William Barr called False Claims Act an “abomination”

Published on December 11, 2018

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Attorney General Nominee Strongly Opposed to Whistleblowers

December 11, 2018. Washington, DC.  In a public transcript given as part of the Presidential Oral History of the George H.W. Bush Presidency, President Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, William Barr, ferociously attacked America’s most successful whistleblower law, the False Claims ActBarr stated, on the record, that he “wanted to attack” the False Claims Act, and specifically called the law’s highly successful qui tam whistleblower provision “an abomination.” In a transcript of his April 5, 2001 interview with the Bush presidency’s oral history project, the content of which Barr personally approved, Barr stated:

Yes, there were significant disagreements sometimes between the SG’s [Solicitor General] office and my office on a position. One of the big ones was the qui tam statute, which is basically a bounty hunter statute that lets private citizens sue in the name of the United States and get a bounty. I felt then, and feel now, that is an abomination and a violation of the appointments clause under the due powers of the President as well as the standing issue of the Supreme Court. So I wanted to attack the qui tam statute, and the SG’s office wanted to defend it. That was a big dispute.”

Upon learning this information, Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, released the following statement:

“Mr. Barr’s comments demonstrate a deep rooted contempt for whistleblowers.  His radical anti-whistleblower statements are disqualifying for any nominee for the position of U.S. Attorney General.

“The National Whistleblower Center is a non-partisan organization and does not take positions on Presidential nominations. However, given the extreme animus and hostility exhibited by this nominee, the NWC is compelled to make an exception to this rule. Based on his comments William Barr should not be confirmed.

“His hostility towards whistleblowers and his ignorance as to the effectiveness of the False Claims Act is especially shocking for a person who held the position of U.S. Attorney General.

“The legal position he advocated was unanimously repudiated by the U.S. Supreme Court in a decision written by former Justice Antonin Scalia.

“In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln signed the original whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act into law.  President Lincoln understood that the United States is ruled by a government ‘of the people, by the people and for the people.’  Mr. Barr is not fit to be the Attorney General.”

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