Stop Features Key Whistleblowers on Student Loans, Bernie Madoff Scandal
(Washington, DC) – On Thursday, Jan. 31, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) returns to Auburn University to present its acclaimed program, the American Whistleblower Tour: Essential Voices for Accountability. The stop will feature prominent whistleblowers Jon Oberg (student loans) and Frank Casey (Bernie Madoff scandal).
GAP's Tour is a dynamic campaign aimed at educating the public – particularly university students – about the phenomenon and practice of whistleblowing. This event will feature a moderated discussion and is free to all. A full description of the Tour can be found at www.WhistleblowerTour.org.
This Tour stop is sponsored by GAP and Auburn's School of Accountancy. The program will last from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Lowder Hall, Room 113-A.
- Frank Casey: Casey was an equity specialist manager at Ramparts Investments when he discovered that Bernie Madoff, a money manager, generated unrealistic, regular 12 percent returns for his investors. Casey took his findings to Harry Markopolos, who brought them to the SEC. The SEC declined to investigate and by the time investigators finally exposed Madoff, investors had lost $50 billion.
- Dr. Jon H. Oberg: In 2003, while at the Department of Education in a research capacity, Dr. Oberg discovered illegal payments to student loan lenders of federal tax dollars that department officials instructed him not to investigate further. On his own time, he researched the payments and reported them to Congress, which in 2004 ended the payments prospectively, saving billions of dollars. In 2007, Oberg sued the recipients under the False Claims Act. Three years later, the Department of Justice announced it had settled four of the cases for over $57 million.
Last January, GAP brought prominent whistleblowers Sherron Watkins (Enron scandal) and Kenneth Kendrick (peanut butter/Salmonella scandal) to the Auburn campus, to rave reviews. GAP Senior Fellow and American Whistleblower Tour Director Dana Gold, who moderated that event, returns to moderate this panel.
Stated Gold, "We are pleased to make Auburn University the first venue that we have visited twice on the Tour. The amazing and flattering reaction from students at last year's event made it clear that the Auburn community recognizes how important whistleblowers are to society."
Dr. Sarah Stanwick, Associate Professor in the School of Accountancy, stated: "Whistleblowers highlight the importance of both individual ethics and institutional accountability. As educators of the next generation of accounting experts, we are thrilled to be included in GAP's Whistleblower Tour, where our students and faculty can hear first hand from individuals who have exposed fraud, and gain from our combined efforts to promote professional responsibility."
About the Tour
This stop at Auburn is the third of several to be held this academic year. Previous 2013 stops have included the University of Houston–Clear Lake, and Whitman College. Future stops will include Auburn University, Florida International University, Indiana University-Purdue, and Indiana University-Bloomington, to name a few.
During the 2011-12 academic year, the American Whistleblower Tour visited 13 colleges, including Auburn, Mount Holyoke College, Rutgers University-Newark, Syracuse University, Tulane University, and the University of Texas at Austin. GAP secures some of the most prominent whistleblowers in American history for its Tour. Last year, whistleblower presenters included Daniel Ellsberg (Pentagon Papers), Frank Serpico (NYPD), Sherron Watkins (Enron) and Susan Wood ("Plan B").
Goals of the Tour include raising awareness about the vital role whistleblowing has in our democracy, preparing America's youth for ethical decision-making, countering negative connotations associated with whistleblowing, connecting prospective whistleblowers to available resources, and encouraging academic studies of whistleblowing.