Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Troy Downing has come out in favor of  House Bill 64, the Whistleblower Protection Act.

Downing explained the concept of the bill that would primarily target financial and securities fraud.

“Most industry believes that bad actors are bad for business, and so all the good actors, they want to make sure the bad actors are being held accountable,” said Commissioner Downing. “So what the Uniform Whistleblower Act does, is it creates a reward for people to turn in bad actors.”

Downing said a whistleblower can actually benefit financially from turning in a bad actor.

“If you turn in a bad actor in the security space, so say you're working for a company, or know of something happening in your company that is defrauding or misleading or doing something wrong, which is harming consumers, then this is a way that you can turn them in, anonymously,” he said.

Downing said the proposed law will help to clean up the securities industry in Montana.

“It allows us to pursue bad actors that we may not have found out about or at all or maybe not in a timely manner,” he said. “And if we do prosecute and they're found guilty, the whistleblower first of all will participate in part of the fines imposed upon that bad actor, so there’s a monetary award there.”

Downing  said the bill will also protect the whistleblower from retaliation by the company they work for.

“Secondly, it prevents retaliation from the employer so the employer can't retaliate against an employee who basically turns them in for bad acts,:” he said.  “I’m excited about this legislation because it helps us do our job of protecting consumers. That money comes into the state in the form of those fines and sanctions, and second of all, it protects anybody who us coming forward and turning in a bad actor for performing bad actions.”

Downing said the legislation provides his office with the authority to award a whistleblower from 10 to 30 percent of the resulting fines.

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