Blumenthal to support contracting reform proposals

Drew Smith Feb. 2, 2009, 1:28pm

Richard Blumenthal (D)

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) -- Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is scheduled to submit testimony to the state Legislature today in support of two contracting reform proposals.

Blumenthal will support the state false claims act, which strengthens his authority to sue for monetary damages contractors who defraud the state, his office said Monday.

He will also support an increase from two to five years the maximum ban on state work for contractors who defraud taxpayers on transportation and public works projects.

"This measure is about money -- $1 million more in state recovery every year -- as well as deterring lawbreaking. I have urged this measure year after year since 2004 to protect against fraud victimizing state taxpayers," the Democratic attorney general said.

"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," Blumenthal added.

The false claims act has been enacted at the federal level and in 12 states. It allows individuals to sue corrupt contractors and collect 15 to 20 percent of any proceeds.

Blumenthal said the state would see an immediate revenue increase of at least $1 million because the federal government increases the Medicaid fraud recovery share from 50 percent to 60 percent for states that enact the false claims act.

The attorney general delivered testimony on the proposals to the Legislature's Government Administration and Elections Committee.

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