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In Washington, D.C., the current focus is on containment of the novel coronavirus, treatment of the sick, and helping individuals and businesses that have suffered financially. But as Congress has now passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, the largest stimulus effort in U.S. history, for in-house counsel charged with anticipating future legal challenges, it is worth pausing to consider what is to come once the virus is contained and the country begins to recover from the crisis. Using past precedent as a guide, we can be certain that the CARES Act will spark significant congressional investigations and oversight, which will likely play out through a number of channels.

In the wake of national disasters and crises, and the attendant deployment of federal resources, congressional oversight and investigations have followed. These investigations have typically focused on issues of waste, fraud and abuse, especially when significant dollars are involved. Given that the current $2.2 trillion stimulus package more than doubles the stimulus following the 2008 financial crisis, we can expect a robust investigative landscape that will be active for years to come. This oversight will sweep across industries and may include those receiving stimulus dollars, as well as those in the health care and related industries involved in the response to COVID-19.

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