Archives for November 2012

Statement on Opposition for Motion to Dismiss, Nichols et al. v. Markell et al.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                        CONTACT:

NOVEMBER 14, 2012                                                      Mary Beth Hutchins 202-499-4232


Regarding Oral Arguments for Motion to Dismiss in the matter of Nichols et al. v. Markell et al.

Cause of Action is committed to exposing the story of cronyism that has been going on between Bloom Energy and Jack Markell. We’re grateful we had the opportunity to speak out today, and inform the judge about the need for a fair trial. We believe that this issue of cronyism is one that, if left untreated, will continue to negatively affect the taxpayers of Delaware. We look forward to the judge’s decision to allow our case to proceed and for the chance to fight the corporate welfare that continues to harm both business and citizen alike.



Update: CoA to defend motion to dismiss in Fuel Cell Energy cronyism case

Over the past few months, Cause of Action has been working to expose the state of Delaware’s scheme to favor Bloom Energy, Inc. over its competitors. The cronyism that has been taking place reveals unconstitutional discrimination against other companies and because of this deal, the burden has been unfairly placed on Delaware taxpayers.

Today, Cause of Action’s Chief Counsel for Regulatory Affairs, Amber Abbasi, presented oral arguments in court arguing the need for a fair trial. We hope the judge will decide to allow us to defend the taxpayers of Delaware and fight the cronyism deal.

Read more about the case here. The complaint can be found here.

Should the federal government have unchecked authority to interfere in matters of business and trade?

Should the federal government have unchecked authority to interfere in matters of business and trade at the expense of due process rights?

This question has been brought to light in Ralls Corp. v. Obama et al, a lawsuit challenging a shut-down of a Chinese-owned wind farm project in Oregon.

Cause of Action filed an amicus brief in the suit, and at the heart of our interest in this case is an American-owned green energy company called Oregon Windfarms who originally designed the “Butter Creek Projects”—a group of 4 windfarms that started development and were slated to be sold to Ralls Corporation before the government intruded. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an agency created originally during the Cold War era to protect the interest of American business, has exacerbated its presumed authority and intervened to stop the wind farm project. The halted deal not only harmed Ralls Corp., a privately owned Chinese company, but it also arrested an investment that started right here in the United States.

The display of power by both the President and CFIUS is disconcerting, to say the least; however, the fact that both CFIUS and President Obama are directly limiting the ability of American businesses is of much greater concern. While American businesses and workers are entitled to due process when it comes to their property, in the case of Ralls Corp. the government saw fit to ignore these rights and arbitrarily deny a company from conducting business simply because its owners are Chinese.

Further, future jobs and American businesses may be in jeopardy. This action by CFIUS and POTUS sets a less than favorable precedent for future foreign investments in an ever-shrinking global economy.

CFIUS and the President may hide behind the guise of protecting the American citizenry, but when you lift the veil of rhetoric, the long-term effects felt by the American people are much worse than allowing an American-owned business to engage with a foreign investor.

You can read our brief here.

Amicus Brief, Ralls v. Obama et al.


The Colorado Observer: Watchdog Group: Salazar May Have Violated the Hatch Act

Read the full story here. Colorado Observer  

“Cause of Action, a Washington-based firm, said it asked to the Office of Special Counsel to evaluate Salazar’s activities and statements at a campaign event sponsored by the Montrose County Democratic Party on Oct. 5. Noting that Salazar reportedly told the participants the importance of re-electing President Obama, executive director Dan Epstein said the independent government agency should investigate the episode.

“(I)t appears Sec. Ken Salazar violated the Hatch Act in using his official capacity to campaign for the President. His behavior warrants attention and investigation by the OSC, as no violator of the Hatch Act should get away with such behavior,” Epstein said in a statement Wednesday…”

Opposition for Motion to Dismiss, Doe V. Hamburg et. al.

Opposition to MTD

Hatch Act Violations and the Ethics Question

Last week, Cause of Action filed a formal complaint with the Office of Special Counsel regarding remarks by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar during several political rallies in the swing state of Colorado. A CoA investigation determined that Sec. Salazar, was potentially violating the Hatch Act of 1939—a law designed to keep government employees from using their title and position to influence the outcome of elections.

The potential violations from Salazar come only months after another CoA investigation revealed similar circumstances at the FAA, as well as a formal finding from the OSC that Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius was in violation of the Hatch Act.

The fact that so many Executive Branch employees are violating the Hatch Act must mean that something is awry.  Why does the President continue to ignore the laws that have been put in place to protect the integrity of the election system? Clearly, it is in the President’s best interest to allow his cabinet members to campaign on his behalf without recourse, but that certainly doesn’t mean it is legal.

Regardless of incentive or motivation, the President’s choices about the ethical and legal ramifications for members of his administration speak volumes. If he is unable to demonstrate integrity regarding proper punishment for law-breakers in the Executive Branch, then can he be trusted to uphold other laws?

At Cause of Action we are committed to continuing our fight for an open, honest, transparent government, and we strive to ensure that the American people get just that.