2013 IRE Panel on Whistleblowers
From left: Angie Moreschi, David Corn, Pia Malbran
James Hoyer Investigator and Communications Director Angie Moreschi was a speaker at this year’s 2013 Investigative Reporters and Editors’ Conference in San Antonio, Texas. IRE is a grassroots, non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative reporting. Many of the country’s best investigative reporters are members.
Moreschi was on a panel about whistleblowers and protecting sources with Mother Jones Magazine’s Washington Bureau Chief David Corn and CBS News Investigative Producer Pia Malbran. Moreschi was an award winning, investigative reporter for 20 years at TV stations around the country prior to joining the James Hoyer Law Firm.
Moreschi’s presentation at IRE focused on corporate whistleblowers and how they’ve become such an important tool in fighting fraud against the government. Last year alone, the Department of Justice recovered nearly $5 billion in taxpayer money with the help of whistleblower lawsuits– $3 billion of that came from healthcare fraud. Cases range from hospitals over-billing Medicaid/Medicare to pharmaceutical companies promoting drugs for off-label uses.
Moreschi also discussed how whistleblower lawsuits work and the history of the False Claims Act.
The 47% Video
David Corn of Mother Jones is the journalist who broke the story on the Mitt Romney 47-percent video, which came out during the 2012 presidential campaign. The now infamous video includes Romney’s remarks talking about the 47 percent of Americans he characterized as “victims.”
“All right, there are 47 percent who are with him (President Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them…These are people who pay no income tax.”
When originally reporting the story, Corn did not reveal the source of the recording, honoring a pledge to protect the person’s identity. During his IRE presentation, Corn described how he got the exclusive and the evolution of the source’s decision to reveal himself.
CBS News Investigative Producer Pia Malbran discussed the importance of protecting sources. Malbran said it takes a very unique person to come forward and put their livelihood on the line to expose wrongdoing. She stressed the need to be extra sensitive to their difficult situation when reporting on their stories.