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In the United States, the concept of the citizen-initiated lawsuit to address fraud against the Government dates back to the earliest days of the Republic.

The First Continental Congress, and later the early Congresses of the United States, passed numerous statutes imposing penalties or fines that relied upon qui tam provisions for enforcement.

These enforcement actions came to be known as “Qui Tam” lawsuits, referring to the original English common law that allowed such suits to be brought “on behalf of the King as well as oneself.”

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