Yesterday, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice held a hearing entitled “Oversight of the False Claims Act,” in which corporate lobbyists organized by the Chamber of Commerce worked to advance their agenda to cripple the False Claims Act.
The False Claims Act is one of the most effective laws ever passed to detect fraud against the government. Since the law was amended in 1986 to protect and reward whistleblowers, it has recovered 48 billion taxpayer dollars from fraudulent contractors . Every witness at the hearing had to acknowledge that the False Claims Act is far and away the best tool the American people have to protect taxpayer funds from fraud.
The success of the False Claims Act has made it a prime target for groups like the Chamber of Commerce who represent the biggest companies in the world and want to help them avoid liability for committing fraud. Their aim at the hearing was to advance reforms to “fix” the False Claims Act. In reality, their proposed reforms would cripple the law and allow billions of tax-payer dollars to be stolen every year.
The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) reached out to its Action Alert Network and asked them to defend the False Claims Act. Thousands spoke out and the Subcommittee took notice. The NWC’s testimony was officially acknowledged on the record, the Subcommittee members vocally supported the False Claims Act.
The Chamber of Commerce was not prepared for so many to speak out. Moreover, their testimony was effectively rebutted at every turn. One of the Chamber’s favorite myths about the False Claims Act is that it encourages whistleblowers to bring meritless lawsuits against companies. We want to thank Neil Getnick of Taxpayers Against Fraud, who testified at the hearing, for dispelling this myth. He rightly acknowledged that in trying to prove this point, the Chamber had to go back 10 years to produce a witness who could testify to an example of a bad False Claims Act case. Meanwhile that very same witness admitted that his company had actually been repeatedly submitting bills for medicare reimbursement due to a “computer glitch.”
While this was the best evidence the Chamber was able to produce, Neil Getnick only needed to point to the day before the hearing for an example of when a False Claims Act whistleblower recovered 784 million dollars from fraud committed by Pfizer. That Whistleblower brought their case forward after the Justice Department declined to pursue it. If the Chamber had their way reforming the False Claims Act, that whistleblower would not have been able to pursue the case, Pfizer would never have been held accountable and the taxpayers’ money would not have been returned.
Thank you to all of the NWC’s Action Alert Network members who took action to defend the False Claims Act.