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Grassley co-sponsors bill to provide whistleblower protection in criminal antitrust cases

Chuck Grassley Weekly Address 5From Press Release

 

Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Committee chair U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and ranking member Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced legislation to extend whistleblower protection for employees who provide information to the Department of Justice related to criminal antitrust violations.

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 last Congress.  The legislation 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.

“Legislation like this provides protection from retaliation for private sector employees who are willing to come forward with information about criminal antitrust violations.  It also can be a real deterrent to those who are thinking about committing fraud in the future,” Grassley said.  “We’ve seen how whistleblower protections can be a real incentive to helping root out waste, fraud and abuse.  This can be another tool in the toolbox to stop individuals who are looking at criminal antitrust activities.”

“Whistleblowers are often instrumental in alerting the public, Congress, and law enforcement agencies to wrongdoing in a variety of areas.  These individuals take risks in stepping forward and deserve to be protected from retaliation,” Leahy said.  “Congress should encourage employees with information about criminal antitrust activity to report this information.  The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act does exactly that by offering meaningful protection to those who blow the whistle on illegal behavior such as price fixing. I hope Congress will finally enact this legislation this year.”