The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's (CFTC) Whistleblower Program, created by the Dodd-Frank Act, provides monetary incentives to individuals who come forward to report possible violations of the Commodity Exchange Act. It also provides anti-retaliation protections for whistleblowers. The CFTC’s Whistleblower Office administers the program.
Under the Whistleblower Program:
- The CFTC pays monetary awards to eligible whistleblowers who voluntarily provide the CFTC with original information about violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) that leads the CFTC to bring a successful enforcement action resulting in monetary sanctions exceeding $1,000,000.
- The CFTC pays monetary awards to eligible whistleblowers whose information leads to the successful enforcement of a Related Action brought by another governmental entity and certain other entities that is based on original information voluntarily submitted by a whistleblower to the CFTC that led to the successful enforcement of an action brought by the CFTC.
- The total amount of an award for an eligible enforcement action is between 10% and 30% of the amount of monetary sanctions collected in the CFTC's enforcement action or a Related Action. If multiple whistleblowers are granted awards in an action, the total award amount is still limited to between 10% and 30% of the amount of the monetary sanctions collected.
- Whistleblowers have certain protections regarding confidentiality of their identity.
- Employers may not take any action to impede would-be whistleblowers from communicating directly with the Commission’s staff about possible violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), including by enforcing, or threatening to enforce, a confidentiality agreement or predispute arbitration agreement with respect to such communications. Nor may employers retaliate against whistleblowers for reporting violations of the CEA—as through discharge, demotion, suspension, threats, harassment, direct or indirect, or any other discrimination against a whistleblower in the terms and conditions of employment because of any lawful act done by the whistleblower.
- A whistleblower who has been retaliated against has the right to sue an employer in federal court. In addition, the CFTC has authority to enforce the anti-retaliation provisions of the CEA by bringing an enforcement action or proceeding against an offending employer.
- Your information could lead the Commission to open a new investigation, re-open a closed investigation, or pursue a new line of inquiry in an ongoing investigation. This could result in a successful enforcement action, and you may be eligible for an award if your information matches certain criteria. More information is available under Submit a Tip.
- Submitting a tip alone will not be sufficient to obtain an award. In order to be considered for an award, a whistleblower must also submit an award application when the Whistleblower Office releases a Notice of Covered Action, or when a judgment is issued in a Related Action.
Additional information about the program is provided below and on other pages under the program overview. The topics covered include:
- History of the Whistleblower Program
- About the CFTC and CFTC Enforcement
- How to become a whistleblower
- Orders eligible for an award
- How to apply for an award
- Preliminary Determinations
- Final Orders/Award Determinations
- Whistleblower protections
History of the Whistleblower Program
The CFTC's Whistleblower Program was created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the Dodd-Frank Act), which amended the CEA by adding a new Section 23, titled "Commodity Whistleblower Incentives and Protection."
Section 23 of the CEA, along with the rules and regulations issued by the CFTC to implement the provisions of the section (the Whistleblower Rules - 17 C.F.R.pt.165), governs the Whistleblower Program and provides detailed procedures and requirements about the program and process for obtaining a whistleblower award. The Whistleblower Rules became effective in October 2011 and were amended in July 2017.