Iowa False Claims Act

Tony Munter summarizes the Iowa False Claims Act below and compares it to Federal law. He is not licensed in the jurisdiction of Iowa.

Although the Iowa False Claims Act is of relatively recent vintage compared to other states, having been enacted in 2010, it is also one of the stronger false claims laws in the country. The Act, located in Iowa Code §685.1, is similar to the Federal Law because it offers comparable rewards and the right to sue for virtually any claim if the State of Iowa’s money is at stake. It is a true qui tam statute, meaning that the law allows individuals to file cases as whistleblowers and maintain those cases in court with the support of the government or without the support (if the government declines to intervene).

False Claims Act Limitations

The only limitation on the face of the Iowa False Claims Act is that the statute is defined to include only the State of Iowa. False claims to political subdivisions, such as the city of Des Moines, cannot alone provide the basis for a suit under this law unless the money can be traced back to the State of Iowa.

Also, the law has a provision that mirrors the federal law in one unusual respect. Under the Federal Law, military personnel cannot sue for actions arising out of their military service, and in Iowa, members of the Iowa National Guard face similar restrictions.

The Federal False Claims Act was brought back to life in 1987 and has been safeguarded since, largely as the result of Iowa Senator Charles Grassley. In light of that, one almost has to wonder why it took so long for the State of Iowa to adopt this legislation. The Federal False Claims Act has returned billions of dollars to the United States Treasury, so one would think that Sen. Grassley’s leadership on the issue would have been noted in Iowa before 2010.  In any event, the law is currently on the books and can be used by whistleblowers to report fraud and obtain a reward if they are successful.

Iowa False Claims and Federal Law

Iowa’s False Claims Act also works with the federal law on medical claims. However, there do not appear to be a lot of cases strictly from Iowa. The State Attorney General posted a press release involving the first action his office took under the law in 2013, a case involved alleged money laundering and medical claims.

Hopefully, the Attorney General’s aggressive action in this case—which was not generated by a whistleblower—will provide support for individuals who want to file claims under the federal or state law as well. We will continue to keep track of the Attorney General’s website as we hope to see more successful cases filed in Iowa under both the Federal and the Iowa False Claims Acts.