Management and Budget Office Remains Silent On Potential Coordination Between Congress and Federal Agencies On Pet Projects

WASHINGTON – Cause of Action filed suit Wednesday against the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) citing the OMB’s continued failure to produce documents regarding executive branch agencies’ use of administrative earmarks. Following a request under the Freedom of Information Act for documents relating to the cooperation of Congress and federal agencies on pet projects, the OMB has yet to comply with its FOIA obligations, prompting the government accountability group Cause of Action to file suit.


“By continuing to remain silent, the OMB is precluding American taxpayers from knowing the truth,” said Dan Epstein, executive director of Cause of Action. “The time for playing shell games with administrative earmarks has come to an end.”


After the House and Senate both embraced moratoriums on legislative earmarks, Cause of Action’s investigators saw an alarming potential for violations by Congress and these unchecked federal agencies. Representative Jim Moran (D-VA) has stated that lawmakers are “convincing Obama administration officials to fund their pet projects,” and confirmed that “appropriators are going to be okay because we know people in agencies.”  By circumventing the earmark ban and channeling recommendations for pet projects through federal agencies, administrative earmarks have, until now, gone unchecked.


While the Obama Administration has iterated its support of the earmark ban, with the President himself stating in the State of the Union Address that if a bill came to his desk “with earmarks inside,” he will veto it, concerns remain over this avenue of agency grants achieving the same ends as legislative earmarks.  Just last month when confronted with a report from The Heritage Foundation showing how key legislative votes coincided with spikes in federal agency grants to Democratic districts, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney claimed that, “the president’s opposition to earmarks is well known.”


“The administration cannot have it both ways,” continued Epstein.  “Either it is opposed to earmarks or it is allowing them through new means, and the public has a right to know which is true.”


About Cause of Action:

Cause of Action is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that uses public advocacy and legal reform tools to ensure greater transparency in government, protect taxpayer interests and promote economic freedom. For more information, visit


See the full complaint here: 7 March 2012 Suit against OMB re Administrative Earmarks FOIA