Whistleblowers Have Helped the Government Recover $50.1 Billion: How Are We Spending It?

In the thirty years from 1993 through 2022, False Claims Act cases filed by whistleblowers have returned $50.1 billion to the Treasury.[1] That’s great news, but you probably wonder: what could the Government do with that money?

In fact, $50 billion can do a lot, and there are a few things that have received bi-partisan support to spend that kind of money. We are not suggesting you agree with all of the ways the Government may use this money, but surely any of the following are better uses for $50.1 than allowing fraudsters to keep it.

Take the COVID-19 pandemic, for example. The U.S. Government funded the development of vaccines and incentivized people to get them, and researchers were quickly able to develop new mRNA vaccines because they had been studying them over approximately those same thirty years thanks to research grants from the Government according to a study published in a British Medical Journal.

If you would rather look to the future, $50 billion also could fund the portion of the Chips Act, which is intended to drive an increase in semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. through tax incentives and funding. According to USA FACTS the Act includes:

$39 Billion in tax benefits and other incentive to encourage American Companies to build new chip manufacturing plants in the U.S… The remaining $11 Billion funds programs dedicated to other parts of the supply chain such as semiconductor design, packaging and manufacturing.

USA Facts August 12, 2022

The need is clear, because as of 2021 Taiwan had a 73% market share for contract-based semiconductor production.

Another vital Government program that we could fund with the $50 billion recovered with the assistance of whistleblowers, and one that we may take for granted, is the U.S. Postal Service. In 2022, Congress passed a bipartisan bill to provide $50 billion to fund the Postal Service for the next ten years.

$50 billion can also be used to provide assistance and aid to our foreign allies.  According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the U.S. has spent $46.5 billion on security and weapons to support Ukraine in the conflict with Russia.

Closer to home $50 billion would fund the FBI for almost five years at current levels ($10.5 Billion in 2023) or the National Park Service for more than 10 at current levels ($4.4 Billion in 2023).

No matter how the Government spends taxpayer dollars, one thing is clear: the fraudsters certainly don’t deserve the money.  

Tony Munter heads the Whistleblower Reward Practice at Price Benowitz, LLP

[1] U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Fraud Statistics – Overview, https://www.justice.gov/d9/press-releases/attachments/2023/02/07/fy2022_statistics_0.pdf (last visited Sept. 20, 2023).