DOJ Has the Power to Crush Price-Fixers: Column

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The four of us are known in antitrust circles for the points on which we disagree. We do agree, however, that price fixing among competitors is inadequately deterred, is often profitable despite existing fines and damages actions, and that it's time to focus more on the individuals who participate in illegal cartels. We propose that, as part of its plea agreements, the Department of Justice should insist that corporate defendants agree not to hire or rehire anyone who has been convicted of price fixing. This re-employment often occurs today. In addition, the Department should insist that corporations agree not to pay the fines of their convicted employees, either directly or indirectly, or compensate them for serving time.

No new legislation would be needed to implement these measures, and there would be no significant budgetary consequences for taxpayers. These policies are logical extensions of a long-term bipartisan agreement on the necessity of tough anti-cartel enforcement, something that both conservatives and liberals support.