Morgenthau’s lament could well be answered by the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. That law introduced comprehensive and potent whistle-blower protections to corporate America.

It will be a challenge for corporations to adapt to the new regime, which makes whistle-blowers a protected class. While glorified as heroes in films like “Serpico,” “Silkwood,” “Erin Brockovich” and “The Insider,” whistle-blowers in real life are rarely welcomed. Unlike their celluloid models, they’re often vilified by bosses and co-workers as disloyal, disgruntled and sometimes just plain nuts.

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