CFTC Whistleblower Office

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The Whistleblower Office of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is a division within the Enforcement Division of the CFTC responsible for administering the CFTC's Whistleblower Program. Established pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, the Whistleblower Program provides monetary awards to individuals who voluntarily report original information about violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) that leads to a successful enforcement action resulting in monetary sanctions exceeding $1 million.[1]

History and Mandate[edit]

The CFTC Whistleblower Office was created as part of the broader regulatory response to the Financial Crisis of 2007–2008. Its establishment was aimed at enhancing the CFTC's enforcement capabilities by incentivizing individuals with knowledge of potential violations of the CEA to come forward and report such misconduct. The Whistleblower Program is designed to encourage timely and credible reporting of violations, thereby aiding the CFTC in detecting and prosecuting unlawful activities in the commodity futures and swaps markets. As of fiscal year 2023, the Whistleblower program issued 41 orders granting awards totaling almost $350 million.[2]

In February of 2024, Brian Young was appointed the director of the CFTC's Whistleblower Office.[3] Christopher Ehrman led the Whistleblower Office from 2013 to February of 2024.[4][5]

Functions and Operations[edit]

The Whistleblower Office is responsible for receiving, reviewing, and processing whistleblower tips, complaints, and information submitted by individuals alleging violations of the CEA. Upon receipt of a whistleblower submission, the office conducts a preliminary evaluation to assess the credibility and significance of the information provided. Qualified whistleblower submissions that meet the statutory criteria may result in the initiation of a CFTC investigation or enforcement action.

One of the primary functions of the Whistleblower Office is to evaluate whistleblower award claims. Whistleblowers who provide original information that leads to a successful enforcement action with monetary sanctions exceeding $1 million may be eligible to receive an award ranging from 10% to 30% of the monetary sanctions collected by the CFTC or other authorities in related actions.

Protection and Confidentiality[edit]

To encourage whistleblowers to come forward without fear of retaliation, the Whistleblower Program provides anti-retaliation protections to individuals who report violations of the CEA. Under these provisions, it is unlawful for employers to discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass, or discriminate against whistleblowers for disclosing information in accordance with the program.

Furthermore, the Whistleblower Program offers confidentiality protections to whistleblowers who wish to remain anonymous during the reporting process. Whistleblowers have the option to submit information anonymously through legal representation, thereby safeguarding their identity from disclosure to the CFTC and potential employers.

References[edit]

  1. CFTC Organization. U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  2. PROGRAM OVERVIEW. U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  3. CFTC Names Brian Young as Director of Whistleblower Office. U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  4. Director of the Whistleblower Office to Leave the CFTC. U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  5. Christopher Ehrman. Phillips and Cohen.