Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has encouraged state legislators to support two separate measures to put an end to corruption in state contracting. The first is a request for a state false claims act similar to the federal act, which Blumenthal estimates would reap at least $1 million each year for the state. The second proposal would increase from two years to five years the maximum ban on awards of state contracts for companies found to have engaged in fraud on public works and transportation projects.
Twelve states and the federal government already have enacted a false claims act, which would clarify and strengthen the attorney general’s authority to sue contractors who defraud the state for monetary damages. The act would also permit individuals who become aware of corporate fraud to sue corrupt contractors on the Connecticut government’s behalf and collect for themselves fifteen to twenty percent of any proceeds.
Blumenthal has been asking Connecticut lawmakers to adopt such a measure every year since 1984. The $1 million increase in revenue Blumenthal has projected would not require the state to prosecute a single case. The income would result from the federal government’s grant to states with a false claims act of an extra ten percent share of Medicaid fraud recovery—a jump from 50 to 60 percent. According to Blumenthal, the act would likely bring in even more money because it would allow the attorney general’s office to pursue monetary damages from fraudulent state contractors in other types of cases and would encourage private individuals to blow the whistle on fraud themselves and seek state recovery of misspent funds.
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