Last month, we posted here our letter to the U.S. Department of Justice calling on them to exercise their power under the False Claims Act (FCA) to hold oil companies accountable for misleading the government and the American people about their ability to clean up oil spills. Today we received an answer. Assistant Attorney General Tony West has written to us to say, "that the Department of Justice is dedicated to recovering any losses it sustains as a result of the oil spill, and is considering all avenues for redress against the potentially responsible parties." Mr. West's letter goes on to express the Department's appreciation of the False Claims Act and the role whistleblowers play in helping the government recover funds fraudulently obtained:
The Deparment appreciates the important contributions of relators in assisting the United States to recover taxpayer funds under the False Claims Act's qui tam provisions. This public-private partnership has proved a successful tool for the recovery of public funds and for rewarding relators who bring allegations of fraud to the government. Indeed, since January 2009, more than $3.6 bilion was obtained under the Act's qui tam provisions, and relators were awarded more than $497 million for their efforts in helping the government pursue these recoveries.