New bill would pay to report fraud in Wisconsin

CREATED Aug 15, 2013

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MADISON - A bill being considered in the Wisconsin Legislature is facing some roadblocks after some agencies in Governor Walker's administration expressed concerns about the details.

The bill would create a "fraud hotline" that would allow people to call in to report "waste, fraud or mismanagement" of funds, according to the Journal Sentinel. Anyone with information on the fraud could collect up to 5 percent of what was saved.

The concern comes from the large amount of people who currently make "revenge calls" about others to the government. Many agencies have hotlines in place, but do not offer a reward.

"I guess I didn't expect the response I am hearing from these agencies," co-author, Sen. Richard Gudex said during the hearing. "I find this very troubling that we are throwing obstacles onto this (and not) grabbing onto it and seeing this as a help."

Twenty-nine other states, plus D.C., have similar laws in place, and there is also a federal False Claims Act in place, which will pay 15 to 25 percent saved as a result of a phone call.

The agencies with concerns are citing how many unknowns there are in the bill, and who would define the wrongdoing.

"We are looking at some difficulties here on administering this," Sara Buschman, assistant deputy secretary at the Department of Children and Families, told the Journal Sentinel. "We share the committee's concern about the vagueness of the word 'mismanagement.'"

The Revenue Department said they could save $34 million in two years through if this bill becomes law.