The Modern False Claims Act Was Born 35 Years Ago Today

By Jeb White of Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund


Thirty five years ago, on October 27, 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed the False Claims Amendments Act into law. These amendments breathed new life into the Civil War-era law, turning it into the federal government’s most effective fraud-fighting tool by empowering whistleblowers to combat abuse of taxpayer dollars.


Thanks to the False Claims Amendments Act, the Department of Justice has recovered nearly $70 billion in stolen government funds, and whistleblowers have now initiate nearly 80 percent of False Claims Act recoveries.


But the deterrence value of these programs is worth billions more. In our first episode of Fraud in America, we interviewed former Ambassador John Philips, who was one of the key architects of the 1986 False Claims Amendments Act and founder of Taxpayers Against Fraud. In the episode, he explained how TAFEF was founded to guard the Act on Capitol Hill, in the courts, and in the public. He also explained how ground-breaking False Claims Act cases have changed how the defense and medical industry operate, preventing even more fraud. This is even more true today.


Indeed, the success of using whistleblowers to combat fraud has spurred the creation of programs in additional agencies, The Securities and Exchange Commission, Internal Revenue Service, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission are three prominent examples. Collectively, these three programs have recovered more than $12 billion.


This law is working, and working well, as Congress intended when the original False Claims Amendments Act was signed into law 35 years ago. Of course, success begets attacks from the other side. But with your support, TAFEF will be here to guard the Act and other whistleblower laws for the next 35 years and beyond.

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