Agency eyes big revamp of Wall Street whistleblower program


FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2019, file photo, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton, center, waves to a commissioner as he takes his seat between SEC Commissioners Robert Jackson Jr., left, and Hester Peirce, at the start of a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. With little fanfare, the SEC is taking steps to revamp one of the government’s most successful whistleblower programs, alarming advocates who warn the changes will set back efforts to police Wall Street and punish corporate fraud (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

WASHINGTON — A federal agency is moving with little fanfare to revamp one of the most successful whistleblower programs in the government.

The effort has alarmed advocates who warn that the changes will set back efforts to police Wall Street and punish corporate fraud.

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s program works much like the whistleblower system for intelligence agencies that triggered the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. It grants anonymity to people who come forward with allegations of wrongdoing.

But unlike that system, it deals with the private sector. It offers cash payouts to people who provide information that helps the SEC identify fraud.

The program was created in 2010 by the Democrats’ Wall Street oversight law. Tips, and substantial cash payouts, have flowed since it started in 2011.

Marcy Gordon, The Associated Press

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