WASHINGTON, D.C. | July 30, 2020 — The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) firmly supports the proposed amendments to the False Claims Act (FCA) announced by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) during his keynote address at the National Whistleblower Appreciation Day 2020 celebration. Given the massive surge of federal funding to provide relief to individuals and businesses amidst the COVID-19 crisis, the opportunities and incentives for fraud are at an all-time high. Deterring this fraud and ensuring accountability and transparency in federal spending requires a strong False Claims Act, one of the nation’s most important whistleblower laws.
Sen. Grassley, a longtime whistleblower champion, noted that his amendments would protect the FCA by reversing two recent setbacks:
- A 2018 Department of Justice (DOJ) policy, known as the Granston memo, encouraging actions to dismiss whistleblower cases prior to any court hearing on the merits, and
- A section of the 2016 Supreme Court ruling in Universal Health Services, Inc. v. U.S. ex rel. Escobar that allows government contractors to escape liability for fraud by claiming that the government had acquiesced to the fraud and it is therefore not material.
John Kostyack, NWC Executive Director said, “With these strengthening amendments, the False Claims Act will be the most effective law for combatting government contractor fraud at a time when action against these frauds is greatly needed. We must make sure that the American people suffering from this virus do not see their tax dollars diverted by those who would use fraud to profit at their expense.”
“Fixing the False Claims Act is a vital reform needed to protect against COVID-19 frauds,” said Stephen M. Kohn, Chairman of the NWC Board of Directors, who recently co-authored a law review article addressing key FCA issues. “Congress is spending trillions of dollars responding to the coronavirus crisis, and Congress must make sure that the False Claims Act holds fraudsters accountable, and ensures that patient health and the health of the economy comes before profits of those who break the law,” Kohn added.
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