The reward offered to private sector whistleblowers by the False Claims Act has been instrumental in helping taxpayers to recover billions of dollars. Government whistleblowers who take the same risks should be eligible for the same rewards.
This article by TELG managing principal R. Scott Oswald and David L. Scher was published by Government Executive on November 17, 2014. The full article is available at Government Executive.
Government Whistleblowers Deserve Payouts Too
The Justice Department’s increasing reliance on the False Claims Act to rein in fraud by government contractors demonstrates just how valuable a tool it has become. The government recouped $3.8 billion in settlements and judgments in 2013 alone. The effectiveness of the law and the fraud afoot in the federal contracting industry requires incentivizing individuals to come forward and provide information to the government.
The traditional qui tam suit under the False Claims Act involves the employee of a private company uncovering fraud by his employer against the government. The employee files a lawsuit on behalf of the government seeking to recoup the fraudulently obtained funds. The employee, also called the relator, is then entitled to a share of the government’s recovery. Qui tam provisions serve as the carrot, incentivizing workers to disclose acts of fraud by their company.
The same should apply if the relator is a government employee.