Archives for February 2013

Monday, February 4, 2013 Morning News

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has announced his resignation, joining the ranks of other members of the president’s cabinet to step down after his first term in office. The Daily Caller has the latest:

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced on Friday that he would leave the Obama administration sometime after February and planned to return to academic life in California after serving four years and coming under harsh criticism from Republicans.

The Republican Oversight Committee has been seeking documents related to potential contract-rigging at USAID. More from the Washington Post:

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has threatened to subpoena the nation’s foreign aid agency if it doesn’t hand over documents and information relating to alleged wrongdoing by top agency officials…The oversight committee is examining an inspector general’s investigation into possible contract-rigging by the agency’s general counsel and allegations that USAID’s second-ranking executive interfered with the probe.

Retired monkeys living it up on federal tab in Louisiana ‘Chimp Haven’

COA Challenges DOE’s Proposed Settlement in Energy Efficiency Standards Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                 CONTACT:        Mary Beth Hutchins, 202-400-2721

FEBRUARY 1, 2013

Jamie Morris, 202-499-2425

Cause of Action Challenges DOE’s Proposed Settlement in Energy Efficiency Standards Case

HARDI moves to substitute in the case that would affect numerous American businesses

WASHINGTON – Cause of Action (CoA), a government accountability organization, recently  filed a Motion to Substitute as Petitioner on behalf of the Heating, Air-conditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI), following the Department of Energy’s proposed settlement with the American Public Gas Association (APGA)  of a court challenge to the agency’s rogue move to impose unreasonable energy efficiency standards on distributors, installers, and users of residential heating and cooling products in the United States.

On May 29, 2012, CoA filed a brief on behalf of HARDI in a lawsuit against the DOE following the agency’s unprecedented move to issue new energy efficiency standards without heeding input from industry members and others in the public. Agency practice typically dictates that even if one adverse public comment is received, the agency will withdraw a proposed direct final rule and use the notice-and-comment process. The DOE ignored more than 30 adverse comments concerning the direct final rule at issue here.

“The proposed settlement between the APGA and the DOE leaves two-thirds of the energy-conservation standards at issue in the lawsuit intact,” said Dan Epstein, executive director of Cause of Action. “If HARDI is not granted permission to substitute as a Petitioner in this case HARDI and other small business members will be denied the opportunity to fight DOE’s abuse of its limited direct final rulemaking authority.”

“HARDI does not believe that the APGA/DOE settlement addresses all of our concerns, therefore we are asking the Court to allow us to substitute in for APGA and continue our concerns as they relate to abuses of the Direct Final Rule Process and central air conditioners,” Jon Melchi, Director of Government Affairs at HARDI, said in a press release from the organization.

The proposed settlement is limited to standards for non-weatherized gas furnaces and fails to address or resolve HARDI’s remaining claims.

Continued Epstein, “Only judicial review can effectively curb DOE’s abuse of the direct final rulemaking process.”

About HARDI:

Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) represents more than 460 wholesale companies and 300 manufacturing associates as well as nearly 125 manufacturer representatives. HARDI members represent an estimated 85 percent of the dollar value of the HVACR products sold through distribution.


About Cause of Action:

Cause of Action a nonprofit, nonpartisan government accountability organization that investigates, exposes, and fights job-killing federal government regulations, waste, fraud, and cronyism.  Cause of Action, uses investigative, legal, and communications tools to educate the public on how transparency and accountability protects taxpayer interests and economic opportunity. For more information, visit


For more information or to speak with Dan Epstein, Executive Director of Cause of Action, contactMary Beth Hutchins, or Jamie Morris,, 202-499-4232


COA Responds to Energy Sec. Chu’s Resignation

Cause of Action, a government accountability group currently engaged in two lawsuits against the Department of Energy, issued the following response to Secretary Chu’s resignation announcement today:

Executive Director Dan Epstein:

“Secretary Chu is leaving behind a Department of Energy that has violated the rulemaking process, stolen technology from small businesses and given it to government-backed corporations, and shown political favoritism in awarding loans and loan guarantees. Instead of a reputation of accountability and transparency, Secretary Chu’s reputation has been tarnished by the corruption and cronyism of this Administration.”

For more information on Cause of Action’s work related to the Department of Energy, click here

For further comment, please feel free to contact  202-400-2721.

Who will heed the call of accountability?

HHS Timeline_Final-01

This week, Cause of Action filed an FEC complaint revealing the Democratic National Committee’s violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) in a potential attempt to hide its reimbursement for Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius’ Hatch Act violation.

At a Human Rights Campaign Gala in February 2012, speaking in her official capacity, Secretary Sebelius campaigned for the election of Walter Dalton as Governor of North Carolina and of Barack Obama as President of the United States – a violation of federal law.  In attempting to belatedly “fix” her Hatch Act violation, Secretary Sebelius received reimbursement from the DNC for the cost of her attendance at the Gala, and five months later (and only at the behest of the Office of Special Counsel) those of HHS staffer AJ Pearlman, who supported Sebelius at the event.  However, the DNC failed to properly file these reimbursements under FECA, another breach of the law.

Cause of Action further found that during Sebelius’ effort to avoid responsibility for her Hatch Act violation, she retroactively reclassified her speech at the HRC Gala as a political instead of an official event. Securing reimbursement from the DNC for the event in an attempt to pretend the abuse never happened was enough to convince the President that no discipline was necessary in Sebelius’ case. Secretary Sebelius escaped the most high-profile Hatch Act violation in history completely unscathed.

But that’s not the end of the story. Sebelius’ classification of the event as political means that AJ Pearlman now stands in violation of the Hatch Act as well. As a government employee, Pearlman cannot participate in political events on work time.  Once Sebelius reclassified her speech as political, the DNC chose to reimburse HHS for Pearlman’s expenses as well. Pearlman, who had prepared Sebelius for the event and was in attendance with her, is now in violation of the Hatch Act, an offense punishable by firing, as her actions were done on the taxpayers’ dime.

The DNC violated FECA as it scrambled to fix Sebelius’ mistake.

Pearlman’s career has been jeopardized as a result of the law Sebelius broke.

When will Secretary Sebelius take responsibility for her own actions?

When will the OSC properly investigate these new allegations of Hatch Act violations?

Will the new revelations Cause of Action has brought to light about Sebelius’ corruption convince the President to finally ask her to accept the consequences of her actions?

We filed complaints this week with the Federal Election Commission against the DNC and with the OSC concerning AJ Pearlman.  Will these agencies heed the call of accountability?

Friday, February 1, 2013 Morning News

Coverage of our FEC Complaint against the Democratic National Committee continues to grow. Roll Call brings us this story of the allegations:

The government watchdog group Cause of Action has alleged in a complaint to the Federal Election Commission that the Democratic National Committee misreported payments to the Health and Human Services Department following a 2012 trip by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that violated the Hatch Act. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel concluded in September that Sebelius had violated the 1939 Hatch Act, which restricts political activities by government employees, when she called for President Barack Obama’s re-election at a February 2012 rally in Charlotte, N.C..

There has been more fallout from the recent Federal Court ruling stating Obama appointments to the NLRB were illegal. More from Reuters:

A California-based hospital company says it will not comply with at least two National Labor Relations Board rulings from the past year after a federal court invalidated three of President Barack Obama’s recess appointments to the NLRB last week.

The CFPB may not be immune to the NLRB fallout either. The Huffington Post has this story:

Republican senators are moving to target the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as well as the National Labor Relations Board in the wake of a court ruling that found President Barack Obama’s appointments to the NLRB were unconstitutional. A bill offered Thursday by Sens. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) would withhold any funding for actions taken by the leaders whom Obama named to their posts more than a year ago.

The Oversight Committee is going after USAID for potential wrongdoing.