March 31, 2023

Cortez Masto Introduces Legislation to Incentivize Whistleblowers to Report Consumer Fraud

Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) introduced the Financial Compensation for CFPB Whistleblowers Act to authorize the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to award financial compensation to whistleblowers who report wrongdoing to the Consumer Bureau. The bill is cosponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Bernard Sanders (I-VT). Companion legislation is being introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Al Green (D-Texas-09).

“Whistleblowers play a critical role by reporting wrongdoing and fraud schemes targeting our communities,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “This legislation will protect these individuals, making it easier for them to come forward and for us to go after anyone taking advantage of vulnerable Nevadans.”

“Whistleblowers are essential to our democracy,” said Senator Brown, Chairman of Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. “Whistleblowers risk their career and their reputation to reveal corruption and bad actors seeking to exploit consumers and our government. We must do more to protect whistleblowers so they feel safe coming forward to expose corporate malfeasance. This legislation does just that by protecting whistleblowers from retaliation and incentivizing them to come forward with their information.”

“I am proud to reintroduce the Financial Compensation for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Whistleblowers Act together with Senator Catherine Cortez Masto” said Congressman Al Green. “The recent bank failures and volatility in our financial system have reaffirmed the importance of transparency and accountability in our economy. This legislation would create a powerful reward program that will help the CFPB uncover malpractice and reward those who come forward with evidence of fraud. I am honored to partner with Senator Cortez Masto once more on this legislation, and I look forward to its enactment.”

Financial rewards and assured protection both help push potential whistleblowers to comeforward. The Financial Compensation for CFPB Whistleblowers Act would encourage reporting by allowing the Consumer Bureau to reward whistleblowers financial compensation from the Civil Penalty Fund. The legislation would also allow whistleblowers to retain independent counsel and protect a whistleblower’s identity. In addition, it would ensure that pre-dispute arbitration agreements wouldn’t prevent a whistleblower from contacting the Consumer Bureau with a concern.

Senator Cortez Masto has led efforts to protect consumers throughout her career and worked closely with Consumer Bureau during her tenure as Attorney General of Nevada. She has introduced legislation to protect American consumers who sue corporations for fraud and recently sounded the alarm on check washing fraud scams. During the Trump Administration, she spoke out frequently about his nominees’ efforts to weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and leave consumers without restitution. In 2020, she helped secure passage of legislation to deter disruptive and potentially harmful phone calls and texts.