Statement of Chairman Patrick Leahy Business Meeting Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act

The antitrust laws play a key role in promoting competition and protecting consumers.  Criminal violations of these laws, which include offenses like price fixing, have a particularly negative effect on consumers.  Proper enforcement of the antitrust laws ensures a free and fair marketplace where companies compete and consumers benefit.  The bipartisan Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act will aid in the enforcement of these laws by protecting those who blow the whistle on criminal antitrust violations.

I have worked with Senator Grassley for many years to ensure that those who blow the whistle on wasteful or criminal conduct are protected from retaliation.  This bill is a continuation of that partnership.  The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act provides employees who report criminal violations of the antitrust laws with narrow but important protection from retaliation by their employer.  It does not provide any economic incentive for employees to come forward with information, but protects them from harmful action when they do.

The protections in this bill were recommended by the Government Accountability Office in a 2011 report.  The language is based on whistleblower protections that Senator Grassley and I authored as part of the Sarbanes Oxley Act.  These are commonsense protections that allow employees to file an action with the Department of Labor in the event that they are retaliated against for reporting criminal violations of the antitrust laws.  Rather than offering a reward to incentivize reporting, this bill simply offers a remedy to make employees whole in the event they are fired or discriminated against for blowing the whistle on criminal conduct.

This is a narrow but important bill that will help to improve enforcement of the antitrust laws.  The substitute amendment that we are offering this morning makes modest changes to improve the definition of a covered individual and further clarifies that protections only apply to employees reporting criminal violations.  I hope that all Senators will support this legislation.

I call up amendment OLL13576 and ask that it be adopted. 

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