On April 3, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Administrative False Claims Act. Introduced by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the bill targets small but frequent frauds against the government and taxpayers.
“The False Claims Act has clearly been the best tool to fight fraud against the government and recover lost taxpayer dollars. Tens of billions of dollars have been returned to the federal treasury since my updates 37 years ago. Fraud of any size should not be tolerated. The Administrative False Claims Act will significantly improve the process for smaller claims,” Grassley said.
The bill raises the statutory ceiling of cases allowed to be handled administratively from $150,000 to $1 million. It also expands the number of Justice Department employees who can review these claims and allows the government to recoup costs for investigating and prosecuting these frauds.
According to whistleblower advocates, “these legislative fixes empower our nation to reach and unmask modern fraud schemes,” and “will allow the government to better reach smaller-dollar fraud claims that currently siphon government dollars with impunity.”
Grassley championed 1986 amendments which modernized the False Claims Act. Those amendments bolstered the law’s qui tam provisions which allow whistleblowers to bring suits against fraudsters on behalf of the government.
Since 1987, qui tam whistleblowers have allowed the government to recover over $70 billion from fraudsters. In January, the Department of Justice announced it recovered $2.2 billion under the False Claims Act in Fiscal Year 2022. $1.9 billion came from qui tam whistleblower cases.
In addition to the Administrative False Claims Act, Grassley has proposed amendments to the False Claims Act that would strengthen protections for whistleblowers and clarify existing law. The amendment was widely supported by whistleblower organizations and advocates. However, WNN sources discovered that the pharmaceutical lobby intervened with the amendment’s passage. The National Whistleblower Center is urging Congress to protect the False Claims Act: learn more here.