Efforts to gut the federal False Claims Act backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce got a hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday. The federal push builds on previous back-door Chamber efforts through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to discourage states from pursuing fraud claims.
The False Claims Act (FCA) allows the government to recover from businesses that defraud government programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and protects whistleblowers who report suspected fraud on government contracts. According to the Department of Justice, cases brought under the FCA resulted in the recovery of $42 billion from 1987-2013, making it an important legal tool for deterring fraud and protecting public funds.
Ensuring that contractors don’t defraud the government is clearly in the public interest. Yet for a number of years, the Chamber has been targeting the FCA through its lobbying efforts and its Institute for Legal Reform, which advocates policy changes that would reduce financial penalties on many companies and make it harder for whistleblowers to report alleged misconduct.