NOTE: Sen. Grassley is releasing five videos, one every day this week, examining the history of oversight as a part of a summer-long initiative highlighting the importance of congressional oversight. Monday’s video can be found here.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has a career long record of advocating for government oversight to prevent wasteful spending and fraud at the cost of the taxpayer. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and co-chairman of the Whistleblower Protection Caucus, Grassley has conducted extensive oversight work of multiple government agencies, like the Department of Defense, where he has uncovered millions of misused, misallocated and wasted taxpayer dollars. In today’s oversight video, Grassley highlights the importance of President Abraham Lincoln’s False Claims Act, which empowered private citizen whistleblowers to help the government fight fraud. The video can be found here and the text can be found below
Nothing gets under the taxpayer’s skin like wasteful spending and fraud.
Wrongdoers have pursued American tax dollars from the very start.
During the Civil War, profiteers were shipping boxes of sawdust, moth-eaten blankets and sick horses to the Union Army.
President Lincoln shut them down.
Seven score and fifteen years ago, Honest Abe signed the False Claims Act into law. Lincoln’s Law empowered private citizen whistleblowers to help the government fight fraud. They could sue wrongdoers on the taxpayer’s behalf. And then keep half of the government’s recovery for their efforts.
This was a real game changer.
But in the 1940s, the Justice Department argued that it didn’t need help from whistleblowers anymore. So, Congress clamped down on these private lawsuits.
The Justice Department was dead wrong. By 1986, government fraud was sky-rocketing.
Remember the $640 toilet seats and the $7,600 coffee pots? Defense contractors were milking the U.S. Treasury like Bessie, a cash cow.
When I got wind of this rampant contractor fraud at the Pentagon, I resurrected Lincoln’s Law.
President Reagan signed my amendments into law on Oct. 27, 1986. In 2009 and 2010, I secured more protections for federal workers to help recover tax dollars lost to health care and securities fraud.
The Department of Justice refers to my amendments as the government’s number one weapon to fight fraud. In fact, more than $56 billion – and counting – have been recovered since the Grassley amendments became the law of the land.
I’ve long said that whistleblowers who help weed out fraud and corruption deserve a Rose Garden ceremony at the White House. Instead, they are too often treated like skunks at a Sunday picnic.
That’s a real shame. They aren’t creating the stench in the swamp. Whistleblowers are helping to clean it up.