During a question-and-answer session following his opening remarks at the Federal Bar Association Qui Tam Conference earlier this year, Senator Chuck Grassley said that the government needed to “come down with a sledgehammer, not a toothpick” against fraud. Senator Grassley, a co-sponsor of the 1986 Amendments to the federal False Claims Act (FCA or the Act) and a longtime proponent of the Act and its qui tam provision, also weighed in on some timely and controversial aspects of FCA litigation, including the ability of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to dismiss qui tam complaints and how post-Escobar courts have construed the Act’s materiality standard. Senator Grassley also observed that times of national crisis are often accompanied by increased fraud, noting that he hoped that a recently announced FCA settlement related to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was “a sign of things to come.”
Senator Grassley’s comments underscore that the Biden DOJ has inherited a wide range of civil anti-fraud enforcement priorities arising from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, including enforcement under the FCA.
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