Senator Charles Grassley Proposes Amendments to the False Claims Act

By Attorney Tony Munter

There’s a lot going on in Whistleblower world right now, what with the Facebook Whistleblower and the Pandora report, but if you want to know what Whistleblower law is all about and you want to have fun while you learn, check out Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Whistleblowers) on YouTube.

The Senator speaks as forcefully as anyone can about his proposed amendments to the False Claims Act. It takes little reading between the lines to figure out he is not pleased at all that these amendments have not already been adopted. Grassley provides some background as to just how big a deal it was to get this law passed in the first place, and he is in no mood to see anything that might weaken the law.

Grassley is introducing reforms to make the law’s materiality requirement comport with the original intent of Congress, which is to say almost his original intent as he introduced the modern version of the law.

Much as those of us who work in this field appreciate the Senator’s steadfast support of the law, he gets one thing wrong in his statement. He says, “when we’re trying to correct some misinterpretation by the court, it should be a noncontroversial thing based on the fact that this legislation works…”

He cites the $67 Billion of money taken back from fraudulent actors as the success of the law, but of course that is exactly what creates the controversy, and the Senator knows it.

The bill is controversial with certain interest groups because it is successful. If it did not work to collect billions from fraudsters, who would notice?

That is really why the Senator wants to protect this law. Of course it isn’t controversial to be for fighting fraud in general or in principle. It’s just that fraudsters find ways to pick at the law as much as they can and make that controversial, because they may have to pay.

You get a flavor for this when Senator Grassley recounts the difficulty of fighting off Defense Contractors who objected to this law way back when he first introduced his modern version of in the 1980s. So he knows it is non-controversial as long as it is out in public and he’s doing his best to make the fight for his amendments as public as possible.

You may not like Senator Grassley or you may really like him, but he has fought for this law since he has been in the Senate, and he’s been in the Senate a long time. He knows the False Claims Act works to protect the public from fraud, and he wants to make sure it continues to do so. If you are a whistleblower or a lawyer for a whistleblower, you have to hope he succeeds.