Archives for April 2012

Federal Agency Accountability: Data Act bill Passes House

We’ve seen in the news that the House recently approved a bill that requires federal agencies and recipients of government money to report their spending online:

“The bill, known as the Data Act, would require government agencies and recipients of federal money to use standardized methods to report their spending. The measure would also establish a Federal Accountability and Spending Transparency Board to collect and post all the information on a single website.”

Given Cause of Action’s work with FOIA requests that demand government transparency, we’re curious to see what happens with the bill. In the meantime, we will continue our efforts to expose federal spending through numerous FOIA requests and investigations.

For example,  CoA filed FOIA requests with 32 government agency offices that sought investigation into how each agency used tax dollars to purchase commemorative items for its employees.  If money is being spent on trinkets that hold no worth for taxpayers, we want to find out. CoA investigated how grant money was possibly being used by state health organizations to lobby officials.  This is an illegal use of tax-payer dollars to sway votes and pass legislation, so we asked the DOJ to investigate.

Cause of Action is staying on top of the transparency issues.  Check back soon to see what else we’ve found.

WhistleWatch: Cause of Action Not for Profit Advocate Seeks Information on Whistleblower Retaliation From Federal Agencies

The WhistleWatch Blog: Cause of Action Not for Profit Advocate Seeks Information on Whistleblower Retaliation From Federal Agencies

22:20, April 23, 2012 by Evelynn Brown, J.D., LL.M

Amazing how quickly the Government Services Administration (GSA) scandal can rally members of Congress to take a fresh look at the failure of the federal government to protect their own whistleblowers. and other advocacy groups have been sounding the alarm for years, seemingly to no avail. However, the recent request by Cause of Action, a non-profit, public benefit corporation to the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget to perform a government-wide audit to determine whether agencies are abiding by whistleblower protection laws looks promising.  Congratulations to Daniel Epstein on this bold move who joins us in seeking to know exactly how much the federal government is spending to retaliate against federal whistleblowers.  Mr. Epstein’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and related requests are available below. We further note the comments by GSA Inspector General Brian Miller that Regional Administrator Jeff Neely “‘squashed’ agency whistleblowers ‘like a bug”  should garner immediate public interest in abuse of authority and tax payer waste.  Perhaps now there will be renewed interest in the plight of whistleblowers who honor the Fourteen Principles of Ethical Conduct as revelations surface on the insidious long-term, financial impact on tax payers when whistleblowers are mistreated. Better protections of federal employees are desperately needed.  The recent Senate committee report on S. 743 to the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA), can be found at this site with comments from our colleague, David Pardo.  Essentially federal agencies have been hiding the costs of retaliation against whistleblowers because Congress does not require them to publish the information. If the federal government loses a case (overwhelming majority of complaints are never recorded or are dismissed or settled because the whistleblower is pressured), the agency must reimburse the Judgment Fund.  This money comes out of the agency budget (funded by tax payers), usually the offending official’s department.  What is odd is that even when federal executives are aware of retaliation by management, they will still approve bonuses and excellent performance appraisals for those who violate whistleblower protection laws.  Rarely does any executive get called on the carpet.  There has been a lack of enforcement proceedings against management committing prohibited personnel practices. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) reviews federal employee whistleblower complaints recently requested action be taken against 2 higher-ups in the Dover Air Force Base mortuary scandal.  Among other things, the investigation showed a tone set at the top to willfully harm the whistleblowers who reported gruesome details of how deceased veterans remains were being mishandled including sawing off an arm of a dead Marine and veteran remains left in boxes, leaking blood, for months.  This article discusses the severe retaliation including forensic analysis of computer hard drives reserved for espionage cases.  With government agencies and corporations openly calling whistleblowers snitches, rats, disloyal and character flawed, the tax payers must ask themselves some hard questions.  Do you want government employees to protect your money?  Or do you want it to be used to harm public servants who report misappropriation of funding, criminal conduct and dangers to public health and safety? WhistleWatch » Blog Archive » Cause of Action Not for Profit Advocate Seeks Information on Whistleblower Retaliation From Federal Agencies.

Federal News Radio: Dan Epstein Discussing Whistleblower Protection

Federal News Radio “In Depth” host Francis Rose talks with Dan Epstein about how the federal government is failing to protect whistleblowers.

Listen to the interview here.


FOIA Production: National Labor Relations Board Documents Regarding the Boeing Lawsuit

Cause of Action obtained documents from the NLRB including communications among staff and counsel during the Boeing lawsuit.

Here are the full FOIA productions Cause of Action received.

NLRB – Boeing production – Disc 1

NLRB – Boeing production – Disc 2

NLRB – Boeing production – Disc 3

NLRB – Boeing production – Disc 5

NLRB – Boeing production – Disc 6

NLRB – Boeing production – Disc 7

NLRB – Boeing production – Disc 8


Big Government: FOIA Shows Link Between ACORN and NLRB

FOIA Shows Link Between ACORN and NLRB

“Cause of Action, a nonpartisan group that seeks more transparency in government, recently discovered e-mails through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that show linkages between top National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) executives and ACORN, the liberal community organizing group Andrew Breitbart helped expose and eventually put out of business.

As the NLRB was attempting to block Boeing from relocating to the right-to-work state of South Carolina in the spring of 2011, Acting NLRB Counsel Late Solomon forwarded an e-mail to NLRB Director of Public Affairs Nancy Cleeland in which ACORN founder Wade Rathke expressed support for the NLRB’s attempts to block Boeing from relocating to the right-to-work state of South Carolina in the spring of 2011, according to information brought to light by the transparency group, Cause of Action.”


See the full post here.

“Friends like these” NLRB email suggests ACORN, Union ties to the Board

An email produced via FOIA to Cause of Action in documents regarding the Boeing case before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) suggests a close relationship among union leaders, ACORN, and the NLRB.

In an email dated Wednesday, April 27, 2011, in response to Acting Counsel Lafe Solomon’s forwarding of email support from Wade Rathke and a union attorney, Nancy Cleeland, Director of Public Affairs at the NLRB declares: “Friends like these…”

Read the email trail for yourself and let us know what you think: NLRB-FOIA-U00004019


Washington Post: Nonprofit seeks information about protections for whistleblowers

Read the full story here. Washington Post

“The nonpartisan government accountability group Cause of Action has asked the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget to perform a government-wide audit to determine whether agencies are abiding by whistleblower protection laws.


The request comes after revelations that employees of the General Services Administration’s Pacific Rim region felt threatened by an acting regional administrator for voicing concerns over excessive spending. The region organized a 2010 Las Vegas training conference that cost more than $800,000 and has since come under investigation… “IG Miller claimed GSA employees were afraid of retaliation, and according to Miller, Jeff Neely, the [Pacific Rim region] administrator ‘squashed’ agency whistleblowers ‘like a bug,’” Cause of Action’s executive director Daniel Epstein wrote in a letter to Jeffrey Zients, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget and executive chairman of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency.


In two other letters, sent April 19, Epstein asked the Office of Government Ethics to disclose information on GSA’s compliance with the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, a single government-wide standard established in 1989.”