On March 30, 2010, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Graham County Soil & Water Conservation District v. United States ex rel. Wilson. This case concerns the False Claims Act (FCA), which authorizes the Attorney General and private qui tam relators to recover from persons who make false or fraudulent claims to the United States. The FCA, however, bars qui tam actions based upon the public disclosure of allegations or transactions in, among other things, "a congressional, administrative, or Government Accounting Office report, hearing, audit, or investigation." The question in this case is whether this bar applies to actions based on public disclosures made in state and local reports, hearings, audits, or investigations in addition to disclosures that come from federal sources of the same kind.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Stevens, the Court held that the part of the False Claims Act at issue does encompass disclosures made in state and local sources in addition to those made in federal sources.
To discuss the case, we have the Washington Legal Foundation's Chief Counsel, Richard A. Samp. Mr. Samp signed an amicus brief that the Washington Legal Foundation submitted in support of the petitioners.