December 28, 2020

Neguse Bill to Protect Antitrust Whistleblowers Is Signed Into Law

Washington D.C.—Before Christmas, legislation introduced by Congressman Neguse which would extend whistleblower protections and ensure greater accountability for criminal antitrust violations was signed into law by President Trump. This is the 7th law Congressman Neguse has enacted during his first term in Congress. Two other measures sponsored by Congressman Neguse to make adjustments to the boundary of Rocky Mountain National Park currently await signature from the President. As Vice Chair of the Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee, Congressman Neguse has moved several critical antitrust enforcement measures through Congress. In October, Congressman Neguse’s bill to reauthorize a critical antitrust enforcement program was signed into law. Since early in the pandemic, Congressman Neguse has championed a provision to prohibit price gouging for consumers. 

The bill signed last week—the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act—is bipartisan and co-led with Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI), Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law and Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law. The bill was carried by Senator Chuck Grassley in the Senate. Specifically, the bill would extend whistleblower protections to private sector employees who report criminal antitrust violations to the federal government. 

View Congressman Neguse’s remarks on the House floor before bill passage here.

“Fundamentally, this bill is about consumer protection. It’s about protecting the public,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “Before I came to Congress, I served several years in Governor Hickenlooper’s cabinet, leading our state’s consumer protection agency—a 600 person department, civil servants from across our state working hard each and every day to protect the consuming public and the people of Colorado. The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act is another tool that can be used in the toolbox of regulators here in Washington, as we work to make consumer protection a priority, and partner with those in the private sector who wish to report abuse of an anti-competitive conduct that might be happening in the broader marketplace.” 

“No one should face retaliation for blowing the whistle on illegal anticompetitive behavior,” said Chairman Nadler. “By extending whistleblower protections to private employees, the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act will improve the enforcement of our nation’s antitrust laws and protect countless consumers nationwide from harmful activities like price and wage fixing. I commend Congressman Neguse and Senator Grassley for their work on this vital legislation.”

“I’m pleased this bill has been signed into law. Whistleblowers who suffer retaliation after they report on criminal antitrust conduct deserve a path to reinstatement,” said Congressman Cicilline. “This bill ensures employees who report wrongdoing to the federal government will have that opportunity, as well as the chance to receive compensation for any harms they suffer.”

The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act is based on recommendations from a 2011 Government Accountability Office report. Antitrust violations often result in higher prices, less innovation, and less choice. Private sector employees are integral in maintaining the integrity of our antitrust laws, without whom violations such as price and wage fixing, would go unreported.