Senators propose antitrust whistleblower protections

Effects of program may be limited absent a financial incentive

Martin McNulty was a top salesman in the packaged-ice industry. In late 2004, McNulty alleges, he learned that his employer, Arctic Glacier International Inc., had an agreement with competitors not to compete for certain customers, allowing them to keep their prices up. McNulty alleges that when he refused to participate in the scheme, the company fired him. Later, he says, Arctic Glacier offered him more than twice his previous salary to return to work, participate in the conspiracy and not cooperate with authorities. McNulty refused and went on to aid in an FBI investigation. In 2010, Arctic Glacier and three of its executives pleaded guilty to violating the Sherman Act. The company agreed to pay a $9 million criminal fine.

But after 14 years as a packaged-ice salesman, McNulty says he was blackballed from the industry. Unable to find work, he lost his home.

False Claims Model

Gordon Schnell, a Constantine Cannon partner who represents companies before the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission in antitrust matters, agrees that the bill will have “nominal, if any,” effectiveness in encouraging whistleblowers to step forward.

Associate Editor

Melissa Maleske

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