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William Barr appears for his confirmation hearing. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

William Barr, President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, pledged Tuesday to support efforts to prosecute fraud against the government, standing down from his past criticism of a law that allows whistleblowers to reap hefty rewards for exposing false claims for federal dollars.

During a stint in the Justice Department under the George H.W. Bush administration, Barr scribed a lengthy legal memo taking aim at the False Claims Act. Describing the statute as an “abomination,” Barr wrote in 1989 that its provision allowing private citizens to sue on behalf of the government replaced the Justice Department’s prosecutorial discretion with the “mercenary motives of private bounty hunters.”

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C. Ryan Barber

C. Ryan Barber, based in Washington, covers government affairs and regulatory compliance. Contact him at [email protected]. On Twitter: @cryanbarber

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