July 30 was National Whistleblower Day. For the tenth consecutive year, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution designating the day and encouraging federal agencies to celebrate by informing employees of their whistleblower rights and “acknowledging the contributions of whistleblowers to combating waste, fraud, abuse, and violations of laws and regulations of the United States.”
Among the agencies which recognized National Whistleblower Day this year were two with hugely important whistleblower award programs: the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
“The Commodity Futures Trading Commission recognizes the critical role whistleblowers play in our enforcement program every day,” Acting Director of the CFTC’s Whistleblower Office Christina McGlosson told WNN.
“Roughly 30 percent of all CFTC enforcement investigations stem from whistleblowers, and information from whistleblowers assisted in enforcement actions totaling more than $3 billion,” the CFTC further informed WNN. “The CFTC’s Whistleblower Office issues alerts to the public to encourage potential whistleblowers to come forward to help hold wrongdoers accountable.”
“The CFTC also acknowledges the personal sacrifices many whistleblowers make when they come forward with information about misconduct,” the agency further explained. “The CFTC continues to issue awards to whistleblowers whose information leads to successful enforcement actions. To date, the CFTC has awarded approximately $330 million to whistleblowers. For National Whistleblower Appreciation Day, the CFTC will post on its social media accounts acknowledgments of whistleblowers’ significant contributions to combating violations since the establishment of the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program in early 2011.”
While the IRS did not respond to a request for comment by WNN, the agency’s Whistleblower Office did release a statement in honor of National Whistleblower Day.
“Whistleblower information has been an incredibly effective aid to IRS compliance efforts,” said IRS Whistleblower Office Director John Hinman. “Since issuing its first award in 2007 through fiscal year 2022, the IRS has paid $1.1 billion in awards to over 2,500 whistleblowers based on the successful collection of $6.6 billion from non-compliant taxpayers.”
“Although the IRS uses increasingly sophisticated data analytics and other methods to detect non-compliance with tax laws, it needs help from whistleblowers – people with firsthand knowledge of non-compliance who are willing to share what they know so the IRS can investigate it when warranted,” the Whistleblower Office’s statement reads.
“Whistleblower information that the IRS can act on is an important component of effective tax administration and contributes to identifying non-compliance and reducing the tax gap,” the statement continues. “The IRS appreciates the valuable assistance it has received from whistleblowers and the tremendous support the whistleblower practitioner community provides to the Whistleblower Program.”
Both the CFTC and IRS Whistleblower Programs have been hugely successful and revolutionized their agencies’ enforcement efforts. Both, however, are also facing issues and in need of reform.
A bipartisan bill introduced in July provides a long-term fix to the funding issue undermining the CFTC Whistleblower Program. A bipartisan bill introduced in March offers a number of reforms to the IRS Whistleblower Program, including addressing the program’s lengthy delays.