St. Louis attorney David Wasinger and his whistle-blowing client, Keith Edwards, must have been pleased last week when the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York reached a $614 million settlement with JPMorgan Chase.
Under the terms of the federal False Claims Act, Edwards’ qui tam complaint against JPMorgan Chase netted him roughly 10 percent of the settlement.
Edwards had accused JPMorgan Chase of filing false certifications with three federal agencies, leading all three to issue government insurance on and provide refinancing for thousands of ineligible loans.
Justice seems to have been done, and yet we’re plagued by doubts about the true intent and effect of the False Claims Act.
For instance, why is the federal government involved in enterprises for which it has no constitutional warrant? Wouldn’t it be less subject to fraud if it didn’t do things it was never meant to do?
Also, if it’s a good idea to have a law protecting government from the predations of private businesses, why not have a law protecting private businesses from the predations of government – something far more common and more costly to society as a whole? Bear in mind that the federal government has “encouraged” financial institutions to make risky loans since at least the early 1990s.
Another thing: why the obscene monetary incentives for whistle-blowers? Sure, we want to protect them from reprisals, compensate them for costs associated with coming forward, and praise them publicly for their integrity, but multimillion-dollar awards for doing what’s right?
Last, what is the deeper purpose of this organized effort to encourage whistle-blowing? Did you know that the DC-based National Whistleblowers Center is associated with the Zinn Education Project, which “promotes and supports the use of Howard Zinn’s best-selling book, A People’s History of the United States.”
We admire whistle-blowers willing to risk all in pursuit of justice. Those using Alinskyite tactics to undermine our free market and weaken our republic, we abhor.