Print Issue Volume 94 - No. 4

Note, Deterring Fraud to Increase Public Confidence: Why Congress Should Allow Government Employees to File Qui Tam Lawsuits

Contractor fraud against the government is rampant as contractors regularly inflate the cost of their services and overcharge the government for their work. The federal False Claims Act (FCA) is the government’s most successful litigation tool for combating fraud, resulting in recoveries of approximately $22 billion since 1986. Traditionally, the FCA empowers the Department of Justice and private citizens, known as qui tam relators, to bring FCA claims against contractors who knowingly submit a fraudulent claim for payment to the government. Actions by relators have been particularly successful, resulting in recoveries of almost $14 billion under the FCA since 1986.

This success has ignited debate about expanding those who can serve as relators to include government employees. Indeed, the legality of allowing government employees who obtained information of fraud during the course of their employment to serve as relators currently divides the courts. This Note argues that Congress should pass legislation to allow federal government employees to act as relators to save the government money, deter fraud, and increase trust in government. The United States is fighting two wars and holding off an economic collapse—now is the time to embrace measures that save the American taxpayer money and augment the image of the U.S. government.

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