02.06.17

Chairmen Roberts, Grassley Seek Assurances After CFTC IT Whistleblower Investigation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee today sent a letter to Acting Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Christopher Giancarlo, requesting a formal briefing of CFTC’s efforts to address the systemic weaknesses of internal data security policies and procedures, as well as efforts to eliminate whistleblower reprisal.

The letter comes after the release of a CFTC Office of Inspector General’s report detailing “CFTC personnel engaging in inappropriate network activity, abuses of network privileges in violation of CFTC policies, retaliatory acts against a CFTC contractor, and a pervasive lack of candor and integrity by senior CFTC personnel,” the Chairmen write.

“The OIG report, incorporating the efforts of CFTC’s Incident Response Team (IRT) and the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General, paints a troubling picture of CFTC personnel violating agency policies, abusing administrative privileges, repelling industry ‘best practices’ concerning information system security, and falling short of established standards and guidelines. The documents make clear senior personnel shirked protocols relating to CFTC’s data systems and provided misleading statements – doing measurable damage to the basic principles of integrity. All such abuses culminated in retaliatory actions against a contractor, performing as a whistleblower, who was only trying to do the right thing by raising improper network activity through the proper channels.”

The Chairmen request information on the following:

  • how CFTC is addressing the security of its information networks;
  • its treatment of all policies, procedures and protocols concerning information, data, and technology, including whether they are being amended and/or created to address the shortcomings; and
  • whether CFTC is administering tutorials and trainings to CFTC staff and its contractors to bolster agency integrity; and how CFTC is addressing the issue of whistleblower reprisal to ensure it does not occur in the future.

The letter also asks the CFTC to “remind all incoming employees and managers that retaliation against whistleblowers will not be tolerated.” It notes that whistleblower rights and disclosures are protected under law. 

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Press Contact

Meghan Cline (Roberts): 202-224-2035

Jill Gerber (Grassley): 202-224-6522