Jul 26, 2023 | Press Releases

Nunn, Grassley, Hassan Lead Bipartisan Effort to Bolster Successful Whistleblower Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Zach Nunn (IA-03), as well as U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (IA) and Maggie Hassan (NH), today introduced the CFTC Whistleblower Fund Improvement Act to strengthen a whistleblower program at risk of collapsing under its own success. 

“The CFTC relies on whistleblowers to identify fraud, and this information is absolutely critical to protecting consumers,” Rep. Nunn said. “Right now, though, the CFTC’s whistleblower program is ironically being hamstrung because it’s been too successful. Our bipartisan bill will make important changes to support whistleblowers without costing taxpayers a dime.” 

Under current law, the Customer Protection Fund (CPF)—which provides monetary payments to award whistleblowers—is capped at $100 million. Any fines collected after the cap is reached are sent to the Treasury’s general fund. In recent years, fines from whistleblower disclosures have increased in volume and value, which in turn, has yielded higher reward disbursements. Because of the $100 million collection cap, however, the CPF is depleting faster than it is replenishing. The CFTC Whistleblower Fund Improvement Act of 2023 would ensure the CPF will function as intended and accommodate growing engagement. 

“The CFTC whistleblower program should not be a victim of its own success. Without congressional action, the whistleblower reward fund could drain faster than it replenishes,” Sen. Grassley said. “Our bill would ensure the CFTC whistleblower office continues to promote accountability by making a stopgap fix permanent and strengthening the law that established it in the first place – and at zero cost to the taxpayer.” 

Congress in 2021 passed the CFTC Fund Management Act to establish a separate account within the fund dedicated to CFTC whistleblower program operating expenses. That law was a temporary fix and will expire next year. The CFTC Whistleblower Fund Improvement Act of 2023 would make the CFTC Fund Management Act permanent and increase the CPF cap from $100 million to $300 million. 

The legislation would not utilize any taxpayer dollars since the CPF is made up of fines collected from whistleblower disclosures. 

“When whistleblowers bravely step forward, they are risking their careers in order to prevent wrongdoing and save taxpayer dollars,” Sen. Hassan said. “It is vital that this fund for whistleblowers remains available in the future to continue saving billions of dollars. I am glad that Senator Grassley and I were able to temporarily continue this program for the past two years, and I urge my colleagues to support this bill that will make this fund permanent.” Congress in 2010 created the CFTC Whistleblower Program and Customer Protection Fund (CPF), which pays out whistleblowers’ rewards using fines collected from their disclosures. It also pays for the operating expenses and educational initiatives associated with the CFTC Whistleblower Program. 

The CFTC Whistleblower Fund Improvement Act of 2023 has garnered support from organizations focused on holding the government accountable, protecting whistleblowers and rooting out financial fraud. Read a letter from stakeholders here.

Bill text is available here.