The Chamber’s Proposal to Make it Harder to Prove Fraud Was Refuted Years Ago by the Reagan Administration

The Chamber of Commerce has commenced a well-financed and aggressive lobbying campaign to undermine America’s most effective whistleblower law, the False Claims Act. To justify its anti-whistleblower campaign the Chamber published a report entitled, “Fixing the False Claims Act: the Case For Compliance-Focused Reforms.” The purpose of this blog series is to combat the Chamber’s misinformation, and explain why the False Claims Act must be protected.

Fact Number 20:

The Chamber urges Congress to make it far harder to prove fraud in government contracting. The Chamber proposes to jettison the traditional requirement that the government should prove fraud by a “preponderance of evidence,” and instead wants to force the government to prove fraud by “clear and convincing” evidence. 

What the Chamber failed to mention is that this issue was hotly debated in 1986, and the Chamber’s allies lost that debate. It was officials of the Reagan Administration who clarified this argument and insured that the government would not be handicapped when trying to stop fraud against the taxpayer.

President Reagan’s Associate Deputy Attorney General testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that, “because the False Claims Act is basically a civil, remedial statute, the traditional ‘preponderance of evidence’ standard of proof is appropriate.”

The U.S. Supreme Court fully supported the Reagan Administration’s position.39 It is the same standard of proof used in other fraud cases.

Whistleblowers and their supporters are strongly urged to read this blog series and share it with friends. In addition, an Action Alert has been issued by the National Whistleblower Center so members of the public inform their representatives that the False Claims Act should not be “reformed” as proposed by the Chamber.

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