WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley today said that the federal False Claims Law has recovered an additional $3 billion to the U.S. Treasury. Grassley is the author of the 1986 qui tam amendments to the law as well as an update to the False Claims Act in 2009. According the U.S. Department of Justice, the qui tam amendments alone recovered $2.8 billion of taxpayer money. The total amount recovered through the False Claims Act since Grassley’s 1986 provisions were signed into law is now more than $30 billion.
The amendments Grassley championed 25 years ago along with Rep. Howard Berman of California strengthened the Civil War-era False Claims Act which was originally signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln. The 1986 Grassley-Berman qui tam amendments empowered whistleblowers to file suit on behalf of the United States against those who fraudulently claim federal funds, including Medicare, Medicaid, contract payments, disaster assistance and other benefits, subsidies, grants and loans.
According to the Justice Department, since the 1986 Grassley-Berman qui tam amendments were signed into law, whistleblowers have filed more than 7,800 actions under the qui tam provisions, including a peak of 638 this past year.
In 2008 Grassley introduced legislation that would further update the federal False Claims Act. Many provisions of this legislation were included in the Fraud Enforcement Recovery Act that was signed into law in 2009. The legislation overturned several court decisions that threatened to limit the scope and applicability intended by Congress in the 1986 update. Grassley said the update helps ensure that no fraud will go unpunished because of legal loopholes.
Fraudulent claims by defense contractors during the 1980s prompted Grassley’s initiative. Today the qui tam amendments also recoup billions that would otherwise be lost to health care fraud. This year alone, most of the $2.8 billion in recoveries were in the Medicare and Medicaid programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, the TRICARE program administered by Department of Defense, the Federal Employees Health Benefits program administered by the Office of Personnel Management, and Veterans Administration health programs.