Phillips & Cohen attorney Sean McKessy commented on the SEC’s recently-announced proposed rule changes in an article published in the Wall Street Journal. The SEC announced its intent to amend rules governing whistleblower bounties, seeking the ability to reduce award payouts to whistleblowers:
How the SEC will determine what payouts are appropriate isn’t clear, said Sean McKessy, who headed the SEC whistleblower program from February 2011 through July 2016. “How do you measure someone risking their career?”
In addition, he said, proposed guidance requiring that for a bounty to be paid, a whistleblower’s “independent analysis” must provide insight “beyond what would be reasonably apparent to the commission from publicly available information.” That language, he said, would give the commission greater scope to reject payouts, making it riskier for a whistleblower to come forward.
“This is, in my mind, really explosively dangerous,” he said. Mr. McKessy now represents whistleblowers at the law firm Phillips & Cohen.