Preliminary Determinations

BEFORE this step, be sure:

  • You have submitted a tip, complaint, or referral (Form TCR) to the Whistleblower Office
  • You have located a Notice of Covered Action or a Related Action associated with your tip and a successful CFTC enforcement action related to your tip
  • You have applied for an award using a Form WB-APP
  • You have received and reviewed the Preliminary Determination of the Claims Review Staff

What to do NEXT:

  • You may request within 30 days of the date of the Preliminary Determination that the Whistleblower Office make the record available to you, subject to your signing a confidentiality agreement
  • You may request reconsideration of the Preliminary Determination and submit a written response either (1) within 60 days of the date of the Preliminary Determination or (2), if you requested to view the record, then within 60 days of the Whistleblower Office making the record available to you
  • You may waive your request for the record or for reconsideration, which may speed up the review process if you are the only applicant in the award determination

Preliminary Determinations

After a whistleblower applies for an award by submitting a Form WB-APP, the Claims Review Staff, in consultation with the Whistleblower Office, will evaluate the application for compliance with the Whistleblower Rules.

The Claims Review Staff will evaluate each application for an award related to the same Covered Action or Related Action. If the Claims Review Staff determines that more than one whistleblower should receive an award, the Claims Review Staff will make a recommendation on the award amount for each eligible whistleblower with the total amount for all awards limited to between 10% and 30% of the monetary sanctions collected in the Covered or Related Action.

The Whistleblower Office will send each individual who submits an award application a letter enclosing a copy of the “Preliminary Determination” informing the claimant of the Claims Review Staff’s recommendation regarding whether to grant or deny the award applications associated with the Notice of Covered Action. If any application is granted, the Preliminary Determination will also state the award percentage amount.

A claimant has 30 days from the date of the Preliminary Determination to request the record the Claims Review Staff considered in reaching its award recommendation. If requested, the Whistleblower Office will make a redacted copy of the record materials available to the claimant. In making the record available, the Whistleblower Office will require that the claimant sign an agreement to keep the record confidential and not disclose it to others.

Additionally, a claimant has 60 days from the date of the Preliminary Determination to submit a request for reconsideration of the Preliminary Determination. That written request will typically be limited to 10 pages. If the claimant has requested the record, the 60 days begin to run from the date the record is made available to the claimant. Requests to review the record or for reconsideration must be made in writing to the Whistleblower Office—by email, mail, or fax to:

Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Whistleblower Office
1155 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20581
Fax: (202) 418-5975
Email: whistleblower@cftc.gov

In cases where no award is recommended, if no claimant requests to review the record or asks for reconsideration, or fails to otherwise submit a timely response, the Preliminary Determination will become Final Order of the Commission after 60 days.

Related Frequently Asked Questions

What factors does the CFTC consider in determining the amount of the award?

The Whistleblower Rules require that the Commission consider many factors in determining the amount of an award based on the unique facts and circumstances of each case. Rule 165.9.

The Commission may increase the award percentage based on:

1. the significance of the information you provided the Commission to the success of a CFTC action or Related Action;

2. the degree of assistance you provided;

3. the Commission's law enforcement interest in deterring violations of the commodities laws by making awards to whistleblowers who provide information that leads to the successful enforcement of these laws; and/or

4. whether, and the extent to which, you participated in your company's internal compliance systems.

The Commission may reduce the amount of an award based on:

1. whether you were involved in, or culpable for, the conduct you reported;

2. whether you unreasonably delayed reporting a violation to us; and/or

3. whether you interfered with your company's internal compliance and reporting systems.

Can I request to review a copy of the materials considered in making the Preliminary Determination?

Yes. The materials considered by the CFTC are referred to as the "record". You have 30 days from the date of the Preliminary Determination to request that the Whistleblower Office make the record available. You should submit your request in writing to the Whistleblower Office by email, mail, or fax:

Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Whistleblower Office
1155 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20581

Fax: (202) 418-5975

Email: whistleblower@cftc.gov

The Whistleblower Office will then make the record available to you. The specific items that make up the record are listed in Whistleblower Rule 165.10. These may include any documents or materials received or obtained by the Whistleblower Office to assist the Commission in resolving a whistleblower's award claim pertaining to a Related Action, as long as the entity bringing the Related Action has authorized the Commission to share the information with the whistleblower. Note that the record does not include any pre-decisional or internal deliberative process materials that are prepared to assist the CFTC in deciding a claim. In order to provide the record to a claimant and preserve confidentiality, the Whistleblower Office will redact any information that would identify any other whistleblowers. In addition, you will need to sign an agreement saying you will keep the record materials confidential and not share them with others. Rules 165.7(g), 165.10, 165.13(b)

Can I request reconsideration of the Preliminary Determination?

Yes. You have 60 days from the date of the Preliminary Determination (or, if you have requested the record, from the date you receive a copy of those materials) to submit a request for reconsideration of the Preliminary Determination. That request must be in writing and is limited to 10 pages. You must submit your request to the Whistleblower Office by email, mail, or fax:

Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Whistleblower Office
1155 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20581

Fax: (202) 418-5975

Email: whistleblower@cftc.gov

Rule 165.7(g)(2)(ii)

What happens if I waive my request for the record or for reconsideration?

If you notify the Whistleblower Office in writing that you waive your right to request the record and/or for reconsideration, you may speed up the review process if you are the only applicant in the award determination. However, there is no guarantee that your waiver will lead to earlier issuance of a Final Order if there are other claimants, given that those other claimants may not waive their rights regarding the record and reconsideration.

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