Senator Grassley Urges Support of Bipartisan Whistleblower Legislation
Yesterday, Sen. Charles Grassley delivered a speech on the Senate floor urging support of the “Whistleblower Programs Improvement Act of 2019” (WPIA), a bill he introduced in September. The bipartisan whistleblower legislation addresses several concerning shortcomings found in securities and commodities whistleblower laws.
The WPIA will require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to issue rulings on cases within one year made by Wall Street whistleblowers who are eligible for rewards; the WPIA will also protect SEC whistleblowers and CFTC whistleblowers from retaliation when reporting internally; Finally, the WPIA will prohibit mandatory arbitration in Dodd-Frank Act whistleblower retaliation cases filed in federal court.
“It reinforces and extends protections that Congress already granted in the past and ensures that whistleblowers working in different industries who make similar kinds of disclosures are equally treated and equally protected under the law,” Grassley said in his speech. “That’s something I’m certain we can all get behind.”
In 2018, a decision was made in Digital Realty Trust v. Somers (No. 16-1276) that stripped protections from securities and commodities whistleblowers who reported internally as opposed to regulatory authorities.
“That’s not what Congress intended when it created the current SEC whistleblower program in 2010,” Grassley said of the ruling in yesterday’s speech. “It’s not what I intended when I voted for it.”
The whistleblower attorneys at the qui tam law firm Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto joined a coalition of whistleblower advocates last month in thanking the original sponsors of the bill, which includes Grassley (R-Iowa), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Richard Durbin (D-Illinois).
Watch Senator Grassley’s speech below: