May 20, 2022
Grassley, Longtime Champion of the False Claims Act, Urges Supreme Court to Uphold Original Congressional Intent of the Law
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Judiciary Committee and author of legislation that strengthened the False Claims Act (FCA), is urging the Supreme Court to uphold Congress’s original intent of the law – which is designed to root out fraud and abuse in federal government programs. Recently, several circuit court decisions have weakened the law and made it more difficult to hold those who have committed fraud accountable, including those who knowingly defrauded the American public.
“If the False Claims Act is weakened, taxpayers are ultimately the ones who pay the price. That’s why I’m strongly advocating for the Supreme Court to uphold the government’s most useful and effective fraud-fighting tool – a tool that has helped save taxpayers $70 billion since I pushed to strengthen it. I’ll continue working to root out fraud, waste and abuse by protecting and strengthening the False Claims Act,” Grassley said.
Grassley’s amicus brief specifically discusses the case United States ex rel. Schutte v. SuperValu Inc. decision, which he argues badly distorted the original intent of the FCA by ignoring statute and the Supreme Court’s precedents. Grassley urges the Supreme Court to reverse this decision as it incorrectly restricts the FCA.
"SuperValu’s radical departure from the statute continues a lamentable tradition of some courts interpreting the FCA in an unduly restrictive fashion, which Congress and this Court repeatedly have stepped in to correct. The Court should grant certiorari to repair this tear in the FCA. If it is not set right, it will not be long before the centerpiece of the government’s anti-fraud arsenal becomes unusable,” Grassley warns in the brief.
Earlier this year, Grassley announced that the FCA was responsible for $5.6 billion in fraud recoveries in 2021 alone. Since it was modernized and strengthened by Grassley in 1986, the FCA has now been responsible for more than $70 billion in recoveries.
Last July, Grassley led a bipartisan group of senators in introducing the False Claims Amendments Act of 2021 to further beef up the government’s most potent tool to fight fraud. He also introduced the Administrative False Claims Act to update the law governing smaller, and potentially more frequent, instances of fraud committed against the government. Both of Grassley’s proposals passed the Judiciary Committee last November and now await a vote in the full Senate.
The FCA allows the government to recover taxpayer dollars from entities that defrauded federal agencies. A key provision from Grassley’s update, known as qui tam, allows whistleblowers to bring lawsuits against alleged fraudsters on behalf of the government and share in any recoveries. The law has been so successful that Congress has created similar programs that incentivize whistleblowers who shine a light on fraud by allowing them to share in the recoveries at other agencies, such as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Full text of the amicus brief is available HERE.
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