The Trump Administration is a little over two years old, and I’m sure you’d agree with me that it’s been a fairly quiet two years. Well, maybe not.
At the top of the Department is the Attorney General, and the Deputy Attorney General is like the chief operating officer at the Department.
My plan today is to give you some insight into the regulatory and enforcement reforms we’ve announced at the Department of Justice and why they matter.
One of the very first changes that we announced in 2017 had to do with the Attorney General’s authority to settle litigation. It is an enormous authority with great implications for the taxpayer because we are either spending the taxpayer’s funds or
As Senator Grassley and others in Congress have noted, sometimes the recipients of these funds were organizations from which Congress had cut
Second, let me turn to regulatory reform, which may be the Administration’s highest priority. The regulatory reform agenda is underway at every agency. All of us are evaluating existing rules and regulations, looking for candidates for repeal, replacement, or
At the Department of Justice, we’re also looking at improving the regulatory process overall, with the same goal in mind of reducing burdens, but also with a focus on adhering to the rule of
One of the first areas of reform we identified relates to a practice called “rulemaking by guidance.” Under our Constitution, the Legislative Branch has the lawmaking power, and the Executive Branch takes care that those laws are faithfully
But rulemaking can be cumbersome and slow. It can take many years. And not surprisingly, we have seen agencies using shortcuts. In particular, sometimes agencies have issued so-called “guidance documents”—in the form of
There’s a lot of guidance out there, too. Several years ago, before he went on the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch wrote an opinion discussing the overwhelming amount of guidance from one particular agency, the Centers for Medicaid and
It is hard to fathom how the public can keep up with these rules. One scholar refers to agency guidance documents as the 10,000 Commandments.
To be fair, guidance documents can be helpful in educating the public about statutes, regulations, and legal developments. But our view at the Department of Justice is that it is improper to try to use guidance to bind the
We took this policy one step further in January 2018, when we began instructing Department attorneys not to use our enforcement authority to convert other agencies’ sub-regulatory guidance into rules that have the force or
Again, we hope the Department of Justice regulatory reform efforts can serve as a model for other agencies. And we’ve seen evidence of that with rulemaking by guidance.
False Claims Act
Next I’ll address a new development relating to the False Claims Act, which is the statute the Department uses to
The Act fell into relative disuse over the years, but was revitalized in 1986 through amendments spearheaded by Senator Grassley.
I’ll get back to qui tam litigation in a little bit, but first let me just say how the Department uses the False Claims Act. It is one of the most important tools we have to fight healthcare fraud, grant
Our work in the False Claims Act space not only protects the taxpayer,
When a company falsely certifies the quality of military equipment, it sends our brave men and women into harm’s way with less protection. When medical providers submit false claims to Medicare, they often fail to provide adequate medical
By effectively enforcing the False Claims Act, we protect the taxpayer, we deter bad actors,
With that background, let me turn back to qui tam actions filed by whistleblowers.
One of the reasons for this partnership is that whistleblowers are often uniquely situated to bring fraudulent practices to
Qui tam filings have been on the rise for many years.
This authority to dismiss qui tam cases has been used sparingly. In the past, the Department might have dismissed one or two cases in a given year, but since 2017, the Department has moved to dismiss over two dozen cases.
Let me turn now to a Department policy discouraging a practice of “piling on.” This policy was announced by the Deputy Attorney General last summer, and it applies across the board to civil and criminal cases.
When multiple law enforcement and regulatory agencies pursue a single defendant for the same or substantially similar
The most prominent example of this policy in action was a $680 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act settlement in June with Société Générale, a global financial services institution based in
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