fighting girl

Posted on April 4, 2014 by Ruth O’Brien

Qui Tam reminds me of Tae Kwan Do. The name is Latin, not Korean, and it’s pronounced Kwee Tahm, not to be confused with quinoa (kinwah), which is from an indigenous South American language.  So practice your K’s and know your Latin, but what you really need to know is obviously what Edward R. Snowden figured out long ago — Qui Tam is like Tae Kwan Do in that an individual can use it to take a stronger individual (in this case a corporation) down.

Now, everyone got upset about Citizens United.  I got a couple of calls after that case because my first book, Workers’ Paradox, examined the outlandish but truly American idea that corporations are persons, and of course being persons — American persons — they have all the rights of all persons — civil rights and civil liberties (e.g. freedom of speech; freedom to assemble; freedom of expression).

Nowhere are these supposed personhood rights more apparent than in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission.

But don’t despair; do a “Snowden.”  And by that I mean since the passage of the False Claims Act in 1986 — the depths of the Ronald Reagan administration —  Americans have had the right, the duty, and the payoff (individual incentive) to practice Qui Tam litigation to enforce American laws.

How?  By providing information.  Information, after all, is the key that unlocks any corporation.  Information, after all, is the key that unlocks any democracy. The absence of information, after all, amounts to a blackout.  Where I come from (the West), the absence of information gets resolved — and they’re all called Sunshine Laws.

Oh, and in case President Barack Obama forgot to tell you — he had Congress put a few whistles into his signatory laws — Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection Act.  So start listening and watching.