Archives for November 2014

The Blaze: Officials to Cough Up Documents That Could Show the IRS Gave Private Taxpayer Data to the White House

Read the full story: The Blaze

But TIGTA never released a report, and that prompted the group Cause of Action to file a Freedom of Information Act request to see the result of its work. TIGTA refused to even confirm its investigation, but in September, a judge said TIGTA officials had to comply with the request from Cause of Action.


Cause of Action said Tuesday that it expects to receive up to 2,500 separate documents that could show improper links between the White House and the IRS, and that it expects to receive those documents by mid-December.


“This disclosure, coming only after Cause of Action sued TIGTA over its refusal to acknowledge whether such investigations took place, and after the Court ordered TIGTA to reveal whether or not documents existed, signals that the White House may have made significant efforts to obtain taxpayers’ personal information,” the group said.

Washington Examiner: Treasury: 2,500 documents ‘potentially’ show IRS sharing taxpayer data with White House

Read the full story: Washington Examiner

In a shocking revelation, the Treasury Inspector General has identified some 2,500 documents that “potentially” show taxpayer information held by the Internal Revenue Service being shared with President Obama’s White House.


The discovery was revealed to the group Cause of Action, which has sued for access to any of the documents. It charges that the IRS and White House have harassed taxpayers.


In an email from the Justice Department’s tax office, an official revealed the high number of documents, suggesting that the White House was hip deep in probes of taxpayers, likely including conservatives and Tea Party groups associated with the IRS scandal.

Cause of Action Statement on White House and IRS Targeting

Cause of Action released the following statement Monday concerning White House and IRS targeting:

Monday the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) informed Cause of Action that there exist nearly 2,500 potentially responsive documents relating to investigations of improper disclosures of confidential taxpayer information by the IRS to the White House.  This disclosure, coming only after Cause of Action sued TIGTA over its refusal to acknowledge whether such investigations took place, and after the Court ordered TIGTA to reveal whether or not documents existed, signals that the White House may have made significant efforts to obtain taxpayers’ personal information.  This disclosure, following on the heels of TIGTA’s admission that it recovered 30,000 “lost” Lois Lerner emails, renews Cause of Action’s concerns about the decaying professionalism of, and apparent slip into partisanship by, IRS’s senior leadership.

Cause of Action will continue to pursue the truth and to work for IRS accountability.

Law360: Tiversa Can’t Attack Future Witness In LabMD Fight With FTC

Read the full story: Law360

The order pointed out that the judge had already rejected a motion by the FTC in July for permission to develop evidence to rebut Wallace’s expected testimony because he had yet to testify, and that Tiversa’s “attempt at anticipatory rebuttal” suffered from a similar defect.


Cause of Action, which is representing LabMD in the administrative proceeding, praised the administrative law judge’s decision to disregard Tiversa’s notice.


“All along we’ve wanted the truth to come out about the FTC’s actions against LabMD,” Cause of Action said in a statement provided to Law360 on Thursday.

Dan Epstein on the Lars Larson Show 11/21/2014

Cause of Action to Challenge Unlawful Efforts by Department of Labor in D.C. Circuit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     CONTACT:      

November 24, 2014                                    Mary Beth Hutchins, 202-400-2721

Cause of Action to Challenge Unlawful Efforts by Department of Labor

in D.C. Circuit

Rhea Lana, Inc. Announces Plan to Appeal Lower Court’s Deference to Agency Overreach

WASHINGTON – The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, though it ruled to dismiss Rhea Lana, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Labor, invited the D.C. Circuit to determine whether the Department of Labor (DOL) may lawfully destroy a small business by finding “violations” and soliciting others to sue using notice letters that evade judicial review.

In granting the Department of Labor’s (DOL) motion to dismiss the case brought by Rhea Lana’s, an Arkansas consignment company run by entrepreneur Rhea Lana Riner, the District Court stated that it “sympathizes with Rhea Lana’s predicament.” This “predicament,” as the Court described it, arose when DOL attempted to establish a rule that Americans cannot volunteer at for-profit entities. The DOL pursued this matter by sending a warning letter to Rhea Lana that, in the Court’s view, had a “coercive effect,” essentially telling the company that it could face severe fines for not classifying its consignor-volunteers as employees.

“As the District Court recognized, agencies should not be able avoid judicial review by hiding behind form letters that essentially demand the recipient comply or face stiff penalties ,” said Cause of Action’s Executive Director Dan Epstein. “That is why on behalf of Rhea Lana, Inc. Cause of Action is appealing this decision to the D.C. Circuit.”

“As a company that engages moms in the community to buy children’s clothes and toys at a deep discount and profit from selling their own children’s items, we have never faced complaints from our consignor-volunteers, and we just don’t think it’s fair for the Department of Labor to come after us like this,” said Rhea Lana Riner, founder and president of Rhea Lana, Inc. “The government is essentially telling you that you can’t have your friends help out at a garage sale without the fear that a federal agency will be looking over your shoulder waiting to fine you. That’s why we feel so strongly about fighting back: So that our freedom as entrepreneurs and neighbors can remain intact.”

About Cause of Action:

Cause of Action is a non-profit, nonpartisan government accountability organization that fights to protect economic opportunity when federal regulations, spending and cronyism threaten it.  For more information, visit

About Rhea Lana, Inc.:

Founded by Rhea Lana Riner in her living room 16 years ago and headquartered in Conway, Arkansas, Rhea Lana’s Children’s Consignment hosts semi-annual sales.  With Arkansas roots, Rhea Lana’s Franchise Systems, Inc. is rapidly growing with 69 locations in 23 states.  The company is the first consignment sale business in the country to offer on-line management and real time tracking of merchandise through a computerized inventory system and a convenient mobile application. For more information, visit

To schedule an interview with Cause of Action’s Executive Director Dan Epstein, contact Mary Beth Hutchins,









Washington Examiner: FOIA advocates disagree on timing of reform measure moving through Senate

Read the full story: Washington Examiner

A bill now moving through the Senate is intended to improve how federal agencies respond to Freedom of Information Act requests for information from journalists, businesses and citizens. Some FOIA advocates are happier about that than others.


“The FOIA Improvement Act sets limits on the ability of agencies to stonewall requesters, which is why the Senate Judiciary’s approval is a move in the right direction for all who have an interest in a more transparent federal government,” said Cause of Action Executive Director Dan Epstein.


“As a watchdog group working on behalf of taxpayers, we support steps to establish greater accountability for agencies that currently hinder government transparency through FOIA,” Epstein said.


Cause of Action is a nonprofit advocacy group that works for greater transparency and accountability in government.