17 CFR 165.2 - Definitions.
As used in this part:
(a) Action. The term “action” generally means a single captioned judicial or administrative proceeding. Notwithstanding the foregoing:
(1) For purposes of making an award under § 165.7, the Commission will treat as a Commission action two or more administrative or judicial proceedings brought by the Commission if these proceedings arise out of the same nucleus of operative facts; or
(2) For purposes of determining the payment on an award under § 165.14, the Commission will deem as part of the Commission action upon which the award was based any subsequent Commission proceeding that, individually, results in a monetary sanction of $1,000,000 or less, and that arises out of the same nucleus of operative facts.
(b) Aggregate amount. The phrase “aggregate amount” means the total amount of an award granted to one or more whistleblowers pursuant to § 165.8.
(c) Analysis. The term “analysis” means the whistleblower's examination and evaluation of information that may be generally available, but which reveals information that is not generally known or available to the public.
(d) Collected by the Commission. The phrase “collected by the Commission” refers to any funds received, and confirmed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, in satisfaction of part or all of a civil monetary penalty, disgorgement obligation, or fine owed to the Commission.
(e) Covered judicial or administrative action. The phrase “covered judicial or administrative action” means any judicial or administrative action brought by the Commission under the Commodity Exchange Act whose successful resolution results in monetary sanctions exceeding $1,000,000.
(f) Fund. The term “Fund” means the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Customer Protection Fund.
(g) Independent knowledge. The phrase “independent knowledge” means factual information in the whistleblower's possession that is not generally known or available to the public. The whistleblower may gain independent knowledge from the whistleblower's experiences, communications and observations in the whistleblower's personal business or social interactions. The Commission will not consider the whistleblower's information to be derived from the whistleblower's independent knowledge if the whistleblower obtained the information:
(1) From sources generally available to the public such as corporate filings and the media, including the Internet;
(2) Through a communication that was subject to the attorney-client privilege, unless the disclosure is otherwise permitted by the applicable federal or state attorney conduct rules;
(3) In connection with the legal representation of a client on whose behalf the whistleblower, or the whistleblower's employer or firm, have been providing services, and the whistleblower seek to use the information to make a whistleblower submission for the whistleblower's own benefit, unless disclosure is authorized by the applicable federal or state attorney conduct rules;
(4) Because the whistleblower was an officer, director, trustee, or partner of an entity and another person informed the whistleblower of allegations of misconduct, or the whistleblower learned the information in connection with the entity's processes for identifying, reporting, and addressing possible violations of law;
(5) Because the whistleblower was an employee whose principal duties involved compliance or internal audit responsibilities; or
(6) By a means or in a manner that is determined by a United States court to violate applicable Federal or state criminal law.
(7) Exceptions. Paragraphs (g)(4) and (5) of this section shall not apply if:
(i) The whistleblower has a reasonable basis to believe that disclosure of the information to the Commission is necessary to prevent the relevant entity from engaging in conduct that is likely to cause substantial injury to the financial interest or property of the entity or investors;
(ii) The whistleblower has a reasonable basis to believe that the relevant entity is engaging in conduct that will impede an investigation of the misconduct; or
(iii) At least 120 days have elapsed since the whistleblower provided the information to the relevant entity's audit committee, chief legal officer, chief compliance officer (or their equivalents), or the whistleblower's supervisor, or since the whistleblower received the information, if the whistleblower received it under circumstances indicating that the entity's audit committee, chief legal officer, chief compliance officer (or their equivalents), or the whistleblower's supervisor was already aware of the information.
(h) Independent analysis. The phrase “independent analysis” means the whistleblower's own analysis, whether done alone or in combination with others.
(i) Information that led to successful enforcement. The Commission will consider that the whistleblower provided original information that led to the successful enforcement of a judicial or administrative action, or related action, in the following circumstances:
(1) The whistleblower gave the Commission original information that was sufficiently specific, credible, and timely to cause the Commission staff to commence an examination, open an investigation, reopen an investigation that the Commission had closed, or to inquire concerning different conduct as part of a current examination or investigation, and the Commission brought a successful judicial or administrative action based in whole or in part on conduct that was the subject of the whistleblower's original information; or
(2) The whistleblower gave the Commission original information about conduct that was already under examination or investigation by the Commission, the Congress, any other authority of the federal government, a state Attorney General or securities regulatory authority, any self-regulatory organization, futures association or the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (except in cases where the whistleblower was an original source of this information as defined in paragraph (i) of this section), and the whistleblower's submission significantly contributed to the success of the action.
(3) The whistleblower reported original information through an entity's internal whistleblower, legal, or compliance procedures for reporting allegations of possible violations of law before or at the same time the whistleblower reported them to the Commission; the entity later provided the whistleblower's information to the Commission, or provided results of an audit or investigation initiated in whole or in part in response to information the whistleblower reported to the entity; and the information the entity provided to the Commission satisfies either paragraph (i)(1) or (i)(2) of this section. Under this paragraph (i)(3), the whistleblower must also submit the same information to the Commission in accordance with the procedures set forth in § 165.3 within 120 days of providing it to the entity.
(j) Monetary sanctions. The phrase “monetary sanctions,” when used with respect to any judicial or administrative action, or related action, means -
(1) Any monies, including penalties, disgorgement, restitution, and interest ordered to be paid; and
(2) Any monies deposited into a disgorgement fund or other fund pursuant to section 308(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (15 U.S.C. 7246(b)) as a result of such action or any settlement of such action.
(k) Original information. The phrase “original information” means information that -
(1) Is derived from the independent knowledge or independent analysis of a whistleblower;
(2) Is not already known to the Commission from any other source, unless the whistleblower is the original source of the information;
(3) Is not exclusively derived from an allegation made in a judicial or administrative hearing, in a governmental report, hearing, audit, or investigation, or from the news media, unless the whistleblower is a source of the information; and
(4) Is submitted to the Commission for the first time after July 21, 2010 (the date of enactment of the Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act of 2010).
(5) Original information shall not lose its status as original information solely because the whistleblower submitted such information prior to October 24, 2011, provided such information was submitted after July 21, 2010, the date of enactment of the Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act of 2010. In order to be eligible for an award, a whistleblower who submits original information to the Commission after July 21, 2010, but prior to October 24, 2011, must comply with the procedure set forth in § 165.3(d).
(l) Original source. The whistleblower must satisfy the whistleblower's status as the original source of information to the Commission's satisfaction.
(1) Information obtained from another source. The Commission will consider the whistleblower to be an “original source” of the same information that the Commission obtains from another source if the information the whistleblower provide satisfies the definition of original information and the other source obtained the information from the whistleblower or the whistleblower's representative.
(i) In order to be considered an original source of information that the Commission receives from Congress, any other federal, state or local authority, or any self-regulatory organization, the whistleblower must have voluntarily given such authorities the information within the meaning of this part. In determining whether the whistleblower is the original source of information, the Commission may seek assistance and confirmation from one of the other entities or authorities described above.
(ii) In the event that the whistleblower claims to be the original source of information that an authority or another entity, other than as set forth in paragraph (l)(1)(i) of this section, provided to the Commission, the Commission may seek assistance and confirmation from such authority or other entity.
(2) Information first provided to another authority or person. If the whistleblower provides information to Congress, any other federal or state authority, a registered entity, a registered futures association, a self-regulatory organization, or to any of any of the persons described in paragraphs (g)(4) and (5) of this section, and the whistleblower, within 120 days, make a submission to the Commission pursuant to § 165.3, as the whistleblower must do in order for the whistleblower to be eligible to be considered for an award, then, for purposes of evaluating the whistleblower's claim to an award under § 165.7, the Commission will consider that the whistleblower provided original information as of the date of the whistleblower's original disclosure, report, or submission to one of these other authorities or persons. The whistleblower must establish the whistleblower's status as the original source of such information, as well as the effective date of any prior disclosure, report, or submission, to the Commission's satisfaction. The Commission may seek assistance and confirmation from the other authority or person in making this determination.
(3) Information already known by the Commission. If the Commission already knows some information about a matter from other sources at the time the whistleblower makes the whistleblower's submission, and the whistleblower is not an original source of that information, as described above, the Commission will consider the whistleblower an “original source” of any information the whistleblower separately provides that is original information that materially adds to the information that the Commission already possesses.
(m) Related action. The phrase “related action,” when used with respect to any judicial or administrative action brought by the Commission under the Commodity Exchange Act, means any judicial or administrative action brought by an entity listed in § 165.11(a) that is based upon the original information voluntarily submitted by a whistleblower to the Commission pursuant to § 165.3 that led to the successful resolution of the Commission action.
(n) Successful resolution. The phrase “successful resolution,” when used with respect to any judicial or administrative action brought by the Commission under the Commodity Exchange Act, includes any settlement of such action or final judgment in favor of the Commission. It shall also have the same meaning as “successful enforcement.”
(o) Voluntary submission or voluntarily submitted.
(1) The phrase “voluntary submission” or “voluntarily submitted” within the context of submission of original information to the Commission under this part, shall mean the provision of information made prior to any request from the Commission, Congress, any other federal or state authority, the Department of Justice, a registered entity, a registered futures association, or a self-regulatory organization to the whistleblower or anyone representing the whistleblower (such as an attorney) about a matter to which the information in the whistleblower's submission is relevant. If the Commission or any of these other authorities makes a request, inquiry, or demand to the whistleblower or the whistleblower's representative first, the whistleblower's submission will not be considered voluntary, and the whistleblower will not be eligible for an award, even if the whistleblower's response is not compelled by subpoena or other applicable law. For purposes of this paragraph, the whistleblower will be considered to have received a request, inquiry or demand if documents or information from the whistleblower is within the scope of a request, inquiry, or demand that the whistleblower's employer receives, unless, after receiving the documents or information from the whistleblower, the whistleblower's employer fails to provide the whistleblower's documents or information to the requesting authority in a timely manner.
(2) In addition, the whistleblower's submission will not be considered voluntary if the whistleblower is under a pre-existing legal or contractual duty to report the violations that are the subject of the whistleblower's original information to the Commission, Congress, any other federal or state authority, the Department of Justice, a registered entity, a registered futures association, or a self-regulatory organization, or a duty that arises out of a judicial or administrative order.
(1) The term “whistleblower” or “whistleblowers” means any individual, or two (2) or more individuals acting jointly, who provides information relating to a potential violation of the Commodity Exchange Act to the Commission, in the manner established by § 165.3. A company or another entity is not eligible to be a whistleblower.
(2) Prohibition against retaliation. The anti-retaliation protections under Section 23(h) of the Commodity Exchange Act apply whether or not the whistleblower satisfies the requirements, procedures and conditions to qualify for an award. For purposes of the anti-retaliation protections afforded by Section 23(h)(1)(A)(i) of the Commodity Exchange Act, the whistleblower is a whistleblower if:
(i) The whistleblower possess a reasonable belief that the information the whistleblower is providing relates to a possible violation of the CEA, or the rules or regulations thereunder, that has occurred, is ongoing, or is about to occur; and
(ii) The whistleblower provides that information in a manner described in § 165.3.