Archives for October 2012

Data Quality Act Facts

Fact Sheet on DQA Complaint concerning the National Park Service

  • After substantial inaccuracies were identified in two publications published by the National Park Service (“NPS”) regarding Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s (“DBOC”) alleged impact on the environment, thereby threatening the reissuance of their operating permits, Dr. Corey Goodman and DBOC owners Kevin and Nancy Lunny and submitted a Complaint on Aug. 7, 2012 to NPS requesting corrections based on the grounds the information was scientifically flawed.
  • Relevant publications:
    • (1) Draft Environmental Impact Statement: Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit (the “DEIS,” which purports to analyze the environmental impact of DBOC)
    •  (2) March 2012 Atkins North America, Final Report on Peer Review of the Science Used in the National Park Service’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement: Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit (the “Atkins Report,” which assessed portions of the DEIS)
    • (3) Sept. 2012 Scientific Review of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit (the National Research Council’s “Scientific Review Report,” which reviewed the data and methods used in the DEIS and Atkins Report)
    • Since the Lunnys have a limited term permit allowing for the operation of DBOC, which will expire on Nov. 30, 2012, they requested an expedited correction to the errors in the DEIS and Atkins Report.
    • On Oct. 3, 2012 NPS responded to a Complaint filed by Cause of Action (CoA) on behalf of the Lunnys and Dr. Goodman.
    • On Oct. 16, 2012 CoA issued an administrative appeal letter to NPS rebutting their objections to our complaint.

Summary of new activity:

On Oct. 16, 2012, CoA submitted a letter to Margaret O’Dell at the National Park Service appealing the response from NPS on Oct. 3. Essentially, NPS continues to ignore the rules for how complaints should be handled and instead marches forward without regard for their false scientific data that could shut down a family business in the Bay area.

CoA argues that despite its claims to the contrary, NPS is statutorily obligated to consider the complaint, as it was submitted in accordance with the procedures prescribed by Director’s Order 11B. Under that order and the Information Quality Act, NPS is required to adhere to specified information-quality obligations. It has failed to do so and has inaccurately claimed that it possesses discretion over which proposed corrections it will address.

On November 30, 2012, the Lunny family faces the loss of their business due to the refusal of the NPS to correct the DEIS. Corrections based on accurate science would benefit DBOC, the Bay area, Drakes Estero, and ultimately, the Park Service itself.

110799462-Final-Administrative-Appeal-Letter-to-NPS (1)

WGN TV: CTA made millions by inflating mileage

REPORT: A Bus Tour of Chicago-Style Fraud (Update)

The independent auditor whose report Cause of Action obtained and included in our original report, “A Bus Tour of Chicago-Style Fraud,” has decided to come forward and make his name public.

Mr. Thomas Rubin is an outside auditor who was retained by the Illinois Auditor General in 2007.

See our updated report incorporating Mr. Rubin’s name, below.


Bus Tour of Chicago-Style Fraud


Chicago Sun-Times: Watchdog Group: CTA overstated bus mileage reports for decades

Read the full story here: Chicago Sun-Times

Cause of Action’s report “A bus tour of Chicago-style fraud” alleges the CTA inflated the annual number of miles reported to the Federal Transit Administration for its in-service buses.


The group based its allegation on a 2007 audit in which it says the CTA overreported the miles, allowing it to receive between $1 million and $5 million in extra funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation that year.

Chicago Tribune: Report: CTA reaped millions by over-reporting bus mileage

Read the full story here. Chicago Tribune

“The CTA has potentially inflated by up to $150 million the federal taxpayer money it received since as far back as 1982 by “fraudulently over-reporting” the number of miles CTA buses travel while in service, according to a new report by a little-known watchdog group. In its report, titled “A bus tour of Chicago-style fraud,” Washington-based Cause of Action alleged that CTA officials reaped millions in extra federal money that the agency was not entitled to by improperly including “deadhead,” or out-of-service bus miles, along with funding-eligible revenue bus miles when applying for money from the Federal Transit Administration.

The CTA has followed the FTA’s guidelines related to reporting mileage data, and it used the same methodology for almost 30 years, up through last year when the rules were changed, a CTA spokesman said Wednesday. But Cause of Action, which said it based its findings on “insider audit information” from six years ago, said the CTA likely continues to get away with its inaccurate mileage reporting, with the knowledge of the U.S. government, because of the transit agency’s political connections stretching from Chicago to Washington…”

Cause of Action Reveals As Much As $150 Million in Potential Fraud by the Chicago Transit Authority

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 18, 2012                                                                                                    

CONTACT:  Mary Beth Hutchins, 202-507-5887



Cause of Action Reveals As Much As $150 Million in Potential Fraud by the Chicago Transit Authority

Were Taxpayer Dollars Improperly Granted to Chicago’s Bus System?


WASHINGTON – Federal government accountability group Cause of Action (CoA) today released a report based on insider audit information that reveals the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) may have improperly received up to $150 million in taxpayer funds, dating as far back as 1982.


Documented in “A Bus Tour of Chicago-Style Fraud,” a 2007 audit report of the CTA obtained by Cause of Action reveals that the transit agency was found to have overreported the city’s bus Vehicle Revenue Miles (VRM). This misrepresentation of data could have led to the disbursement of a larger share of available federal U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) formula grant funds than the CTA was entitled to receive. In fiscal year 2006 alone, CTA may have received from $1 million to potentially over $5 million in excess grant funding.


“For thirty years, the CTA may have been defrauding US taxpayers of millions of dollars and investigators at the Department of Transportation, though aware of this potential fraud, have seemingly taken no steps to investigate or report on the matter,” said Dan Epstein, executive director of Cause of Action. “Our own investigation revealed a web of connections and influence among the CTA, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the White House where investigating potential fraud may be mired in politics. In 2011, when notified of the audit we recently obtained, the DOT and its IG acknowledged that while they would look into the matter, a conflict of interest with current staff and CTA existed. To our knowledge no investigation has taken place.”


As CoA’s report highlights, those potential conflicts of interest could include Robert S. Rivkin, the current General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation who was General Counsel of the Chicago Transit Authority from 2001 to 2004, during the time CTA was likely overreporting its VRM.  Additionally, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, was Chair of CTA from 1995 to 2003. As of April of 2009, Jarrett was still receiving deferred compensation from the Chicago Transit Authority.



About Cause of Action:

Cause of Action is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that uses investigative, legal, and communications tools to educate the public on how government accountability and transparency protects taxpayer interests and economic opportunity. For more information, visit



REPORT: A Bus Tour of Chicago-Style Fraud

Cause of Action reveals its investigative report, uncovering potentially up to $150 million in taxpayer dollars that improperly went to the Chicago Transit Authority.

See our full report, followed by our exhibits below:

Bus Tour of Chicago-Style Fraud