POGO Calls on SEC to Provide Safe and Open Channels for Whistleblower Tips

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Keith Rutter
Phone: 202-347-1122
Email: pogo@pogo.org

POGO Calls on SEC to Provide Safe and Open Channels for Whistleblower Tips

WASHINGTON - The
Project On Government Oversight (POGO) raised concerns last week about
how the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is proposing to handle
whistleblower tips. POGO submitted a public comment
highlighting problems with the SEC's proposed whistleblower award
program, which does not go far enough in providing safe and open
channels for disclosing corporate fraud, and may even put whistleblowers
at risk.

The
Dodd-Frank financial reform law made vast improvements to the SEC's
whistleblower award program, providing financial incentives for
tipsters, and offering protection against retaliation. If implemented as
Congress intended, this program will advance the SEC's mission by
ensuring a free flow of information from whistleblowers seeking to
expose corporate fraud.

In
the past few months, however, industry groups have been fighting tooth
and nail to weaken the program, insisting that whistleblower awards will
weaken internal corporate compliance. Some even want to make it a
requirement for whistleblowers to report wrongdoing to their firms
before going to the SEC-a dangerous proposal that would clearly
undermine Congress's intent to provide for anonymous and protected
whistleblowing. Contrary to industry's claims, a strong SEC program will
actually put pressure on companies to strengthen their internal
compliance programs.

POGO
is also concerned by recent comments suggesting that the SEC will
occasionally send tips back to the companies accused of wrongdoing and
let them investigative themselves.

"As
we saw in the Madoff debacle, the SEC needs all the help it can get
from whistleblowers. Congress gave the SEC clear instructions to provide
safe and open channels for receiving tips," said POGO Executive
Director Danielle Brian. "The SEC must not fold to industry pressure to
gut the whistleblower program."

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

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The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is an independent nonprofit that investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more effective, accountable, open and honest federal government.

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