In this action, anonymous whistleblower John Doe filed a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus Directed to the Securities and Exchange Commission to Compel Agency Action that has been Unreasonably Delayed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
With respect to the action in which the whistleblower submitted a tip, the SEC published a notice of recovery on January 31, 2017. According to the petition, petitioner submitted a timely claim for an award on April 27, 2017, two years ago. The petitioner has heard nothing since other than a boilerplate letter acknowledging that the SEC received his claim.
The petition discloses that contemporaneously with the noted petition, counsel for petitioner is filing a similar petition against the SEC for unreasonable delay in processing a different claim for an SEC whistleblower award on behalf of another SEC whistleblower.
This is not the first time this has happened. In 2015, a similar petition for a writ of mandamus regarding the SEC’s unreasonable delay in making a preliminary determination regarding a right to an award regarding a different enforcement matter was filed. The court ordered the SEC to respond to that petition. The SEC instead issued the preliminary determination that the petition sought, and the court dismissed the petition as moot.
According to the petition, the SEC does not disclose its delays in issuing preliminary determinations on whistleblower award claims in its Annual Reports to Congress or anywhere else. However, the petitioner believes the SEC’s recent statements and actions indicate that the agency’s delays are substantial, and that the SEC has sought with increasing vigilance to avoid disclosing the magnitude of its delays.
The petition states the SEC has obfuscated its delays by redacting information necessary to match its preliminary determinations with the corresponding Notice of Covered Action. The SEC justifies these redactions based on a purported duty to protect a whistle blower’s identity according to the petition.
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