In Senate testimony, William Barr pledges support for qui tam whistleblower statutes
WASHINGTON, D.C – A health care watchdog group that has uncovered serious fraud and kickbacks is praising comments by Attorney General nominee William Barr in which he pledged to “diligently enforce the False Claims Act” and protect whistleblowers if he is confirmed as the next U.S. Attorney General.
During a Senate confirmation hearing, Mr. Barr fielded questions from Sen. Chuck Grassley regarding qui tam whistleblower provisions, responding that he considers the FCA to be an effective tool for protecting taxpayers from fraud and overspending. The FCA makes it a crime to knowingly claim government benefits and it allows whistleblowers to sue those who defraud the government.
Sen. Grassley noted “patriotic whistleblowers” have recovered more than $56 billion in overspending by Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration and Department of Defense, to name a few.
“Even when the department declines to participate in False Claims Act cases, the taxpayer can in many cases still recover financially,” Sen. Grassley said. “So it’s important to allow whistleblowers to pursue cases even when the department isn’t able to be involved …. I hope you’ll take into consideration my feeling about how in various suspicious ways, people that are faceless bureaucrats can undermine this effort.”
The testimony also included the following exchange:
Sen. Grassley: “In circumstances where the government doesn’t intervene in False Claims cases, if confirmed will you commit to ensuring that the department doesn’t dismiss False Claims Act cases?”
Barr: “Yes, Senator. I will enforce the law in good faith.”
The watchdog group, NHCAGroup, is actively contesting the Justice Department’s efforts to dismiss meritorious claims that allege violations of the Anti-Kickback statutes and applauds the nominee’s public commitment to preserve all such claims.
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