Barr called the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act a threat to “the liberties of the American people,” Kohn writes.
“This hyperbolic fear misconstrues the meaning of “liberty.” What is liberty in a democracy? The right to defraud the government? The right of powerful special interests to use their connections and money to stop enforcement of the laws? Or is it the right of citizens to fight corruption and hold powerful individuals and corporations accountable?”
Kohn calls on the Senate Judiciary Committee members to ask whether Barr “will strongly defend the law against legal attacks and whether he will continue the longstanding practice of having the Department of Justice partner with whistleblowers in fighting fraud. He must be asked whether he still believes that empowering citizens to help detect fraud is a “threat to democracy?” Given the Justice Department’s critical role in protecting taxpayer dollars from fraud, any person who is unwilling to aggressively support whistleblowers is not qualified to hold the position of attorney general.”
Last week, a group of advocates, academics and attorneys has asked U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley to find out if Barr is still opposed the whistleblower provisions. Committee hearings on Barr’s nomination begin Tuesday, January 15.
A Reuters column quotes a source as saying Barr “will back down from that view,” at the hearing. The source notes that Barr supports the Department of Justice’s current approach to the False Claims Act.
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