The Center for Media and Democracy, Common Cause, the AFL-CIO, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Public Citizen and other organizations have signed onto a letter to members of Congress opposing a draft bill by Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) that would weaken whistleblower protection and award programs at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC). Grimm's bill seeks to strip newly-enacted protections for whistleblowers who face retaliation for contacting enforcement agencies. It would also remove incentives for corporate insiders to inform regulators about wrongdoing, hamstring enforcement at the SEC and CTFC and give lawbreaking financial firms a way to escape accountability for their actions. The programs Grimm's bill is trying to gut are based on America’s most effective anti-corruption statute: the False Claims Act, which has returned more than $27 billion taxpayer dollars since 1987. The programs were created under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to help the SEC and CTFC monitor securities and commodities markets and help avert another Wall Street collapse. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFTC and the SEC can compensate whistleblowers whose disclosures lead to enforcement actions with penalties of $1 million or more. Such programs help protect taxpayers by encouraging insiders with critical knowledge of large-scale corporate misconduct to come forward and report it. You can read the letter and see all the groups who have signed onto to it here (pdf).
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