WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) to introduce the bipartisan Whistleblower Programs Improvement Act (WPIA) that would extend whistleblower protections to more individuals who report wrongdoing and violations of securities and commodities law.
“If we strengthen and empower whistleblowers, we can do a better job of holding corporate America accountable,” said Senator Baldwin. “This bipartisan legislation seeks to extend critical protections for those who want to blow the whistle on crime, fraud and abuse so we can hold bad actors accountable and protect those who are doing the right thing.”
“There’s no reason why those who want to report wrongdoing internally should face potential retaliation from the exact people they are reporting to. Internal disclosures can be the fastest and most effective way for a company to remedy problems, prevent fraud and protect investors. Our bill will ensure that those who do the right thing and report violations will be protected,” said Chairman Grassley.
“There has long been a bipartisan consensus that if whistleblowers are being retaliated against for reporting wrongdoing, Congress has a responsibility to step in. Whistleblowers deserve to be protected. Period,” said Senator Durbin.
The WPIA will extend protection from retaliation to whistleblowers who choose to report wrongdoing internally before or instead of reporting directly to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), essentially closing the gap in protection left in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v Paul Somers. The legislation will also improve the speediness of monetary awards to those whistleblowers whose reports result in successful enforcement actions and harmonize the SEC and CFTC statutes to better ensure whistleblowers can pursue remedies under the law.
The bill is supported by whistleblower advocacy organizations including the National Whistleblower Center, the Project on Government Oversight, Public Citizen and others. Read their letter of support here. Further letters of support from Taxpayers against Fraud and the American Association for Justice can be found here and here.