United States intervenes in whistleblower's case against Fluor, alleges company used federal funds for lobbying

by Ben Vernia | November 8th, 2012

On November 8, the Department of Justice announced that it was intervening in a qui tam, or whistleblower, case against Fluor Corp. According to DOJ’s press release:

The government has intervened in a lawsuit against Fluor Hanford Inc. and its parent company, Fluor Corporation (collectively Fluor), in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, the Justice Department announced today. Fluor Hanford, Inc. is a subsidiary of Fluor Corporation, a Texas-based corporation that provides a wide variety of services to government and private customers. The False Claims Act lawsuit was originally filed by whistleblower Loydene Rambo, a former employee of Fluor.

Between 1999 and 2008, Fluor had a prime contract with the Department of Energy (DOE) to provide a wide variety of security, maintenance and operational services at the DOE’s Hanford Nuclear Site in southeastern Washington State. As part of its contract, Fluor was responsible for managing and operating the Hazardous Materials Management and Emergency Response (HAMMER) Center, a federally-funded facility established to train Hanford site workers as well as first responders and law enforcement personnel.

The whistleblower complaint alleges that, as a condition of receiving its DOE contract, Fluor was required to certify that it would not use federal funds for lobbying activities. The complaint further alleges that between 2005 and 2008, Fluor ignored these restrictions and used DOE funding to lobby Congress and executive branch officials for more funding for HAMMER. The complaint alleges that Fluor, and two lobbying firms hired by Fluor and paid using DOE funds, Secure Horizons LLC and Congressional Strategies LLC, lobbied members of Congress and executive branch agencies to include additional funds for HAMMER in agency appropriations. The United States intervened in the lawsuit with respect to Fluor, but declined to intervene with respect to additional defendants, including Secure Horizons LLC and Congressional Strategies LLC.

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