ACLU in Court Tuesday in Challenge to Secrecy Provisions of Contractor Fraud Law

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Rebecca Glenberg, ACLU of Virginia, (804) 644-8080
Rachel Myers, ACLU National, (212) 549-2689 or 2666; media@aclu.org

ACLU in Court Tuesday in Challenge to Secrecy Provisions of Contractor Fraud Law

False Claims Act Gag Orders Hide Iraq War Costs And Public Safety Information

RICHMOND, Va. - Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia will be in federal appeals court Tuesday to present oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging the overreaching secrecy provisions of a federal whistleblower law that prevent the public from learning about serious allegations of fraud against the United States government.

Complaints filed under the False Claims Act are automatically placed under seal and those who file them are gagged from speaking, keeping the complaints secret from the public for months and, in some cases, years. Such complaints include allegations of military contractor fraud during the Iraq War and warnings of ongoing threats to public health and safety.

The ACLU and the ACLU of Virginia filed the lawsuit in January 2009 on behalf of themselves, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) and OMB Watch. The government filed a motion to dismiss and the district court granted that motion in August 2009. The ACLU is appealing the dismissal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

WHAT:
Arguments in ACLU v. Mukasey, the ACLU's challenge to the secrecy provisions of the False Claims Act

WHO:
Chris Hansen will argue on behalf of the ACLU, ACLU of Virginia, GAP and OMB Watch. Other attorneys on the case are Ben Wizner of the ACLU and Rebecca Glenberg of the ACLU of Virginia.

WHEN:
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
9:30 a.m. EDT

WHERE:
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
1100 East Main Street
Richmond, VA

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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