Thursday, June 17, 2021

Legislative fix to save imperiled CFTC whistleblower program moves forward in House

By Lene Powell, J.D.

Joining the Senate to head off a potential funding shortfall in the CFTC whistleblower program, the House Agriculture Committee approved a committee print to shore up funding for the program’s administrative expenses as well as customer education initiatives.

Approved by voice vote, the committee print mirrors legislation passed by the Senate earlier this month (S. 409). The next step is for the measure to be considered by the full House.

CFTC whistleblower funding. The bill creates a separate account at the U.S. Treasury to pay CFTC whistleblower program operating expenses, apart from whistleblower awards, if the amount in the Customer Protection Fund drops to a critically low level.

The fix ensures that the Whistleblower Office will be able to continue operations if the fund is in danger of depletion, as for example a possible scenario in which a single very large award could potentially derail program operations.

Committee print approved. The measure was quickly approved by voice vote with no amendments or dissent.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott and Ranking Member Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson issued a joint statement on the approval of the measure.

"The Commodity Futures Trading Commission Whistleblower office is at risk of running out of money and the actions we take today will spare them having to furlough employees that process these whistleblower awards and those that educate folks in industry so they know about the program and know where to go to sound the alarm on bad actors," said Chairman David Scott.

"The CFTC’s whistleblower program is an essential part of enforcement at the CFTC and one that has been remarkably successful. Yet, in a few short weeks, the work of the Whistleblower Office and the Office of Customer Education and Outreach will grind to a halt. This is unacceptable," said Ranking Member Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson. "I am proud to work with Chairman Scott, and the leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee, to craft this bipartisan, bicameral legislation to protect these programs at the Commission. I appreciate the opportunity to work through regular order and look forward to swift passage in the House."