuttering accident-prone nuclear power plants, rebuffing industry ploys to deregulate government meat inspection, blocking the next generation of the bloated and porous “Star Wars” missile defense systems, instituting a national commercial milk testing program for illegal animal drugs, and sparking the withdrawal of dangerous prescription drugs such as Vioxx. He has not lost a case since 2006, and has prevailed in advocacy at numerous U.S. Courts of Appeals as well as the Supreme Court.

Tom has been a leader in the campaigns to pass or defend 34 national or international whistleblower laws, including nearly all in the U.S. federally enacted over the last two decades. These include the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 for federal employees, thirteen breakthrough laws since 2002 creating the right to jury trials for corporate whistleblowers, and the new European Union Whistleblower Directive creating free speech rights for all 28 member nations, as well as United Nations, Organization of American States, World Bank, and African Development Bank policies legalizing public freedom of expression for their own whistleblowers. He has authored or co-authored numerous books, including The Corporate Whistleblowers Survival Guide: A Handbook for Committing the Truth, which won the 2012 International Business Book of the Year Award at the Frankfurt Book Fair. He is a Phi Beta Kappa honors graduate of Georgetown University, where he was an All-American debater and captained the team that set a still-standing national record record for tournament championships. He earned his J.D. from the Antioch School of Law, and sits on the board of the Disaster Accountability Project, as well as Whistleblowers International Network WIN), which he helped found.

Kyle Welch (moderator)

photo - Kyle Welch

 

Investigating the world’s largest database of internal whistleblower reports, Professor Welch has uncovered a counter-intuitive result: firms with more reports and a more active whistleblower system are synonymous with organizations that are healthier, are less susceptible to material lawsuits, and face fewer fines. 

Before becoming a professor at the George Washington University, Kyle Welch worked on the investment team at the Stanford Management Company (Stanford University’s endowment). While there, he developed asset allocation and portfolio strategies. Professor Welch also evaluated public equity, private equity, venture capital, and hedge fund investment opportunities and fund managers. Prior to working at Stanford, Professor Welch worked at Standard & Poor’s (S&P) in the Corporate Valuation and Consulting Group (now part of Duff & Phelps). Professor Welch received his B.S. and Master's degrees from Brigham Young University and his doctorate from Harvard Business School.