THE PENNY PLEDGE
The Penny Pledge Program
The growing strength of incentivized whistleblower programs has not been a miracle – it is the direct outcome of investments of time, energy, money and legal brilliance that have come from the False Claims Act bar and a handful of forward-thinking philanthropist whistleblowers who have made the work of TAF possible. Now we need to build the next great era of American fraud fighting by growing and organizing the IRS, SEC, and CFTC whistleblower programs.
We are asking attorneys, whistleblowers and supporters alike to “paying it forward” by pledging to commit a penny for every dollar collected to help strengthen and protect whistleblower programs into the future.
How does the Penny Pledge Program work?
A law firm, lawyer, or whistleblower pledges to donate to the TAF Education Fund a penny for every dollar collected as a result of an FCA whistleblower case, or else they pledge a specific, significant and sustained financial contribution to help strengthen and protect whistleblower programs into the future.
Are the contributions deductible?
Yes. The TAF Education Fund is a charitable organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All contributions are tax deductible.
On what base is the Penny Pledge calculated?
For law firms and lawyers, the percentage is calculated on the statutory attorney’s fees plus the law firm or lawyer’s share of the relator’s award as collected. It is not calculated as a percent of the full relator’s award. For whistleblowers, the percentage is calculated on the relator’s award as collected, but not on that part that goes as a contingency fee to counsel. To be noted for pledging a specific, significant and sustained gift, please contact the TAF Education Fund.
Is the pledge a contract?
It is not. TAF does not consider pledges to participate in the program as contracts, and will not take any legal action to enforce the pledges.
Is there a fee-splitting issue involved with a pledge?
No. As noted, there is no contractual agreement, the pledge does not apply to designated cases, and there is no issue regarding loss of control by practitioners of their cases or impairment of their ability to exercise their professional judgment. Of course, each pledging firm or lawyer should be comfortable that it is in compliance with the governing rules of conduct.
Should a pledging firm or lawyer inform False Claims Act clients about its pledge?
We leave that to the judgment of each law firm and lawyer. That said, we think every FCA attorney should plan for success, and that part of that planning should be considered “paying it forward” to those who are yet to come.