Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, I am pleased that the Senate passed yesterday bipartisan legislation that will improve the enforcement of the antitrust laws. The bipartisan Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act extends whistleblower protections to employees who report criminal violations of the antitrust laws. These kinds of violations, which include price fixing, have a particularly pernicious impact on consumers.
This legislation represents a continuation of my partnership with Senator Grassley on whistleblower issues. Senator Grassley has long been an advocate for protecting those who blow the whistle on wasteful or criminal conduct. Our bill is modeled on whistleblower protections that he and I authored as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act does not provide employees with an economic incentive to report violations. The legislation simply makes whole employees who have been fired or discriminated against for blowing the whistle on criminal conduct.
Whistleblower protection was recommended by the Government Accountability Office, GAO, in a 2011 report to Congress. The GAO surveyed an array of stakeholders and found widespread support for the kind of basic protections contained in this legislation. The bill allows employees who have reported a criminal violation to file an action with the Department of Labor if they have been fired or otherwise discriminated against for disclosing the violation. While the remedies provided by the bill are limited, they are crucial in protecting employees from retaliation.
The antitrust laws exist to promote a free and open marketplace and serve to protect consumers. These laws can only be effective if they are vigorously enforced. The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act will aid in enforcement efforts and ensure that consumers are protected from harmful activity. I urge the House to act quickly to pass this important bill.