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Expanding Protections for Antitrust Whistleblowers -- A Good Start But Not Nearly Enough

Posted  August 6, 2012

By Gordon Schnell (Published in The Hill)

The proposed antitrust whistleblower legislation introduced last week by Senators Leahy (D-Vermont) and Grassley (R-Iowa) is certainly a step in the right direction.  See Expanding Protections for Antitrust Whistleblowers — Help Is on the Way.  It would for the first time provide protections for employees reporting to the government or within their company antitrust violations in which their company is actually or potentially engaging.  Up until now, the government has largely relied on the antitrust wrongdoers themselves to self-report their criminal conduct through the government’s corporate leniency program.   The draft legislation follows the recommendations the Government Accountability Office (GAO) made in a report it released last summer.  After studying the state of criminal antitrust enforcement, the GAO concluded that bringing whistleblowers into the enforcement mix would be an important supplement to the leniency program.

The problem with the legislation is that it does not go nearly far enough in providing adequate incentives for would-be antitrust whistleblowers to step forward.  . . .

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