Senator Chuck Grassley today gave a 15-minute floor speech defending the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act and he said that recent court decisions are weakening “the most effective tool to combat government fraud” by “piling on bogus restrictions that are not the law.” Sen. Grassley pointed out that since 1986 the False Claims Act, which was originally enacted under Abraham Lincoln, has enabled the federal government to collect over $56 billion from unscrupulous contractors that have defrauded taxpayers. Last year alone, the government collected $3.7 billion of which $3.4 billion was the direct result of False Claims Act cases filed by whistleblowers.
Grassley stated that some False Claims Act defendants are “tying in knots” the lower courts following a Supreme Court ruling last year in Universal Health Services v. U.S. ex rel. Escobar and said defendants and lower courts are misconstruing Justice Thomas’ holding that false claims must be material to the government’s decision to pay. Grassley said that these judicial developments are disturbing because they are elevating materiality to a new government knowledge defense that Congress abolished in 1986.
“Why should the taxpayer pay the price for bureaucrats fail who fail to expose fraud against the government? That’s why the False Claims Act exists, to protect taxpayers by rewarding whistleblowers for exposing fraud,” Grassley said.
You can read Senator Grassley’s floor statement here and see the video at CSPAN here, starting at 1:24:00.