Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Calls On General Assembly To Enact Contracting Reforms, Including False Claims Act, Longer Work Ban For Corrupt Contractors

February 2, 2009

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is submitting testimony at the General Assembly today in support of two major reform proposals to deter and stop corruption in state contracting.

One is a proposal for a state false claims act, which would bring at least $1 million more a year into state coffers. The other is to increase from two to five years the maximum ban on state work for contractors who defraud taxpayers on transportation and public works projects.

Blumenthal delivered testimony on both issues to the legislature's Government Administration and Elections Committee.

A false claims act -- already on the books at the federal level and in 12 states -- clarifies and strengthens Blumenthal's authority to sue for monetary damages contractors who defraud the state. It also allows individuals to sue corrupt contractors and collect for themselves 15 to 20 percent of any proceeds.

"This measure is about money -- $1 million more in state recovery every year -- as well as deterring lawbreaking," Blumenthal said. "I have urged this measure year after year since 2004 to protect against fraud victimizing state taxpayers. My office has sought successfully to recover state losses in fraud cases, but current law fails to provide truly effective civil remedies to deter fraudulent activity. Under the whistleblower law, there is no provision for the recovery of damages or civil penalties. We need to toughen our laws enabling recovery of money obtained illegally and other harm done by corrupt contractors."

Connecticut would see an immediate revenue increase of at least $1 million because the federal government hikes from 50 to 60 percent the Medicaid fraud recovery shares of states that enact false claims acts, Blumenthal said. A false claims act will likely bring in far more money because it empowers his office to seek monetary damages and encourages private individuals to sue enabling state recovery of misspent funds, he added.