The Illuminators believe strongly in competition.
Our antitrust laws are the rules under which our competitive system operates. Their purpose is to preserve and promote free competition. Therefore, it is The Illuminators’ policy to comply in all respects with the antitrust laws.
The Illuminators meetings, by their very nature, bring competitors together. Accordingly, it is necessary to avoid discussions of sensitive topics and especially important to avoid recommendations with respect to sensitive subjects. Agreements to fix prices, allocate markets, engage in product boycotts, and refuse to deal with third parties are automatically illegal under the antitrust law. It does not matter what the reason for the agreement might be.
Accordingly, at Illuminator meetings the discussion of prices (including elements of prices such as allowance and credit terms), and the quality rating of suppliers selling to a particular customer, should be avoided. Also, there should be no discussion that might be interpreted as a dividing up of territories.
An antitrust violation does not require proof of a formal agreement. A discussion of a sensitive topic, such as prices, followed by parallel action by those involved or present at the discussion is enough to show a price-fixing conspiracy. As a result, those attending The Illuminators meeting should remember the importance of avoiding not only unlawful activities but even the appearance of unlawful activity.
As a practical matter, violations of these rules can have serious consequences for a company and its employees. The Sherman Act is a criminal statute. Violations are felonies punishable by penalties of up to $1 million for corporations and by imprisonment of up to three years or penalties of up to $100,000, or both, for individuals. The Justice Department, State Attorney General, and any person or company injured by a violation of the antitrust laws may bring an action for three times the amount of damages, plus attorney’s fees.
Antitrust investigations and litigations are lengthy, complex, and disruptive. Therefore, all companies and their employees must not only comply with the antitrust laws in fact but must conduct themselves in a manner that avoids even the slightest suspicion that the law is being violated.