COLUMBIA, SC--(Marketwired - April 07, 2017) - Bert Louthian of the Louthian Law Firm, a well-respected whistleblower legal practice in the Midlands region of South Carolina, has taken the Government Contractor Whistleblower Protections Pilot Program (GCWP pilot program) to task for their apparent failure to support those who step forward to blow the whistle under the False Claims Act (FCA).
The federal government established the GCWP pilot program under the aegis of the National Defense Authorization Act 2013 (the NDA Act). The program was intended to enlarge the rights of whistleblowers who work as contractors, subcontractors, and as other workers against those who would commit reprisal actions. But during the time period of 2013 to 2015, according to the General Accounting Office (GAO), not one federal agency Inspector General out of 14 ruled in favor of a whistleblower.
The GAO's review of the GCWP pilot program found a number of areas needing improvement. For one, the program required the findings of any investigated reprisals to be forwarded to certain entities. However, in two out of four departments that were reviewed, Inspectors General either did not send along their findings to the proper entities or they did not send them in the right format. Reports indicate that the IGs were unclear as to what they should do to satisfy the requirement.
In South Carolina, defense contracting for the federal government is a booming business, amounting to nearly $39 billion in contracts for the state from 2000 to 2015. Greenville County, at nearly $15.8 billion, took the lion's share of contracts, followed by Berkeley County ($7 billion), Charleston County ($5.8 billion), and Richland County ($3.3 billion), which is attorney Louthian's county. These four counties made up nearly $32 billion of the state's $39 billion in defense contracts from 2000 to 2015. Thus, the state's defense industry could include a lot of potential whistleblowers.
Louthian concluded, "Whistleblowers are critical to safeguarding our system from fraud, waste, and abuse; the government simply does not have enough people to follow up on every tip. That's where whistleblowers come into the picture. Those who work in industries such as defense contracting play an important role in keeping honest those who would fraudulently take taxpayer money. When a whistleblower is willing to come forward to bring a suit, we all win. Similarly, when potential whistleblowers are silent out of fear of reprisals, we all lose. Claims of retaliation must be taken seriously by all sectors involved."
About the Louthian Law Firm P.A.
Founded by Herb Louthian in 1959, the Louthian Law Firm is family-owned and family-focused. Offering eight decades of combined legal expertise in all facets of personal injury law, the Columbia firm represents South Carolinians who have been hurt in personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and False Claims Act whistleblower cases in the defense contractor industry. For more information, call 1-803-454-1200.
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