UDALL INTRODUCES BILL TO HELP "WHISTLEBLOWERS" WIN SHARE OF PENALTIES FOR CHEATING GOVERNMENT
Congressman Mark Udall (D-Eldorado Springs) has introduced legislation to respond to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision involving a claim under the False Claims Act by Mr. James Stone, who had worked at Rocky Flats, the former nuclear-weapons facility of the Department of Energy. The decision not only denied his claim--a claim regarding the potential failure of a cleanup strategy at the site called "pondcrete"--but also interpreted the Act in a way that had the effect of narrowing the definition of potential "whistleblowers." The bill would correct this narrow interpretation, amending the False Claims Act to clarify that potential "whistleblowers" can share in the recovery of any fines and penalties thanks to information they exposed, as long as they publicly disclose information they have about the alleged wrongdoing before a legal action is commenced.
"The U.S. Supreme Court essentially shut the courthouse door on people like Jim Stone--people without whom the federal government may not have discovered fraud, waste and abuse against the federal government," said Udall. "Regrettably, this bill can not help Mr. Stone as not only did he lose his legal effort to recover as a whistleblower,' he died shortly after the Supreme Court issued its decision in his case. But my legislation will help people who have the courage to speak out about wrongdoing against the federal government. We have an obligation to spend taxpayer dollars wisely, and it is imperative that we support individuals brave enough to speak out when that is not being done. There is no element of government more essential to democracy than transparency. This bill is one step we can take toward that end."