National Whistleblower Center Urges Senate Judiciary Committee Support False Claims Act Amendments

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NWC Urges Senate Judiciary Committee Support False Claims Act Amendments

WASHINGTON, D.C. | October 20, 2021 — National Whistleblower Center (NWC) sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee today ahead of the Committee’s scheduled October 21st hearing regarding Senator Chuck Grassley’s Manager’s Amendment for the False Claims Act Amendments of 2021 (S.2428). The letter offers strong support for this amendment and urges the Committee’s support.

In the letter, NWC states that Senator Grassley’s Manager’s Amendment is critically needed due to harmful interpretations by lower courts of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United Health Services v. United States ex rel. Escobar in which some courts decided that if the government continues its payment on a contract, the government waives its right to allege fraud. This interpretation is a clear rebuke of the intent of the False Claims Act and opens the door for collusion and fraud in procurement and contracting.

The letter provides an example of the harm that this interpretation can cause: Aaron Westrick blew the whistle on defective bullet proof vests, which the government continued paying for during investigation into the allegation. Under this interpretation, the U.S. government would never have recovered the damages from the defective vests.

Siri Nelson, NWC Executive Director, said, “We ask the Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee, in the strongest terms, to support Senator Grassley’s Manager’s Amendment to the False Claims Amendments Act of 2021. These critical whistleblower protections strengthen and protect the False Claims Act and will improve upon the Act’s years of success protecting taxpayers and recovering billions for them. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we need a strong False Claims Act that can expose wrongdoers seeking to capitalize on a crisis and bring them to justice.”

In addition, this amendment clarifies existing False Claims Act anti-retaliation provisions to apply them post-employment – a critical protection against blacklisting. The amendment also places limits on the government’s ability to dismiss whistleblower lawsuits without due process, thus protecting whistleblowers from arbitrary dismissals and providing an important check on the government’s ability to hide its own misconduct that may occur when approving fraudulent contracts.

For more information, please contact Nick Younger at nick.younger@whistleblowers.org.

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