House Passes Antitrust Whistleblower Protections Authored by Grassley, Leahy

WASHINGTON (Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020) — The U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday passed legislation by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) granting protections to whistleblowers who shine a light on violations of antitrust laws. The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act, which unanimously passed the Senate last year, must now be signed by the President to become law.

“Competition is essential for a thriving, affordable and innovative marketplace. When our antitrust laws are violated, consumers are often left paying the price. The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act encourages and shields from reprisal private sector employees to shine a light on activities that violate our antitrust laws. This bipartisan bill is an important step to safeguarding fair marketplaces as well as the whistleblowers who support them. It’s earned broad support in both chambers of Congress, and I urge President Trump to sign it into law without delay,” Grassley said.

“Our country has a proud history of protecting whistleblowers who expose wrongdoing, beginning when the Continental Congress unanimously passed the first whistleblower law 242 years ago. Today, Congress honors that longstanding tradition by unanimously passing the bipartisan Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act that I co-authored with Senator Grassley. In an era where dominant corporations aggressively seek to expand their profits and quash competitors, our laws should protect whistleblowers who take significant risks to report criminal antitrust violations like price fixing that undermine free and fair competition. That’s exactly what our legislation would do. I urge President Trump to sign this commonsense, bipartisan bill into law without delay,” Leahy said.

The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act extends whistleblower protections for employees who provide information to the Department of Justice related to criminal antitrust violations. The Senate unanimously passed a similar version of the legislation in 2013, 2015 and 2017.

The Grassley-Leahy bill is based on recommendations from a Government Accountability Office report released in July 2011. The bill allows an employee who believes he or she is the victim of retaliation to file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor, and provides for that employee to be reinstated to their former status if the Secretary finds in their favor. Grassley and Leahy authored similar whistleblower statutes as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002.

Additional original cosponsors of this bill include Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Text of the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act is available here.

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