Washington, D.C. On April 27, 2016 Congress passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act, a bill supported by the White House and for which President Obama is expected to sign shortly. The bill included a whistleblower protection amendment, offered by Senators Leahy and Grassley. Continue Reading
Yesterday, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice held a hearing entitled “Oversight of the False Claims Act,” in which corporate lobbyists organized by the Chamber of Commerce worked to advance their agenda to cripple the False Claims Act.
In a statement before the House Judiciary Committee, Senator Charles Grassley strongly opposed efforts by high-powered corporate lobbyists to undermine the False Claims Act. This Act has proven to be the most effective whistleblower law in the United States, providing protection and compensation to more whistleblowers then any other law, and triggering civil and criminal investigations. These investigations have recovered over $30 billion from the most corrupt government contractors, who try to use their influence to illegally profit from lucrative government contracts. Continue Reading
On April 22, Arkansas State Representatives Vivian Flowers, Ken Ferguson and Charles Blake made a public proclamation recognizing the Founding Father’s July 30, 1778 passage of America’s first law to protect whistleblowers from retribution.
The lawmakers said, “Whistleblowers risk their careers and reputations by reporting waste, fraud, and abuse to the proper authorities in order to promote accountability, integrity, honesty, fairness, and transparency.” They added, “The commemoration of July 30 as national Whistleblower Day recognizes the first law protecting whistleblowers and it recognizes the importance of whistleblowers to our nation’s transparency and accountability.” Continue Reading
Today, the National Whistleblower Center rallied support from its network of supporters across the country to defend the False Claims Act from proposals made before the House Judiciary Committee to cripple the law’s protections for whistleblowers. The False Claims Act is considered the most effective tool to prevent fraud on government contractors and protect taxpayer dollars. Over 42 billion dollars has been recovered from government contract fraud through False Claims Act whistleblower cases since 1986.
On Wednesday, April 20, the Senate Finance Committee approved provisions put forward by Sen. Chuck Grassley to fix IRS whistleblower treatment and improve taxpayer rights.
“The IRS needs to put out the welcome mat for tax fraud whistleblowers, not treat them like skunks at a picnic,” Grassley said. Continue Reading
On April 19th I visited the Supreme Court to listen to oral arguments in Universal Health Services v. U.S. ex rel. Escobar, arising under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act. However, I was shocked at what I heard.
The hospital that was sued in this case actually asked the Justices to believe that: (1) it is not fraud for a hospital to bill Medicaid or other government insurance programs for a doctor’s services when it knows that a doctor did not perform any services; and (2) that companies and hospitals that are government contractors should be permitted “to pick and choose which regulations they comply with.” Continue Reading
In a press conference scheduled for Friday, April 22, 2016 at the Clinton Presidential Library, Arkansas State Representatives Vivian Flowers and Ken Ferguson will announce their support for a state law recognizing National Whistleblower Day. Arkansas would be the first state to recognize America’s first whistleblower law (passed in 1778 during the Revolution). For the past three years the U.S. Senate has unanimously approved a similar resolution.
The National Whistleblower Center’s Executive Director, Stephen M. Kohn, will be speaking at the press conference scheduled for 9:00 a.m. Later in the day he will give the keynote address at the National Whistleblower Day luncheon ceremony.
On April 18, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration published a final rule establishing procedures for handling retaliation complaints under the Food Safety Modernization Act. The final rule explains the burdens of proof, remedies and statute of limitations similar to other whistleblower protection statutes that OSHA administers. Continue Reading
Ruling in Universal Health Services v. U.S. ex rel. Escobar will have major impact in government contract fraud cases.
Washington, D.C. April 19, 2016. The U.S. Supreme Court heard Oral Argument today in a landmark whistleblower case, Universal Health Services v. U.S. ex rel. Escobar, arising under the False Claims Act. The Escobar case will determine how specific government contracts must be to hold fraudsters accountable.
At issue is whether a contractor violates the False Claims Act when it submits a claim for payment to the government by implying that it complied with all material terms of a contract or regulation when, in fact, it did not. In this case, the defendant submitted claims for payment to Medicaid to compensate doctors even though no licensed doctors provided any services.