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.
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
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
to further beef up the government’s most potent tool to fight
fraud. He also introduced
the Administrative False Claims
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