Blowing the Whistle on Consumer Financial Abuse

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The whistleblower programs that the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd–Frank) created within the Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) offer large monetary rewards for actionable information. These “bounties” have attracted commentary from the academy, the bar, and corporate America. Less often dis-cussed is section 1057 of Dodd–Frank, which creates a private cause of action for informants who experience retaliation for reporting violations of federal consumer financial law to the Con-sumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). These informants could be a valuable tool for discharging the CFPB’s supervisory and enforcement responsibilities. Unfortunately, the history of whistleblower protection under the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 (Sarbanes–Oxley) demonstrates that section 1057 alone is not a viable long-term incentive for insiders to come forward. Therefore, this Comment argues that Congress or the CFPB should offer bounties for information that protects consumers’ financial welfare, much as existing Dodd–Frank programs remunerate individuals who contact law enforcement for the benefit of investors.

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