Qui Tam: An Abridged Look at the False Claims Act and Related Federal Statutes [Updated April 26, 2021]   [open pdf - 1MB]

From the Introduction: "Qui tam is a whistleblower concept. It is the process whereby an individual sues or prosecutes in the name of the government and shares in the proceeds of any successful litigation or settlement. Although frequently punitive, it is generally a civil proceeding. Unlike antitrust, RICO [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act], and other federal punitive-damage, private-attorney-general provisions, the individual who brings the suit in the name of the United States (called a relator) need not have been a victim of the misconduct giving rise to the litigation. The name qui tam is the shortened version of an oft-abbreviated Latin phrase which roughly translates to 'he who prosecutes for himself as well as for the King.' [...] [Q]ui tam has been authorized by legislative bodies when they consider the enforcement of some law beyond the unaided capacity or interest of authorized law enforcement officials. Best known of the contemporary members of the line is the federal False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733). From 1986 until expansion of the Act in 2009, Justice Department recoveries totaled in excess of $20 billion. Since then, the Justice Department has recovered over $40 billion, including over $3 billion in FY 2019. This is a brief discussion of the history of federal qui tam provisions; of the two existing federal qui tam statutes--the False Claims Act and an Indian protection provision--and of the constitutional questions raised by federal qui tam provisions."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R40786
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Media Type:
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