- Interesting post from former FBI GC Jim Baker (“Mr. FISA, himself“) about the rarely used presidential power to make legal determinations that are binding on the entire executive branch and whether the current president’s twittering counts
- More interesting would be this newly posted job at the DOJ — Deputy Pardon Attorney, who will “assist the President in the exercise of the executive clemency power conferred to him by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution”
- Even more interesting was that I looked in vain on Tuesday for a press release on the DOJ website about the Manafort conviction — nothing — apparently tax fraud by owners of a floral company in Pennsylvania was a much bigger deal
- Legal nerd fun — the Second Circuit, relying on legislative intent, ruled that a foreign person who does not reside in the United States cannot be liable for conspiracy under the FCPA if he is not in the category of persons covered by it
- Aaron one upped me in nerdom with this one regarding the False Claims Act — the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Supreme Court’s decision in Escobar — holding that even when a requirement is expressly designated a condition of payment, not every violation of that requirement gives rise to liability — did not overrule Ninth Circuit precedent and the question remains whether the false certification was relevant to the government’s decision to confer a benefit
- Finally, I love “experts say” articles — according to this one, “Getting defendants to ‘flip’ is key tool in going after the kingpin” — you don’t say?
Healthcare news and information site RACmonitor reported with some fanfare in early November of last year that DOJ Civil Fraud Section Director Michael Granston (a friend and former DOJ colleague) had announced at a conference on October 30 that DOJ would begin to seriously consider urging courts to dismiss meritless qui tam or whistleblower actions brought under the False Claims Act at or shortly after the government had reached its intervention decision.
On November 17, Law360 reported that DOJ, in response to RACmonitor’s reporting, had denied adopting a more aggressive stance towards seeking dismissal of qui tam actions it had determined to be lacking in merit.
Now we learn that DOJ’s denial of a policy change to Law360 back in November was not entirely accurate. Indeed, on January 10, the same Michael Granston quoted by RACmonitor issued an internal memorandum marked “Privileged and Confidential; For Internal Government Use Only” announcing a general framework for evaluating when to seek dismissal of qui tam actions, pursuant to 31 USC § 3730(c)(2)(A)—something DOJ has only sparingly done over the last 30 years since the FCA was substantially amended.