All eyes in the False Claims Act whistleblower world are on William Barr.
And for good reason. Barr is now the highest legal authority in the U.S. Department of Justice, and he is hardly a blank slate when it comes to his expressed views concerning the federal government’s criminal whistleblower program.
Those stated views over many years, in a nutshell: not impressed.
In fact, the AG – who also held that post under President George H.W. Bush – is a compendium of anti-whistleblower quotes that are almost virulent in nature. Barr once called whistleblower legislation and personal fraud recoveries for whistleblowers an “abomination.” He unsuccessfully led a charge to find whistleblower law unconstitutional 30 years ago. And he is on record stating that whistleblowers are “interested only in money, not in the faithful execution of the laws.”
That worries whistleblower advocates, who point to protracted program success that has spotlighted wide-ranging government fraud and secured huge taxpayer recoveries. Reportedly, FCA qui tam whistleblowers have played a direct role in helping federal officials claw back nearly $60 billion from fraudulent actors since 1986.
Whistleblowers say that such statistics spell a string of documented successes so impressive that Barr should be forced to rethink his stated views, if in fact he still holds them. They argue that any erosion in the program would likely deter individuals with valuable information from coming forward and increase opportunities for wrongdoing.
“I expect Barr now will understand that the actual legal experience with the law is very different than what he predicted in 1989,” says one prominent whistleblower supporter.