18 Ohio N.U. L. Rev. 35 (1991-1992)
War Stories: A History of the Qui Tam Provisions of the False Claims Act, the 1986 Amendments to the False Claims Act, and Their Application in the United States ex rel. Gravitt v. General Electric Co. Litigation

handle is hein.journals/onulr18 and id is 45 raw text is: War Stories: A History of the Qui Tam Provisions of the
False Claims Act, The 1986 Amendments to the False Claims
Act, and Their Application in the United States ex rel. Gravitt
v. General Electric Co. Litigation
JAMES B. HELMER, JR.* AND ROBERT CLARK NEFF, JR.**
There is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people
move easily and frequently fall than that of defrauding the govern-
ment.
-Benjamin Franklin
(1706-1790)
I. THE ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE FALSE CLAIMS ACT
In 1863, the United States of America was in deep trouble. Rebel
forces again threatened to move on Washington, D.C.' Although
vastly outnumbered in terms of men and materials, rebel armies had
fought the Union army to a standstill in virtually every campaign.2
The situation was so grave that Abraham Lincoln confided to several
of his colleagues that he did not believe he could win re-election for
President of the United States in the following year.3
Amidst this backdrop, the Congress of the United States was
receiving alarming reports from    the battlefield.4 These reports con-
cerned Union soldiers opening crates of muskets only to find them
filled with sawdust instead of arms.' Reports of the same horses and
mules being sold to the United States cavalry three and four times
further demonstrated a serious problem      with war profiteers.6 Not
having a Federal Bureau of Investigation [herinafter FBI], a Depart-
ment of Justice [hereinafter DOJ], a Defense Contract Audit Agency,
or virtually any other governmental investigative agency, Abraham
Lincoln turned to a solution which he knew best. As a small town
lawyer, Lincoln knew that the private bar could be an enormous ally
to the government in combating defense procurement fraud.7
*  B.A., with honors, 1975, Denison University; J.D., 1975, University of Cincinnati.
**  B.A., cum laude, 1980, Kent State University; J.D., magna cum laude, 1983,
University of Toledo. Mr. Helmer and Mr. Neff are shareholders/partners in the firm of
Helmer, Lugbill & Whitman Co., L.P.A. in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1. A terrible weariness afflicted the North. Newspapers and politicians decried the
lack of victories, the terrible cost of the war, the incompetence of Lincoln. The President
privately despaired of his chances for reelection, and began laying plans for turning over to
his successor a fatally diminished office-President of the Divided States. THOMAS A. LEwis,
THE GUNS OF CEDAR CREEK 24 (1988).
2.  Id.
3.  Id.
4. 132 CONG. REC. H6482 (daily ed. Sept. 9, 1986) (statement of Rep. Berman).
5.  Id.
6.  Id.
7.  Id.

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