Sens. Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin have introduced legislation to strengthen the False Claims Act, the government’s main weapon in combatting fraud against federal programs. Recent federal court have threatened the scope and applicability that Grassley says Congress intended.
The False Claims Act Corrections Act of 2007 has the support and cosponsorship of Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and Ranking Member Arlen Specter. Companion legislation will be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Howard Berman.
The False Claims Act, last amended in 1986, has recovered $20 billion for the U.S. Treasury that would otherwise be lost to fraud.
Among the changes the proposed legislation would make are removing the requirement that false claims be presented to a government employee; revising the “public disclosure bar” to allow dismissal on these grounds only on a motion by the Dept. of Justice; clarifying that false claims against non-U.S. Government funds under the trust and control of the U.S. Government are subject to recovery under the FCA; and resolving a split between Circuit Courts of Appeal as to when a government employee may act as a qui tam relator under the FCA.