OIG reviewing CFTC Whistleblower Program as Administration of Reward Programs Gets Scrutinized

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Power Plant at night, representing CFTC Whistleblower Program

CFTC Whistleblower Program Review

The Office of the Inspector General has refocused on an investigation of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Whistleblower Office to determine why there have been fewer awards concerning violations of the Commodity Exchange Act or CFTC rules as a result of Dodd-Frank and to recommend best practices.

The CFTC has now awarded two whistleblowers with rewards through its whistleblower program for total payments of less than $1 million. The SEC, correspondingly, has paid out more than $50 million to approximately 20 individuals. Despite a media report over the summer suggesting that big awards were coming out of the agency, we have not yet seen announcements of them.

The review was initially opened in September 2014 but halted during November 2014 due to competing priorities. It was reopened at some point between April and September 2015, the time period for the Office of the Inspector General’s recent Semiannual Report to Congress concerning the CFTC.

The CFTC Whistleblower Program is not the only program undergoing a review.

After the Securities and Exchange Commission released its annual report on the performance of the Dodd-Frank financial incentives and retaliation protections, Senators Grassley and Warren asked the securities regulator in a letter for additional information about the implementation of the 2013 recommendations for the program made by OIG.

The IRS was the subject of a recently released GAO report which led by reporting timeliness and communication concerns might discourage whistleblowing to the government program in its effort to close the approximately $400 billion annual tax gap. The report suggested several changes for the whistleblower office, IRS, Treasury Department and Congress to make to improve the performance of the financial incentives to provide information about tax evasion.

Even the Department of Justice has received attention recently, with Senators Warren, Durbin and Blumenthal asking the DOJ and Department of Education in a letter why the government was willing to accept less than $100 million from Education Management Corp. (EDMC) to resolve the more than $10 billion in financial aid it allegedly paid to the for-profit education company due to fraud.

If you are looking for help navigating the CFTC, DOJ or SEC programs, please contact one of our whistleblower attorneys by calling 1-800-590-4116 or filling out our contact form.