Photo from flickr / hugoelectronic
An article in the Washington Post on Wednesday reported that more than 900 whistleblower cases have built up over the past 10 years at the Justice Department. The commercial litigation branch of the department’s civil division blames the backlog on their being understaffed. Many of the cases involve the privatization of government services, government contractors supplying goods and services to the U.S. military, and Medicare and Medicaid payments to pharmaceutical companies.
The article reveals that often whistleblowers must wait 14 months or more to even find out if the department will accept their cases. Then, if it does take on a case, the department will likely take years to investigate and decide if the whistleblower’s claim has merit. Out of 24 cases involving contractors defrauding the U.S. military during wartime, the Department of Justice has awarded settlements to whistleblowers in only five of them. That’s one court settlement per year that the U.S. has been at war. The Department of Justice should be doing more to deter what Rep. Henry Waxman told the BBC is perhaps the “largest war profiteering in history.”