Although Department of Justice (DOJ) recoveries under the False Claims Act (FCA) reached historic lows in FY2020, President Biden’s administration is poised to usher in a return to aggressive FCA enforcement.
Under President Obama, DOJ’s FCA recoveries hit all-time peaks, totaling over $5 billion in 2012, $6.1 billion in 2014, and $4.9 billion in 2016. From there, they trended consistently downward throughout the Trump Administration, averaging under $3 billion annually. Given the Biden Administration’s focus on tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and stimulating the economy, we anticipate that DOJ’s scrutiny of alleged fraud in government programs will be as probing as ever.
In the 1980s, then-Senator Biden supported the seminal 1986 amendments to the FCA, emphasizing in his Senate remarks that enforcement should enjoy bipartisan support: “Fraud against the Government is not a matter that ought to be used for political advantage. . . . It is not a matter that divides Democrats from Republicans.”
More recently, as Vice President under President Obama, Biden famously oversaw the 2009 Recovery Act in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and touted the lower-than-average rate of fraud investigations into the stimulus spending. In 2011, he also led the Government Accountability and Transparency Board to advance efforts to detect and remediate fraud, waste, and abuse in federal programs as part of the “Campaign to Cut Waste.” When announcing this campaign, he underscored his commitment “to changing the way government works and . . . stepping up the hunt for misspent dollars.”