Bill introduced in Senate to save CFTC whistleblower reward fund

by Kait Pararas, Program Manager

Published on February 25, 2021

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Bill Introduced in Senate to Save CFTC Whistleblower Reward Fund

Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Fund Management Act (S.409) on February 25th, 2021. This bipartisan Act is designed to expand the reward fund of the CFTC for its successful whistleblower program created by the Dodd-Frank Act.

At present, the CFTC whistleblower reward fund is being depleted after a record-breaking number of award claims in the FY 2020 fiscal year. This bill would allow the CFTC to set aside more money from sanctions in order to pay whistleblower awards, ensuring the continued success of the program – at no cost to taxpayers. An earlier version of this bill had been introduced by Senator Grassley at the close of the 116th Congress.

As Whistleblower Network News notes, under the Commodity Exchange Act as it stands, the Customer Protection Fund is capped at $100 million. However, the increasing size and amount of whistleblower rewards granted recently threatens to deplete the fund. Therefore, the CFTC Fund Management Act raises the fund’s cap to $150 million and temporarily establishes a separate fund for money used to pay the program’s operating costs.

Since the CFTC Whistleblower Program was established in 2010, whistleblowers have helped the government recover over $1 billion in sanctions for commodities fraud and been awarded over $120 million for their disclosures. In the 2020 fiscal year alone, the CFTC granted 16 whistleblower awards totaling approximately $20 million. As this data proves, whistleblowers have proven to be an extremely effective tool for enforcement as the CFTC works to regulate the commodities market.

In a press release announcing the introduction of this bill, Senator Grassley commented: “The CFTC whistleblower program has become far more successful than Congress imagined when we set it up back in 2010…We can’t allow this program to become a victim of its own success. Congress has to pass this bill now to ensure that the CFTC whistleblower program remains solvent and can continue to grow.”

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