May 6, 2019
CFTC Announces Approximately $1.5 Million Whistleblower Award
Washington, DC - The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced a whistleblower award of approximately $1.5 million to be paid to an individual whistleblower. The CFTC granted the whistleblower’s award application for both a CFTC action and a related action brought by another federal regulator. In ordering the award, the CFTC recognized the contribution of a whistleblower who sought to report his or her concerns internally prior to reporting to the CFTC.
James McDonald, CFTC’s Enforcement Director, said, “Today’s award stands as one in a growing line of whistleblower awards that show the Commission’s continued commitment to the program. Whistleblowers have become an integral part of our enforcement efforts, and I expect that trend to continue going forward.”
“While there is no requirement that a whistleblower report internally before approaching the Commission, today’s award demonstrates that the Commission may pay enhanced awards to those that do – that is one of the positive factors set out in our rules for the Commission to consider in making its award determination,” said Christopher Ehrman, Director of CFTC’s Whistleblower Office. “To be clear, the Commission’s rules do not require a whistleblower to undertake internal reporting efforts in order to be eligible for the benefits and protections of our program. Instead, a whistleblower can contact us directly whenever he or she wishes – and may do so anonymously.”
In addition, the program affords protections against retaliation. Employers may not take any action to impede a would-be whistleblower from communicating directly with the CFTC’s staff about possible violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA); nor may employers discharge, demote, suspend, harass, or in any way discriminate against someone for providing information to the CFTC under the Whistleblower Program. An employee may have a private right of action, and the CFTC may bring an enforcement action against an employer for any retaliatory acts.