By Jacklyn DeMar of Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund
Yesterday, we debunked the myth that whistleblowers are overly compensated for their role in reporting fraud on the government. Today, we will look at another common attack on whistleblowers--that they file too many False Claims Act cases. Numbers from the federal judiciary show why those complaints are unfounded.
There is a massive amount of civil and criminal litigation initiated each year in the United States. In 2019, for instance, there were 286,289 civil cases filed in U.S. courts, which was an increase of 3 percent over the previous year. However, civil cases involving the U.S. government as a plaintiff dropped by 9 percent in that same time, with cases involving government contracts and involving the recovery of overpayments and enforcement of judgments each declining by 24 percent
Though there are often complaints there is too much qui tam litigation, the number of qui tam actions filed pursuant to the False Claims Act actually decreased in 2019 from 648 to 638. That means in 2019, less than 0.25% of civil cases filed involved False Claims Act violations.
The fact is that despite the massive government spending, $4.45 trillion in 2019, up to a whopping $6.55 trillion in 2020, due in large part to spending to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and the estimated levels of fraud on federal programs (as we mentioned in an earlier post, a conservative estimate based on a Washington Post report is around 5% or $327.5 billion in 2020 and $222.5 billion in 2019), less than 700 qui tam actions involving those funds are filed per year.
Imagine the impact whistleblowers could have if their cases made up even 1 percent of the total civil cases filed each year.