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Friday, October 4, 2013

Expand the Whistleblower Act and Qui Tam rewards

There is an active movement to paint whistleblowers as hackers and malcontents, bad people or even terrorists in the government right now. All that is happening at the same time as white collar crime is so rampant that much of it is either legal or so hidden that no prosecutor will ever catch the conspirators. There is a solution to this however, and it is an old one. It's to change the law to make it illegal for officials to violate the law, and reinstate and broaden the Whistleblower law. Wikipedia explains:

"The False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. §§ 3729–3733, also called the "Lincoln Law") is an American federal law that imposes liability on persons and companies (typically federal contractors) who defraud governmental programs. The law includes a "qui tam" provision that allows people who are not affiliated with the government to file actions on behalf of the government (informally called "whistleblowing"). Persons filing under the Act stand to receive a portion (usually about 15–25 percent) of any recovered damages. Claims under the law have typically involved health care, military, or other government spending programs, and dominate the list of largest pharmaceutical settlements. The government has recovered nearly $22 billion under the False Claims Act between 1987 (after the significant 1986 amendments) and 2008."

A lot of our fraud and mischief is directed by persons with power and money. They behave very similar to the defense contractors of both Lincoln's times and present times, except that our corruption is often outside of the pure acquisitions realm. If hackers had the legal power to turn in those committing crimes and file Qui Tam suits, then we would have restored one of our democratic controls that helps keep a lid on corruption. Whistleblowers need to be protected not persecuted and that involves a government whose priority is protecting the general welfare, not attacking it. This law should extend to bank fraud, securities fraud, NSA security fraud, and all frauds.

What is Qui Tam?

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