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Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20190&cosponId=30821
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 23, 2019 11:47 AM
From: Senator Lindsey M. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: Commonwealth Fraud Prevention Act for Taxpayer Accountability
 
In 1863, Congress enacted the federal False Claims Act to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse of government funds. By encouraging private citizens to come forward as whistleblowers, the false claims act holds those filing false or fraudulent claims against the government accountable to taxpayers across the United States. Here in the Commonwealth, we should be holding those who seek to profit off the backs of hardworking taxpayers by filing false or fraudulent claims with the Commonwealth to the same standard.


This spring, I will be introducing companion legislation with Representative Grove to amend the Human Services Code by enacting the Commonwealth Fraud Prevention Act. Similar to the federal legislation, our Act will ensure accountability and protection of taxpayer dollars across the state. The Commonwealth Fraud Prevention Act will be introduced along with two additional bills that will amend the Commonwealth Attorneys Act and Title 18 to guarantee the Office of Attorney General as the powers necessary to enforce the Act.


In 2018 alone, the Justice Department recovered $2.8 billion under the federal False Claims Act. Since the enactment of the federal False Claims Act, thirty-one states have passed their own state false claims acts, including several of our bordering states. The state of Maryland passed its state false claims act in 2015. Since the enactment of the Maryland False Claims Act, the state of Maryland has recovered $81.6 million. In 2008, the state of New Jersey adopted its state false claims act. Since 2008, the state of New Jersey has recovered over $122 million for their taxpayers.


Recent history has shown that adopting false claims legislation, whether it’s at the state or federal level, exposes waste, fraud, and abuse of government funds and recovers billions of taxpayer dollars. The Commonwealth should join the ranks of the federal and state governments ensuring taxpayer accountability by enacting the Commonwealth False Claims Act.


I urge you to stand with Representative Grove and I in support of taxpayer accountability and co-sponsor this powerful piece of legislation.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my legislative director, Ardie Griffin, at 717-787-7313.