In 1986, Congres amended the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3729 et seq. See generally False Claims Act Amendments of 1986, Pub. L. 99-562, 100 Stat. 3153 (October 27, 1986), reprinted in, 10A USCCAN (December 1986). One of Congress's objectives in modifying the Act was to encourage the use of qui tam actions in which citizens are authorized to bring, as "Private Attorneys General," lawsuits on behalf of the United States alleging frauds upon the government. The private citizen plaintiff in such a lawsuit is often referred to as the "relator." To this end, Congress increased the amount by which a relator or "Private Attorney General" would share in any money recovered, liberalized the circumstances under which a private citizen could bring a qui tam action, and increased the relator's role in such litigation.
The relator must do the following to initiate a qui tam suit.
1. File a civil complaint under seal with the court (the defendant is not served at this time); and
2. Serve a copy of the complaint and a "written disclosure of substantially all material evidence and information" possessed by the relator on both the Attorney General and the United States Attorney (USA) pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4. or Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure."It is the manner of enforcement which gives 42 USC 1983 its unique importance, forenforcement is placed in the hands of the people. Each citizen 'acts as a private attorney general' who takes on the mantel of sovereign,' guarding for all of us the individual liberties enunciated in the constitution. Section 1983 represents a balancing feature in our governmental structure whereby individual citizens are encouraged to police those who are charged with policing us all." Frankenhauser v. Rizzo, 59 F.R.D. 339, 17 Fed. R. Serv. 2d 16 (1973)
"Congress can constitutionally enact a statute conferring on any non-official person, or a designated group of non-official persons, authority to bring a suit to prevent action by an officer in violation of his statutory powers; for then, in like manner, there is an actual controversy, and there is nothing constitutionally prohibiting congress from empowering any person, official or not, to institute a proceeding involving such a controversy, even if the sole purpose is to vindicate the public interest. Such person, so authorized, are, so to speak, private attorney general." Assoc. Indus. of New York State v. Ickes, 134 F. 2d 694 (1943)