For Immediate Release
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Grassley, Leahy Reintroduce the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act
WASHINGTON – Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), both former chairmen of the Senate Judiciary Committee, reintroduced legislation to extend whistleblower protection for employees who provide information to the Department of Justice related to criminal antitrust violations. The bill comes as the nation prepares to celebrate National Whistleblower Appreciation Day on July 30.
The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act seeks to protect whistleblowers in criminal antitrust cases by prohibiting employers from retaliating against an employee who provides information to the Department of Justice regarding conduct that violates the criminal antitrust laws. The Senate unanimously passed a similar version of the legislation in 2013, 2015 and 2017.
“Violations of our antitrust laws hurt consumers, often in the form of less choice and higher prices. Without the help of industry whistleblowers, these sorts of violations often fly under the radar. This legislation incentivizes private sector employees to disclose criminal violations by protecting them from retaliation in the workplace after coming forward with information. It also can be a real deterrent to those who are thinking about committing fraud in the future. We’ve seen how whistleblower protections can be a real tool to helping root out waste, fraud and abuse. Just as whistleblower protections for government employees help root out waste, fraud and abuse, they can also help prevent misconduct in the private sector,” Grassley said.
“Our country has a proud history of working to protect whistleblowers, beginning when the Continental Congress unanimously passed the first whistleblower law 241 years ago next week, on July 30, 1778. Today I’m again joining with Senator Grassley to further those protections. It is common sense that our laws should protect those who take on significant personal risks to report criminal antitrust violations, such as price fixing. The Senate has unanimously passed this legislation three times, and Senator Grassley and I are hopeful that Congress this year will finally enact our bipartisan bill,” Leahy said.
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.