Rep. Axne Introduces the Whistleblower Programs Improvement Act

October 24, 2019
Press Release
Axne’s bill would better protect employees who report market manipulation, wrongdoing to supervisors

WASHINGTON – U.S. House Agriculture Committee Member Cindy Axne (IA-03) introduced the Whistleblower Programs Improvement Act (WPIA), legislation that would extend whistleblower protections to more individuals who report market manipulation or other wrongdoing to their supervisors.

“If someone sees insider trading at their company and decides to report it internally, then that individual should have the same protections as they’d receive if they reported it to the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC),” Rep. Axne said. “Reporting violations internally is often the best and most efficient way to address potential wrongdoing, and employees should not be discouraged from doing so.”

A Supreme Court ruling in 2018 held that anti-retaliation protections for SEC whistleblowers only applied to individuals that reported directly to the SEC and not individuals that had reported the wrongdoing to their employer. This ruling created a coverage gap in whistleblower protections which can prevent people from bringing their concerns to a manager. Rep. Axne’s legislation would ensure that an individual who reports violations of commodities law internally would have the same protections against retaliation as if they had gone to the CFTC.

“Whistleblowers must be protected and encouraged to come forward to ensure corporations are playing by the rules. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the House Agricultural Committee to ensure this issue is addressed in the upcoming CFTC reauthorization,” Rep. Axne said.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced the Whistleblower Programs Improvement Act along with Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill) in September. Senator Grassley’s legislation would extend protections to individuals reporting securities and commodities law violations internally. Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed the Whistleblower Protection Reform Act of 2019, introduced by Rep. Al Green (D-TX), which would fix the coverage gap for securities violations overseen by the SEC.