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In Congress, asking the benefit of blowing whistles in the sunshine

Congressional committees have scheduled several hearings and mark-up sessions of interest for this week. ...

Wednesday: House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises, "Legislative Proposals to Address the Negative Consequences of the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Provisions." The financial services reform bill entitles individuals who alert the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Commodities Futures Trading Commission to violations of security law to rewards -- "bounties" -- of 10 percent to 30 percent of any recovery in excess of $1 million.

Wednesday: Sometimes you can strain too hard for a Lewis Carroll reference. The Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, has scheduled a hearing entitled "The AT&T/T-Mobile Merger: Is Humpty Dumpty Being Put Back Together Again?" for Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 10:15 a.m. in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The top CEOs of the involved companies and competitors are scheduled to testify.

Thursday: Senate Judiciary Committee marks up S.623, Sunshine in Litigation Act, legislation to force open sealed consent agreements and judicial orders if there is a potential impact on public safety and health. Major industry groups operating as the ad hoc Coalition to Protect Privacy, Property, Confidentiality, and Efficiency in the Courts sent the committee a letter last week expressing sharp opposition. The letter concludes that the legislation would "undermine theprivacyand property rights of all litigants," and "also have a profoundly damaging impact on the United States civil justice system while burdening and delaying the just disposition of litigation." Earlier POL post here.

Thurday: Also on the mark-up calendar is S.350, the Environmental Crimes Enforcement Act, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and cosponsored by members of the Alarmism for Litigation Caucus including Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-CT). The CRS summary: "Environmental Crimes Enforcement Act of 2011 - Directs the United States Sentencing Commission to review and amend the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and policy statements applicable to persons convicted of offenses under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) to reflect the intent of Congress that penalties for such offenses be increased to appropriately account for the actual harm to the public and the environment from such offenses. Amends the federal criminal code to require mandatory restitution to victims of crimes under such Act."

Thursday: The same Senate Judiciary markup is scheduled to include committee votes on Virginia A. Seitz, to be an Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, and Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., to be Solicitor General of the United States. Votes were originally planned for last week, but the committee failed to pull together a quorum. See MainJustice.com, "Senate Panel Postpones Votes on Four DOJ Nominees."

Also, on Monday, the Senate is scheduled to resume consideration of the nomination of James Michael Cole, of the District of Columbia, to be Deputy Attorney General, with a cloture vote planned for 5:30 p.m.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.