The U.S. Justice Department announced recently that Sandia Corporation, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, had agreed to pay $4,790,042 to resolve charges that it used federal funds for lobbying, violating the Byrd Amendment and the Federal False Claims Act (FCA). It was alleged that the federal funds Sandia used for lobbying were intended to fund the important mission held by our national laboratories to enhance national security through the military application of nuclear science. The funds, however, were allegedly used to lobby congress and other federal officials to obtain a non-competitive extension of a government contract that allowed Sandia to operate a laboratory connected with the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) nuclear weapons complex.
The Byrd Amendment prohibits the use of federal funds for lobbying, and the Federal False Claims Act gives the government a vehicle for detecting and correcting fraud. It appears that Sandia violated both:
• First, using federal funds for lobbying clearly violates the Byrd Amendment.
• Second, the government granted Sandia funds for a particular purpose, the operation of the laboratory conducting important research. If the funds were then used in another way, lobbying for more money, then Sandia committed fraud against the government.
Since January 2009, the United States has recovered more than $24.9 billion through Federal False Claims Act cases. If you are aware of fraud being committed against the federal or state governments, you could be rewarded for doing the right thing by reporting the fraud. If you have any questions about whether you qualify as a whistleblower, you can contact a lawyer at Beasley Allen for a free and confidential evaluation of your claim. There is a contact form on our firm’s website www.beasleyallen.com, or you may email one of the lawyers on our whistleblower litigation team: Andrew Brashier, Archie Grubb, Larry Golston or Lance Gould at 800-898-2034 or by email at Andrew.Brashier@beasleyallen.com, Archie.Grubb@beasleyallen.com, Larry.Golston@beasleyallen.com or Lance.Gould@beasleyallen.com.
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