Whistleblowers could bring in money for Kansas — Why did lawmakers say no?
, Max Voldman
So here is a question for the powers that be in Topeka. If you could reduce the amount of fraud against the state and its municipalities, recover tens of millions of dollars a year in the process and better protect the health and welfare of all Kansans, would you do it? It seems like a no-brainer by any account. Especially these days, with Kansas — like most states and municipalities around the country — at the brink of all it can muster.
Which makes the recent demise of House Bill 2682 a real head-scratcher. This was proposed legislation that would have amended the state’s False Claims Act, originally enacted in 2009, to include a so-called “qui tam” provision. . . . This kind of whistleblower provision is in the federal False Claims Act on which the Kansas statute is modeled. . . . The government recovers billions of dollars under the statute every year, largely from actions originated by whistleblowers.
This whistleblower success story is not just at the federal level. It has been replicated in the more than 30 states that have adopted some form of qui tam provision over the past two decades. . . . Which brings us back to Kansas’ missed opportunity in failing to approve the qui tam bill (or even vote on it). . . . Whatever is keeping Kansas at bay, lawmakers should see through it and recognize what a qui tam provision could do for the state and its people. With the $1.2 billion deficit it is facing and the coronavirus still very much raging, Kansas — like every state in this great union — could use all the help it can get.
Read the full article published in Kansas City Star.