Senate Unanimously Passes Grassley-Leahy Bill to Protect Whistleblowers in Criminal Antitrust Cases

The U.S. Senate Wednesday night unanimously passed the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act to extend whistleblower protection for employees who provide information to the Department of Justice related to criminal antitrust violations.  Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), coauthors of the legislation, hailed the Senate’s quick action on their bipartisan measure.  Approval of the bill comes just one month after the Judiciary Committee unanimously reported it to the full Senate.  Grassley, current Judiciary Committee Chairman, and Leahy, a former chair of the panel, have worked on this legislation since a Government Accountability Office report recommended these changes in 2011.   The measure has passed the Senate the past two Congresses but was not taken up by the House.

“Whistleblowers who shed light on violations of our antitrust laws not only help to fight crime; they also help protect consumers from less choice and higher prices in the marketplace. Our bill encourages private sector employees to disclose such criminal behavior by protecting them from retaliation at work.  Whistleblowers are critical to exposing fraud, waste and abuse in government, and it’s high time we empower whistleblowers in the private sector to do the same for consumers,” Grassley said.

“I applaud the Senate for again acting to advance meaningful bipartisan legislation that will improve the detection and enforcement of antitrust laws.  I will now work with Senator Grassley to advance this commonsense legislation in the House and finally get it to the President for signature.  No one should be retaliated against for blowing the whistle on criminal activity.  If enacted, this legislation will make it harder for bad actors to get away with illegal anticompetitive behavior.  Most importantly, it will promote a free and open marketplace and will protect consumers,” Leahy said.

The bill allows employees who believe they are victims of retaliation to file complaints with the Secretary of Labor, and it provides for those employees to be reinstated to their former status if the Secretary finds in their favor.  Leahy and Grassley authored similar whistleblower statutes as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002.  A copy of the measure approved by the Senate on can be found HERE.

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