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                                                        Calendar No. 36
114th Congress      }                                  {         Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session        }                                  {         114-13

_______________________________________________________________________



 
                 MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY WHISTLEBLOWER ACT

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                 S. 304

[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


                 April 13, 2015.--Ordered to be printed
                                  ______

                         U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 

49-010                         WASHINGTON : 2015            
                 
                 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                 
                 
                 
       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                    one hundred fourteenth congress
                             first session

                   JOHN THUNE, South Dakota, Chairman
 ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi         BILL NELSON, Florida
 ROY BLUNT, Missouri                  MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
 MARCO RUBIO, Florida                 CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri
 KELLY AYOTTE, New Hampshire          AMY KLOBUCHAR , Minnesota
 TED CRUZ, Texas                      RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Connecticut
 DEB FISCHER, Nebraska                BRIAN SCHATZ, Hawaii
 JERRY MORAN, Kansas                  ED MARKEY, Massachusetts
 DAN SULLIVAN, Alaska                 CORY BOOKER, New Jersey
 RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin               TOM UDALL, New Mexico
 DEAN HELLER, Nevada                  JOE MANCHIN, West Virginia
 CORY GARDNER, Colorado               GARY PETERS, Michigan
 STEVE DAINES, Montana
                    David Schwietert, Staff Director
                   Nick Rossi, Deputy Staff Director
                    Rebecca Seidel, General Counsel
                 Kim Lipsky, Democratic Staff Director
           Christopher Day, Democratic Deputy Staff Director
                 Clint Odom, Democratic General Counsel
                 
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
                 
                 
                                                        Calendar No. 36
114th Congress      }                                  {         Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session        }                                  {         114-13

======================================================================


                 MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY WHISTLEBLOWER ACT

                                _______
                                

                 April 13, 2015.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Thune, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 304]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 304) to improve motor vehicle 
safety by encouraging the sharing of certain information, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment (in the nature of a substitute) and recommends that 
the bill (as amended) do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of S. 304, the Motor Vehicle Safety 
Whistleblower Act, is to incentivize a motor vehicle 
manufacturer, part supplier, or dealership employee or 
contractor to voluntarily provide the Secretary of 
Transportation (Secretary) information relating to any motor 
vehicle defect, noncompliance, or any violation of any 
notification or reporting requirement that is likely to cause 
unreasonable risk of death or serious physical injury. S. 304 
would authorize the Secretary to pay discretionary awards to 
whistleblowers who contribute original information that leads 
to recoveries of monetary sanctions exceeding $1 million.

                          Background and Needs

    The Department of Transportation's (DOT) National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the Federal agency 
responsible for highway traffic safety and motor vehicle safety 
standards. The Highway Safety Act of 1970 (84 Stat. 1739) 
established NHTSA as a successor to the National Highway Safety 
Bureau to carry out a congressional mandate to reduce the 
number of deaths, injuries, and economic losses resulting from 
motor vehicle crashes on the Nation's highways.\1\ While 
traffic fatalities and injuries have declined over the last few 
decades in part due to various safety features such as seat 
belts, air bags, and vehicle stability control systems, in 
2013, more than 32,000 Americans lost their lives in motor 
vehicle crashes and an additional 2.3 million people were 
injured in motor vehicle crashes.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\As established by the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety 
Act of 1966 (80 Stat. 718).
    \2\U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration, 2013 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview: DOT HS 812 
101, December 2014, at http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812101.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    According to NHTSA, more than 63.9 million vehicles were 
recalled in the United States in 2014, which is nearly three 
times the number recalled in 2013.\3\ In addition, in 2014 
NHTSA collected more than $126 million in civil penalties from 
companies, an amount exceeding the total amount collected by 
the agency in its entire 43-year history.\4\ Some high-profile 
recalls led to the record-number of recalls in 2014, including 
those related to the General Motors (GM) ignition switch defect 
and the Takata air bag defects, both of which resulted in 
numerous serious injuries and deaths. NHTSA's Office of Defects 
Investigation (ODI) is charged with collecting and analyzing 
safety-related data and identifying potential defects. In 2014, 
Congress and the public questioned ODI's effectiveness in light 
of GM's delay in reporting the ignition switch defect, as well 
as the delays in investigating the Takata air bag defects.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Christopher Jensen, ``A Record Year of Recalls: Nearly 64 
Million Vehicles,'' New York Times, February 12, 2015, at http://
www.nytimes.com/2015/02/13/business/auto-safety-recalls-set-record-of-
nearly-64-million-vehicles-in-2014.html.
    \4\U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration, ``U.S. Department of Transportation Fines Honda 
$70 Million for Failing to Comply with Laws That Safeguard the 
Public,'' press release, January 8, 2015, at http://www.nhtsa.gov/
About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/2015/DOT-fines-Honda-$70-million.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In 2012, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century 
Act (MAP-21; 126 Stat. 405) put in place whistleblower 
protections for employees of motor vehicle manufacturers, part 
suppliers, and dealerships, protecting employees from 
discrimination or being discharged for, among other things, 
providing information to the employer or to DOT relating to any 
motor vehicle defect, noncompliance, or any violation or 
alleged violation of any notification or reporting requirement 
of chapter 301 of title 49, United States Code. S. 304 is 
intended to enhance the whistleblower protections in MAP-21 by 
incentivizing employees and contractors in the automotive 
industry to provide information about defects, instances of 
noncompliance, and motor vehicle safety reporting violations as 
early as possible to help improve automobile safety.

                         Summary of Provisions

    S. 304, the Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act, as 
amended in Committee, would:
     authorize the Secretary to pay an award to one or 
more whistleblowers of not more than 30 percent in total of 
collected monetary penalties resulting from the DOT or 
Department of Justice (DOJ) administrative or judicial 
action(s) brought under chapter 301 of title 49, United States 
Code, that total more than $1 million, if original information 
from a whistleblower led to the action;
     apply to employees and contractors of motor 
vehicle manufacturers, part suppliers, and dealerships who 
voluntarily provide to the Secretary original information not 
known to the Secretary relating to any motor vehicle defect, 
noncompliance, or any violation of any notification or 
reporting requirement that is likely to cause unreasonable risk 
of death or serious physical injury;
     provide for considerations relevant to the 
determination of whether, to whom, and in what amount to 
provide an award, as well as circumstances when the Secretary 
may deny an award;
     protect the confidentiality of the whistleblowers, 
when appropriate; and
     direct the Secretary to issue regulations on the 
requirements of the Act.

                          Legislative History

    Chairman Thune originally introduced this bill in the 113th 
Congress on November 20, 2014, as S. 2949, with Senator Nelson 
as the lead cosponsor. That same day, the Committee held a 
hearing to examine the Takata air bag recalls, where the 
purpose and need for the bill were also discussed. On December 
3, 2014, the Committee held a transportation safety nominations 
hearing to examine the nomination of Dr. Mark Rosekind to be 
Administrator of NHTSA, at which Senators and Dr. Rosekind 
discussed challenges facing the agency and the record number of 
automobile recalls. Previously in 2014, the Committee's 
Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and 
Insurance, then led by Senators McCaskill and Heller, held two 
hearings to examine the GM ignition switch recalls (on April 2, 
2014, and July 17, 2014) and one hearing on general NHTSA 
oversight on September 16, 2014.
    In the 114th Congress, on January 29, 2015, Chairman Thune 
reintroduced S. 304, the Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower 
Act, which was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, 
and Transportation. The bill is cosponsored by Ranking Member 
Nelson and Senators Heller, McCaskill, Klobuchar, Ayotte, 
Moran, and Blumenthal.
    On February 26, 2015, in an open Executive Session, the 
Committee considered the bill, which was modified by a 
substitute amendment. The Committee, by voice vote, ordered S. 
304 to be reported favorably, as amended.

                            Estimated Costs

    In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

S. 304--Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act

    Summary: S. 304 would award a portion of penalties levied 
on certain companies that manufacture motor vehicles or parts 
to individuals who provide information that leads to the 
imposition of those penalties (those individuals are known as 
whistleblowers). Based on information from the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), CBO estimates that in 
any one year, the effect of enacting S. 304 would likely be 
small, but that over the 2015-2025 period, enacting S. 304 
would increase direct spending by $3 million. Because enacting 
the legislation would affect direct spending, pay-as-you-go 
procedures apply. Enacting the legislation would not affect 
revenues.
    S. 304 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: CBO estimates 
that enacting S. 304 would increase direct spending by less 
than $500,000 each year and by $3 million over the 2015-2025 
period. The costs of this legislation fall within budget 
function 400 (transportation).
    Basis of estimate: S. 304 would authorize the Secretary of 
Transportation at his discretion, to award to a whistleblower 
up to 30 percent of any civil penalty that exceeds $1 million 
and is collected from a company that manufactures motor 
vehicles or parts with serious defects or that violates certain 
safety laws. Information from NHTSA indicates that, since 2010, 
the average penalty levied for violations of vehicle safety 
laws was about $10 million. Information from whistleblowers has 
rarely been used to impose those penalties according to NHTSA.
    Based on information from NHTSA about its historical use of 
information from whistleblowers, CBO expects that over the 
2016-2025 period, one penalty will be imposed by NHTSA because 
of information provided by a whistleblower. Assuming a 
whistleblower is awarded 30 percent of an average sized penalty 
this provision would increase direct spending by $3 million 
over the 2015-2025 period. Because CBO cannot predict the 
timing for when any whistleblower awards would be made, CBO 
estimates there is a small chance that such spending would 
occur in each of the next 10 years.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go 
Act of 2010 establishes budget-reporting and enforcement 
procedures for legislation affecting direct spending or 
revenues. The net changes in outlays that are subject to those 
pay-as-you-go procedures are shown in the following table.

 CBO ESTIMATE OF PAY-AS-YOU-GO EFFECTS FOR S. 304, AS ORDERED REPORTED BY THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION ON FEBRUARY 26,
                                                                          2015
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                    By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        2015   2016   2017   2018   2019   2020   2021   2022   2023   2024   2025  2015-2020  2015-2025
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               NET INCREASE IN THE DEFICIT
 
Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Impact.......................      0      0      0      0      0      0      0      0      0      0      0         1          3
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 304 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would not affect the budgets of state, 
local, or tribal governments.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Sarah Puro; Impact on 
state, local, and tribal governments: Melissa Merrell; Impact 
on the private sector: Amy Petz.
    Estimate approved by: Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                           Regulatory Impact

    In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       number of persons covered

    S. 304, as reported, would not impose any new regulatory 
requirements on businesses. However, the bill would require the 
Secretary to promulgate rules on the requirements of the Act. 
Thus, whistleblowers who voluntarily provide information to the 
Secretary would be subject to the requirements of the Act and 
the rules in order to be eligible for an award.

                            economic impact

    Enactment of this legislation is not expected to have an 
adverse impact on the Nation's economy.

                                privacy

    S. 304 is not expected to have an adverse impact on the 
personal privacy of individuals, as whistleblowers would 
voluntarily provide information to the Secretary and provisions 
to protect a whistleblower's identity would continue to apply.

                               paperwork

    S. 304 would not measurably increase paperwork requirements 
for most private individuals or businesses.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
provisions contained in the bill, as reported, meet the 
definition of congressionally directed spending items under the 
rule.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    Section 1. Short title. 

    This section would provide that the legislation may be 
cited as the ``Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act.''

    Section 2. Motor vehicle safety whistleblower incentives 
and protections.

    This section would add a new section 30172 at the end of 
chapter 301 of title 49, United States Code, entitled 
''Whistleblower Incentives and Protections.''
    Section 30172(a) would define the terms ``covered action,'' 
``monetary sanctions,'' ``original information,'' ``part 
supplier,'' ''successful resolution,'' and ``whistleblower.'' 
Of particular importance, ``covered action'' means any 
administrative or judicial action, including any related 
administrative or judicial action, brought by the Secretary or 
the Attorney General under chapter 301 that, in the aggregate, 
results in monetary sanctions exceeding $1 million.
    In addition, ``whistleblower'' would mean any employee or 
contractor of a motor vehicle manufacturer, part supplier, or 
dealership who voluntarily provides to the Secretary original 
information relating to any motor vehicle defect, 
noncompliance, or any violation or alleged violation of any 
notification or reporting requirement of chapter 301 that is 
likely to cause unreasonable risk of death or serious physical 
injury.
    Section 30172(b) would authorize the Secretary, if the 
original information led to the successful resolution of a 
covered action, to pay an award or awards to one or more 
whistleblowers in an aggregate amount of not more than 30 
percent, in total, of collected monetary sanctions exceeding $1 
million. The section would make clear that any award would be 
paid from the monetary sanctions collected, and any monetary 
sanctions so collected would be available for such payment. The 
intent of this provision is to provide spending authority to 
allow the Secretary to pay such discretionary awards with funds 
collected from penalties resulting from a covered action for a 
violation under chapter 301.
    The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the 
authorization under this section to pay an award to a 
whistleblower of not more than 30 percent of the collected 
monetary sanctions would technically increase direct spending. 
However, the Committee also believes that such authorization 
may result in the Secretary receiving more information that 
could potentially result in additional covered actions and also 
additional financial penalties than would otherwise have been 
possible. This would ultimately provide net additonal funds to 
the Treasury in addition to promoting increased vehicle safety. 
The Committee notes, however, that the mere receipt of original 
information by the Secretary is not a presumption that the 
manufacturer, part supplier, or dealership has committed a 
violation, and this authorization is not intended to change the 
appropriateness of a penalty for a violation, as otherwise 
directed under law.
    Section 30172(c) would outline the criteria for the 
Secretary to consider in determining an award, making clear 
that the determination of whether, to whom, or in what amount 
to make an award would be in the sole discretion of the 
Secretary. In determining whether to make an award, the 
Secretary would be required to take into consideration whether 
a whistleblower reported or attempted to report the information 
internally, as appropriate under the circumstances; the 
significance of the original information to the enforcement 
action; the degree of assistance provided by the whistleblower 
or the legal representative of the whistleblower; and 
additional factors the Secretary considers relevant.
    Section 30172(c) would also direct when an award should not 
be made, including denying an award to any whistleblower who is 
convicted of a criminal action related to the covered action; 
to any whistleblower who, acting without direction from the 
manufacturer, part supplier, or dealership, or agent thereof, 
deliberately causes or substantially contributes to the alleged 
violation; to any whistleblower who submitted information to 
the Secretary that is based on facts submitted previously by 
another whistleblower; to any whistleblower who submits 
information in the incorrect form; or to any whistleblower who 
fails to report or attempt to report the information 
internally, unless the whistleblower reasonably believed such 
report would have resulted in retaliation, notwithstanding 
section 30171(a) of title 49, United States Code, or if the 
whistleblower reasonably believed the information was already 
internally reported, subject to an internal inquiry or 
investigation, or otherwise known to the manufacturer, part 
supplier, or dealership.
    The Committee intends for whistleblower(s) to report or 
attempt to report information internally, if appropriate, in 
order to ensure that safety issues are handled as quickly as 
possible and to ensure the manufacturer is notified of a 
possible problem and allow the manufacturer the opportunity to 
determine whether a safety issue exists, including whether a 
defect or instance of noncompliance exists, and issue a recall. 
However, the Committee understands that there are circumstances 
where this may not be appropriate and the provision provides 
stated exceptions.
    Section 30172(d) would provide that a whistleblower may be 
represented by counsel.
    Section 30172(e) would provide that no contract with the 
Secretary is necessary for any whistleblower to receive an 
award.
    Section 30172(f) would direct the protection of the 
confidentiality of the whistleblower. Except for outlined 
exemptions, the Secretary and any officer or employee of the 
DOT would be prohibited from disclosing any information, 
including information provided by the whistleblower, which 
could reasonably be expected to reveal the identity of the 
whistleblower, except in accordance with the Privacy Act 
provisions under section 552a of title 5 United States Code. 
This would not apply if it is required to be disclosed in 
connection with a public proceeding. Information could also be 
disclosed if the whistleblower provides written consent to the 
disclosure of the information or if the Secretary also received 
the information through other channels and has authority to 
release such information under other law. However, the 
Secretary would be required to take reasonable measures not to 
reveal the identity of the whistleblower when disclosing 
information. In addition, the information may be shared with 
the DOJ or other Federal agencies as long as the other entities 
also keep the information confidential. The section would also 
ensure that nothing limits the ability of the Attorney General 
to present such evidence to a grand jury or to share such 
evidence with potential witnesses or defendants.
    Section 30172(g) would provide that a whistleblower who 
knowingly or willfully makes any false, fictitious, or 
fraudulent statements would not be entitled to an award and 
would be subject to prosecution for making false statements 
under section 1001 of title 18, United States Code. The 
Committee stresses the importance of focusing agency resources 
on resolving safety issues and avoiding frivolous submissions, 
making it necessary to ensure that information provided to the 
Secretary is truthful.
    Section 30172(h) would direct that any determination made, 
including whether, to whom, or in what amount to make an award, 
would be at the sole discretion of the Secretary. However, any 
determination may be appealed by a whistleblower to the 
appropriate court of appeals.
    Section 30172(i) would direct the Secretary to issue 
regulations on the requirements of this section, consistent 
with this section, no later than 18 months after the date of 
enactment of this Act.
    This section of the bill would direct that original 
information submitted to the Secretary be treated as original 
information if submitted prior to the effective date of the 
regulations but after the date of enactment of this Act. In 
addition, a whistleblower may receive an award regardless of 
whether the violation occurred prior to the date of enactment 
of this Act. A whistleblower could also receive an award even 
if the Secretary has not promulgated the regulations. 
Nevertheless, since this section limits the application of the 
Act to information submitted after the date of enactment, the 
Secretary may not issue an award under this Act for information 
previously submitted or for penalties already assessed prior to 
the date of enactment.
    This section would make a conforming amendment to the table 
of contents of subchapter IV of chapter 301 of title 49, United 
States Code.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
material is printed in italic, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

                        TITLE 49. TRANSPORTATION


             SUBTITLE VI. MOTOR VEHICLE AND DRIVER PROGRAMS

                            PART A. GENERAL

                   CHAPTER 301. MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY

             SUBCHAPTER IV. ENFORCEMENT AND ADMINISTRATIVE

Sec. 30172. Whistleblower incentives and protections

  (a) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) Covered action.--The term ``covered action'' 
        means any administrative or judicial action, including 
        any related administrative or judicial action, brought 
        by the Secretary or the Attorney General under this 
        chapter that in the aggregate results in monetary 
        sanctions exceeding $1,000,000.
          (2) Monetary sanctions.--The term ``monetary 
        sanctions'' means monies, including penalties and 
        interest, ordered or agreed to be paid.
          (3) Original information.--The term ``original 
        information'' means information that--
                  (A) is derived from the independent knowledge 
                or analysis of an individual;
                  (B) is not known to the Secretary from any 
                other source, unless the individual is the 
                original source of the information; and
                  (C) is not exclusively derived from an 
                allegation made in a judicial or an 
                administrative action, in a governmental 
                report, a hearing, an audit, or an 
                investigation, or from the news media, unless 
                the individual is a source of the information.
          (4) Part supplier.--The term ``part supplier'' means 
        a manufacturer of motor vehicle equipment.
          (5) Successful resolution.--The term ``successful 
        resolution'' includes any settlement or adjudication of 
        a covered action.
          (6) Whistleblower.--The term ``whistleblower'' means 
        any employee or contractor of a motor vehicle 
        manufacturer, part supplier, or dealership who 
        voluntarily provides to the Secretary original 
        information relating to any motor vehicle defect, 
        noncompliance, or any violation or alleged violation of 
        any notification or reporting requirement of this 
        chapter which is likely to cause unreasonable risk of 
        death or serious physical injury.
  (b) Awards.--
          (1) In general.--If the original information that a 
        whistleblower provided to the Secretary led to the 
        successful resolution of a covered action, the 
        Secretary, subject to subsection (c), may pay an award 
        or awards to 1 or more whistleblowers in an aggregate 
        amount of not more than 30 percent, in total, of 
        collected monetary sanctions.
          (2) Payment of awards.--Any amount payable under 
        paragraph (1) shall be paid from the monetary sanctions 
        collected, and any monetary sanctions so collected 
        shall be available for such payment.
  (c) Determination of Awards; Denial of Awards.--
          (1) Determination of awards.--
                  (A) Discretion.--The determination of 
                whether, to whom, or in what amount to make an 
                award shall be in the discretion of the 
                Secretary.
                  (B) Criteria.--In determining an award made 
                under subsection (b), the Secretary shall take 
                into consideration--
                          (i) if appropriate, whether a 
                        whistleblower reported or attempted to 
                        report the information internally to an 
                        applicable motor vehicle manufacturer, 
                        part supplier, or dealership;
                          (ii) the significance of the original 
                        information provided by the 
                        whistleblower to the successful 
                        resolution of the covered action;
                          (iii) the degree of assistance 
                        provided by the whistleblower and any 
                        legal representative of the 
                        whistleblower in the covered action; 
                        and
                          (iv) such additional factors as the 
                        Secretary considers relevant.
          (2) Denial of awards.--No award under subsection (b) 
        shall be made--
                  (A) to any whistleblower who is convicted of 
                a criminal violation related to the covered 
                action for which the whistleblower otherwise 
                could receive an award under this section;
                  (B) to any whistleblower who, acting without 
                direction from an applicable motor vehicle 
                manufacturer, part supplier, or dealership, or 
                agent thereof, deliberately causes or 
                substantially contributes to the alleged 
                violation of a requirement of this chapter;
                  (C) to any whistleblower who submits 
                information to the Secretary that is based on 
                the facts underlying the covered action 
                submitted previously by another whistleblower;
                  (D) to any whistleblower who fails to provide 
                the original information to the Secretary in 
                such form as the Secretary may require by 
                regulation; or
                  (E) to any whistleblower who fails to report 
                or attempt to report the information internally 
                to an applicable motor vehicle manufacturer, 
                parts supplier, or dealership, unless--
                          (i) the whistleblower reasonably 
                        believed that such an internal report 
                        would have resulted in retaliation, 
                        notwithstanding section 30171(a); or
                          (ii) the whistleblower reasonably 
                        believed that the information--
                                  (I) was already internally 
                                reported;
                                  (II) was already subject to 
                                or part of an internal inquiry 
                                or investigation; or
                                  (III) was otherwise already 
                                known to the motor vehicle 
                                manufacturer, part supplier, or 
                                dealership.
  (d) Representation.--A whistleblower may be represented by 
counsel.
  (e) No Contract Necessary.--No contract with the Secretary is 
necessary for any whistleblower to receive an award under 
subsection (b).
  (f) Protection of Whistleblowers; Confidentiality.--
          (1) In general.--Notwithstanding section 30167, and 
        except as provided in paragraphs (4) and (5) of this 
        subsection, the Secretary, and any officer or employee 
        of the Department of Transportation, shall not disclose 
        any information, including information provided by a 
        whistleblower to the Secretary, which could reasonably 
        be expected to reveal the identity of a whistleblower, 
        except in accordance with the provisions of section 
        552a of title 5, unless--
                  (A) required to be disclosed to a defendant 
                or respondent in connection with a public 
                proceeding instituted by the Secretary or any 
                entity described in paragraph (5);
                  (B) the whistleblower provides prior written 
                consent for the information to be disclosed; or
                  (C) the Secretary, or other officer or 
                employee of the Department of Transportation, 
                receives the information through another 
                source, such as during an inspection or 
                investigation under section 30166, and has 
                authority under other law to release the 
                information.
          (2) Redaction.--The Secretary, and any officer or 
        employee of the Department of Transportation, shall 
        take reasonable measures to not reveal the identity of 
        the whistleblower when disclosing any information under 
        paragraph (1).
          (3) Section 552(b)(3)(B).--For purposes of section 
        552 of title 5, paragraph (1) of this subsection shall 
        be considered a statute described in subsection 
        (b)(3)(B) of that section.
          (4) Effect.--Nothing in this subsection is intended 
        to limit the ability of the Attorney General to present 
        such evidence to a grand jury or to share such evidence 
        with potential witnesses or defendants in the course of 
        an ongoing criminal investigation.
          (5) Availability to government agencies.--
                  (A) In general.--Without the loss of its 
                status as confidential in the hands of the 
                Secretary, all information referred to in 
                paragraph (1) may, in the discretion of the 
                Secretary, when determined by the Secretary to 
                be necessary or appropriate to accomplish the 
                purposes of this chapter and in accordance with 
                subparagraph (B), be made available to the 
                following:
                          (i) The Department of Justice.
                          (ii) An appropriate department or 
                        agency of the Federal Government, 
                        acting within the scope of its 
                        jurisdiction.
                  (B) Maintenance of information.--Each entity 
                described in subparagraph (A) shall maintain 
                information described in that subparagraph as 
                confidential, in accordance with the 
                requirements in paragraph (1).
  (g) Provision of False Information.--A whistleblower who 
knowingly and willfully makes any false, fictitious, or 
fraudulent statement or representation, or who makes or uses 
any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any 
false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry, shall not 
be entitled to an award under this section and shall be subject 
to prosecution under section 1001 of title 18.
  (h) Appeals.--
          (1) In general.--Any determination made under this 
        section, including whether, to whom, or in what amount 
        to make an award, shall be in the discretion of the 
        Secretary.
          (2) Appeals.--Any determination made by the Secretary 
        under this section may be appealed by a whistleblower 
        to the appropriate court of appeals of the United 
        States not later than 30 days after the determination 
        is issued by the Secretary.
          (3) Review.--The court shall review the determination 
        made by the Secretary in accordance with section 706 of 
        title 5.
  (i) Regulations.--Not later than 18 months after the date of 
enactment of the Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act, the 
Secretary shall promulgate regulations on the requirements of 
this section, consistent with this section.

                                  [all]