Drakes Bay Oyster Company Promises to Fight National Park Service Decision

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                CONTACT:

DECEMBER 3, 2012                                                                           Mary Beth Hutchins or Briton Bennett

202-499-4232

 

DRAKES BAY OYSTER COMPANY PROMISES TO FIGHT NATIONAL PARK SERVICE DECISION

“We are …fighting…against a federal government that seems to value lies over the truth and special interests over the welfare of a community,” – Kevin Lunny, owner, DBOC

 

MARIN COUNTY, CA – Drakes Bay Oyster Company (DBOC) Owner Kevin Lunny announces today a continued effort to fight for his family’s business that was shut down by the National Park Service on November 30.  Retaining the help of government accountability group Cause of Action as well as Stoel Rives LLP, DBOC released the following statement today from Kevin Lunny:

 “We have been a dedicated small family farm for four generations in the West Marin community and when we purchased Drakes Bay Oyster Company seven years ago, we saw an opportunity to revive a part of our community that would provide local jobs, sustainable products for local businesses, and a positive long-term impact on the Bay itself.

The National Park Service has not just shut down our business, but has misrepresented the law, our contracts with the State of California, and the results of scientific studies.

Our family business is not going to sit back and let the government steam roll our community, which has been incredibly supportive of us. We are exploring possible responses to the National Park Service and will be taking legal action against them soon.  We are not walking away, instead we are fighting for our community, our employees, and our family against a federal government that seems to value lies over the truth and special interests over the welfare of a community.”

Cause of Action’s Executive Director Dan Epstein explained why his organization is dedicated to this fight:

“Cause of Action fights federal agencies every day that are abusing their power, ignoring law and procedure, and wasting taxpayer dollars. We aim to hold the National Park Service accountable for their treatment of the Lunny family and the Drakes Bay Oyster Company as we view their actions as a disregard for law and precedent that demands accountability. We are working with the Lunny family on the best legal strategies moving forward.”

 

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 www.causeofaction.org.

 

 

To schedule an interview with Dan Epstein, Cause of Action’s Executive Director, contact Mary Beth Hutchins,  202-400-2721 or Briton Bennett, briton.bennett@causeofaction.org, at 202-499-4232.

 

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Cause of Action Responds to U.S.Government’s Attempt to Dismiss Ralls Corp. v. Obama et al.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                       CONTACT:      

NOVEMBER 28, 2012                                           Mary Beth Hutchins, 615-337-3710

Cause of Action Responds to U.S. Government’s Attempt to Dismiss Ralls Corp. v. Obama, et al.

WASHINGTON – Cause of Action (COA), a government accountability group, responded today to oral arguments in the case Ralls Corp. v Obama, et al challenging a shut-down of a Chinese-owned wind farm project in Oregon.  CoA filed an amicus brief in the case on behalf of the American landowners and the American company Oregon Windfarms whose property and companies were a part of the Ralls Corp. wind farm project that was shut down by the federal government, specifically under the direction of both the President and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

Amber Abbasi, Cause of Action’s Chief Counsel for Regulatory Affairs, said:

When the federal government ignores the Constitution and the President acts beyond his authority, America’s job creators and therefore the American people are the ones who suffer. This court must therefore hold that Ralls’s claims are properly subject to its review.

Cause of Action filed its amicus brief on November 12, 2012. The brief can be found here.

Cause of Action represents the American-owned green energy company Oregon Windfarms, which originally designed the “Butter Creek Projects”—a group of four wind farms that started development and were sold to Ralls Corporation before the government intruded. CFIUS, an agency created during the Cold War era to review the implications of foreign investments in the United States on our national interest, sought to undo the wind farms’ sale to Ralls and prohibit third parties from purchasing the project companies. Its efforts were followed by a presidential order asserting even broader authority over the sale. The halted deal not only harms Ralls, but it also discourages investment in the United States and threatens the rights of American property and business owners.

Of additional concern to Cause of Action is how the federal government is spending taxpayer dollars through CFIUS. Instead of focusing on credible national security threats, the government has decided to target a company which the FAA and the Navy have already determined does not pose a threat. Add that to the detriment brought to consumers who would have benefitted from a lower cost energy supply from these wind farm projects and it is clear that this is yet another example of federal government power exceeding its proper limitations with damaging effects.

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 www.causeofaction.org.

To schedule an interview with Dan Epstein, Cause of Action’s Executive Director, or Amber Abbasi, Cause of Action’s Chief Counsel for Regulatory Affairs, contact Mary Beth Hutchins, mary.beth.hutchins@causeofaction.org or Briton Bennett, briton.bennett@causeofaction.org.

 

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XP Technology Retains Cause of Action in DOE Cronyism Suit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                CONTACT:

NOVEMBER 23, 2012                                                                        Mary Beth Hutchins or Briton Bennett

202-499-4232

 

XP TECHNOLOGY RETAINS CAUSE OF ACTION TO FIGHT ENERGY DEPARTMENT CRONYISM

 

WASHINGTON – Cause of Action, a government accountability organization, now represents San Francisco-based XP Technology in its November 14, 2012 lawsuit against the federal government concerning the U.S. Department of Energy’s denial of XP Technology’s loan guarantee application under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (AVTM) loan program.

 

XP Technology’s complaint, filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, alleges that “corruption and negligence” pervaded DOE’s decision to award loan guarantees to Ford, Nissan, Tesla Motors, and Fisker Automotive for the development of electric vehicle technology.
“The Department of Energy has acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner at the expense of American small businesses that have sought to reduce our country’s dependence on foreign oil,” asserted Scott Douglas Redmond, XP’s lead investor.

 

About XP Technology:
In development for nearly a dozen years, with millions of dollars in resources already invested, XP Technology., is on a mission is to develop the safest, most affordable vehicle with the lowest total cost of operation (TCO) and the best power-to-weight ratio powered by alternative energy. The battery pack is capable of dramatically exceeding the range of any shipping electric vehicle with four passengers. However, it could reach 300 miles with the continuous and hot-swappable charge of an optional XP Auxiliary Power Unit.  For more information on XP Vehicles, please visit www.xpvehicles.com.

 

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 www.causeofaction.org.

 

All legal inquiries should be directed to Cause of Action’s Executive Director, Dan Epstein, at 202-400-2720. Media inquiries should be brought to the attention of Mary Beth Hutchins, mary.beth.hutchins@causeofaction.org or Briton Bennett, briton.bennett@causeofaction.org.

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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.

 

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Press Release: Cause of Action Files Hatch Act Complaint Against Interior Sec. Ken Salazar

 

Cause of Action Files Hatch Act Complaint Against Interior Sec. Ken Salazar

Did Salazar Campaign for President Obama While On Official Business?

WASHINGTON – Cause of Action (CoA) filed a complaint on Monday with the Office of Special Counsel requesting an evaluation of activities and statements made by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar at an October 5, 2012 event in Colorado that appear to violate the Hatch Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 7323(a) & 7324(a).

As first reported by The Colorado Observer, Sec. Salazar, “a former state attorney general and U.S. senator from Colorado, appeared at an event sponsored by the Montrose County Democratic Party. The party’s online calendar encouraged would-be participants to ‘(m)eet and greet our Democratic elected officials on their RV tour of the Western Slope, including Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.’”

Reports from the event claim that Sec. Salazar invoked support for the re-election of President Obama, which, if done in his official capacity as Secretary of the Interior, would be a violation of the Hatch Act.

 

“Cause of Action has serious concern about yet another administration official using taxpayer-funded time, travel, and title for direct political campaigning,” said Dan Epstein, executive director of Cause of Action. “First we exposed two Federal Aviation Administration officials for directing employees how to vote. The very next week, Sec. Kathleen Sebelius was found to have violated two counts of the Hatch Act, and now it 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.”

 

If Sec. Salazar is found to have violated the Hatch Act, his activity is considered illegal. As Cause of Action wrote in their complaint filed with the Office of Special Counsel:

 

“On October 5, 2012, Secretary Salazar may have used his official title to promote the 2012 candidacy of Barack Obama for President. Secretary Salazar appeared at numerous rallies in Colorado where he encouraged citizens to register to vote in the November election and he leveraged his title to appeal to swing voters about the importance of Colorado -one of eight so-called purple states – in this election, as well as the importance of re-electing Obama because of the supposed damage a President Romney would do for the country’s future. This is clearly partisan activity in violation of 5 U.S.C. § 7323(a) and possibly a violation of 5 U.S.C. § 7324(a), if Secretary Salazar was acting while on official duty.”

 

The complaint filed with OSC can be found here.

 

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 www.causeofaction.org.

 

To schedule an interview with Dan Epstein, Cause of Action’s Executive Director contact Mary Beth Hutchins, mary.beth.hutchins@causeofaction.org or Briton Bennett, briton.bennett@causeofaction.org.

 

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Press Release: FTA Confirms Overreporting by the CTA

FTA Confirms Overreporting by the CTA

Cause of Action’s Investigation Into Potential Fraud With Federal Grant Money Exposes CTA & the Department of Transportation

 

WASHINGTON – In the wake of Cause of Action’s investigation into potential fraud at the Chicago Transit Authority, new facts have emerged confirming not only overreporting by the CTA, but knowledge by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration of the overreporting.

FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff sent a letter to CTA on April 27, 2012 stating that FTA had “conducted an in-depth review regarding the way in which Vehicle Revenue Miles (VRM)” were reported. The conclusion of this review was that “CTA should revise its data for the 2011 Report Year to reflect the definition of ‘revenue service’.”

Cause of Action’s Executive Director Dan Epstein issued the following statement in response:

“FTA’s letter highlights two very important facts. First, CTA was, as Cause of Action suspected, violating the reporting manual used to calculate VRM, thereby improperly receiving federal grant money.

But secondly, FTA is revealing that it had knowledge of overreporting occurring, and by conducting a review of only 2011, it ignored the 2007 report presented by auditor Thomas Rubin that showed the same potential actions happening in fiscal year 2006.

It appears an explanation for why FTA limited its review to one year, and failed to disclose its findings to Cause of Action following our expedited FOIA request, is that there is clearly a politically motivated cover-up happening at the Department of Transportation.

Cause of Action’s revealing investigation into opaqueness and poor stewardship of tax dollars only further raises the spectre of corruption at the same agency Cause of Action revealed to have had two officials violate the Hatch Act.  Just as no punishment occured when Kathleen Sebelius violated the Hatch Act, no punishment will occur with a CTA that defrauded the American taxpayers. Cause of Action exists to fight this kind of corruption and show the American taxpayers exactly what is happening to their money in the hands of corrupt politicians.”

This revelation by the FTA raises a number of questions that Cause of Action views as critical to the public interest:

  1. Why did FTA not act on Thomas Rubin’s 2007 report of this exact behavior by the CTA?
  2. When did DOT Inspector General Calvin Scovel decide to investigate the matter?
  3. Is there evidence to suggest that this same type of overreporting is happening at other transit authorities around the United States?
  4. Why hasn’t the FTA reported the CTA to the Department of Justice for a criminal investigation in light of their overreporting and potential years of defrauding American taxpayers?
  5. How does the President explain the Chicago connections of Secretary LaHood, Robert Rivkin, Valerie Jarrett and himself in light of this misuse of taxpayer dollars?

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 www.causeofaction.org

 

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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 www.causeofaction.org

 

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