Deputy Attorney General designate Jeffrey A. Rosen’s Answers to the Senate Judiciary Committee
With all of the “stuff” going on in the political and legal world, thank goodness that we here at VaQuiTamLaw.com focus only on the federal False Claims Act and Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act. Along those lines, Deputy Attorney General designate Jeffrey A. Rosen prepared written answers to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s questions this month in advance of his testimony. You can read the Deputy AG Rosen answers to all of the questions here.
Specifically concerning the federal False Claims Act, Rosen responded to questions from Sen. Grassley as follows:
Specific Answers to Sen. Grassley’s Questions:
- Whistleblowers are critical to exposing government waste, fraud and abuse. They are our eyes and ears on the ground, and their courage to come forward and expose government malfeasance benefits us all. Will you commit to protecting whistleblowers from retaliation, and to promoting a culture that values their important contributions?
RESPONSE: I strongly support federal laws that protect whistleblowers, and I am committed to upholding the letter and spirit of those laws. Whistleblowers perform an important service for the public and the Department of Justice when they truthfully report evidence of wrongdoing. Such individuals should not be subjected to reprisal.
- In 1986, President Reagan signed into law some very important amendments to the False Claims Act. Since those 1986 amendments, the government has recovered more than $59 billion in taxpayer money. Most of that is because of whistleblowers who found the fraud and brought the cases at their own risk.
6.If confirmed, will you vigorously support and enforce the False Claims Act?
RESPONSE: The False Claims Act is a critically important tool used by the government to detect fraud and recover money. If confirmed, I will diligently enforce the False Claims Act.
7. If confirmed, will you continue current staff and funding levels to properly support and prosecute False Claims Act cases?
RESPONSE: Because I am not currently at the Department, I have not had the opportunity to evaluate the proper level of staff, funding, and support for False Claims Act cases. If confirmed, I will consult with the relevant Department personnel about these issues to ensure that the False Claims Act is diligently enforced.
8. A new guidance document developed by the Justice Department last year, known as the “Granston memo,” provides a long list of reasons that the Department can use to dismiss False Claims Act cases. Some of them are pretty vague, such as “preserving government resources.” Of course the government can dismiss obviously meritless cases. But even when the Justice Department declines to participate in a False Claims Act case, the taxpayer can and in many cases still does recover financially. So it’s important to let whistleblowers pursue cases even when the Justice Department isn’t able to be involved.
9.Under what circumstances can, or should, the Justice Department move to dismiss a False Claims Act case?
RESPONSE: The False Claims Act is a critically important tool used by the government to detect fraud and recover money. If confirmed, I will support the Department’s diligent enforcement of the False Claims Act. In certain cases, it may be appropriate for the Department to move to dismiss a False Claims Act case. This may true, for example, when the Department determines a case is meritless or when there is no evidence to support the allegations in the case. Any decision to dismiss a case should made only after thorough review of the case file and consultation with the litigating attorneys.
- In circumstances where the government does not intervene in a False Claims Act case, if confirmed, will you commit to ensuring that the Justice Department does not unnecessarily dismiss False Claims Act cases?
RESPONSE: Please see my response to Question 6(a) above.
Generally speaking, I think the FCA has become so ingrained in our jurisprudence and in our form of government that real damage to the statute (for example, the repeal of the FCA) would be unthinkable; moreover, I think that even drastic changes to enforcement of the FCA would be unthinkable…but we have to stay vigilant!