Why Are False Claims Cases Important?
Let’s look at the big picture of False Claims Act law and qui tam actions. These cases do more than just attempt to recover money for the government valuable as that may be. They can also improve the business climate and the way we work. The cases work to deter the kind of business that infects our society and weakens our position.
U.S. business must compete throughout the world now, and win.
Fraud short circuits the good, the true industriousness of capitalism. It gives a short term advantage to those companies that do not innovate or strive to improve. Fraud against the government gives that unfair advantage to bad companies at our expense.
We want businesses to hustle, to innovate and to create whole new industries. We accept that those who get into business should be rewarded for their success. Those who do business with the government on a legitimate basis have nothing to fear from False Claims litigation. These kinds of cases are not even about whether or not somebody did the best job they could. It is about preventing people from creating business based on fraud, making money based on lying to the government.
If researchers get grants based on fraud why would anyone else bother to actually do the study?
If companies can get a major contract to provide services by lying about what they are providing, it makes it that much harder for the legitimate business that wants to provide real services.
The people committing fraud, if it is not prosecuted, may push out the honorable business we really need to thrive as a society. Worse, those who commit fraud against the government are often involved in creating public safety problems. The more they are willing to commit fraud as a business model the less providing real products or services matter to these companies. If it is easier to make money by cheating and ignoring safety issues, well sooner or later companies will do that unless they can be stopped.
Whistleblowers using the False Claims Act are the ones who can prevent this kind of erosion of our dynamic innovative business climate. Those who oppose the False Claims Act because they think it is bad for business are looking only at the short term gain, a quarterly profit as opposed to a lifelong successful industry. In the long term, we have to have companies that can succeed by producing as opposed to companies that only survive by defrauding their own government.
The law was enacted to fight fraud committed against the Union Army back in 1863. The fact that the nation was under attack, that people were dying on the battlefield did not prevent the unscrupulous from attempting to make a fast buck at the government’s expense then or now. Whistleblowers then and now are our best chance to prevent this kind of activity and improve the way we do business as a whole. They deserve a reward for their attempts to prevent the fraud that not only cheats the government but also erodes our society.