A long-time Senate advocate for whistleblowers and strong oversight of agencies said on Wednesday that due to the historic spending for the coronavirus pandemic, the law that targets fraud against the federal government and in federal contracting is more important now than ever.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, spoke at the Federal Bar Association’s fourth annual Qui Tam Conference. Qui tam, a provision of the “The False Claims Act,” which was originally enacted during the Civil War, allows individuals or non-government organizations to file lawsuits on behalf of the government to disclose fraud that led to financial loss for the government. They can be awarded between 15% and 30% of the proceeds collected. Grassley co-authored updates to the act in 1986 and 2009.
“As the country continues to battle the global pandemic, the False Claims Act has never been more important than it is right now,” said Grassley at the virtual event. “The massive increases in government spending to address the COVID crisis have created new opportunities for fraudsters trying to cheat the government and steal the people’s money. As history has shown all of us, fraudsters thrive during times of crises and large-scale government spending.”
He said it’s important the Justice Department, Congress and whistleblowers “remain very vigilant” due to the trillions of dollars spent in pandemic relief.
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