The Right to Bring a Qui Tam Action Can be Revoked by Amendment — Even if You’re Already Half Way Through Your Lawsuit

Let’s say I offer $100 to anyone who finds my lost dog. Let’s say you’ve already started looking for that dog, at night in the freezing cold, because you want that $100. Let’s say you’ve found the dog and are on your way back to my apartment. But, then I change my mind — I don’t want the dog and I don’t want to give you money. Can I say too bad?

What if it wasn’t me who was offering the money, but Congress?  Continue reading

How the New Whistleblower Law Might Help the Administration Keep a Lid on Leaks

The Obama administration has been notoriously hostile towards leaks, and has been accused of doing “more than any modern executive to wage war on whistleblowers.” Why, then, would the administration go out of its way to not only sign the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act in December, but also to write a Presidential Policy Directive explicitly creating protections for whistleblowers in the intelligence community?

The answer likely lies in understanding the 2006 Supreme Court decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos. That decision carved out a peculiar exception to the First Amendment for certain public employees, essentially giving them an incentive to go public with any concerns about corruption or abuse, rather than complaining internally, up the chain of command. For an administration intent on preventing public leaks, this incentive structure is entirely backward.
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