Media Advisory: Whistleblower Conference – Dan Epstein Joins Panel Discussion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                         CONTACT:

Friday, May 18, 2012                                                  Mary Beth Hutchins,  202-507-5887




WHAT: A panel discussion on issues affecting whistleblowers as part of the annual Whistleblower Summit: Civil & Human Rights Conference.

WHEN:       Monday, May 21, 2012,  12:30pm—1:30pm ET

 WHO: Dan Epstein, executive director, Cause of Action will offer insight into the best litigation options for whistleblowers under current law. Cause of Action is a non-partisan organization that uses public advocacy and legal reform tools to ensure greater transparency in government, protect taxpayer interests and promote economic freedom. He will be joining other panel experts from various nonprofits and NGO’s.

 WHERE:    Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Room

226 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510


MORE INFORMATION: The Summit is hosted by Make it Safe Coalition (MISC), an assortment of various public interest/advocacy groups including the Government Accountability Project, the International Association of Whistleblowers, the American Federation of Government Employees, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Project On Government Oversight, the No FEAR Coalition, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Voices for Corporate Responsibility, and International Brotherhood of Teamsters; which focus on significant areas of public concern and individual rights, such as First Amendment, federal workforce, medical safety, national security, judicial reform, etc. See for more information on the conference.

Coin for Coins: Cause of Action Demands Agencies Reveal Wasteful Spending on Commemorative Items

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CoA Asks House & Senate Ethics to Investigate Staffer Insider Trading

On February 14, 2012, Cause of Action submitted a letter to both the House and Senate Ethics Committees requesting an investigation into Congressional staff actions that might be deemed insider trading.

You can see the letter here.


CoA Sues White House for Failing to Disclose Documents on Administrative Earmarks


 Management and Budget Office Remains Silent On Potential Coordination Between Congress and Federal Agencies On Pet Projects

WASHINGTON – Cause of Action filed suit Wednesday against the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) citing the OMB’s continued failure to produce documents regarding executive branch agencies’ use of administrative earmarks. Following a request under the Freedom of Information Act for documents relating to the cooperation of Congress and federal agencies on pet projects, the OMB has yet to comply with its FOIA obligations, prompting the government accountability group Cause of Action to file suit.


“By continuing to remain silent, the OMB is precluding American taxpayers from knowing the truth,” said Dan Epstein, executive director of Cause of Action. “The time for playing shell games with administrative earmarks has come to an end.”


After the House and Senate both embraced moratoriums on legislative earmarks, Cause of Action’s investigators saw an alarming potential for violations by Congress and these unchecked federal agencies. Representative Jim Moran (D-VA) has stated that lawmakers are “convincing Obama administration officials to fund their pet projects,” and confirmed that “appropriators are going to be okay because we know people in agencies.”  By circumventing the earmark ban and channeling recommendations for pet projects through federal agencies, administrative earmarks have, until now, gone unchecked.


While the Obama Administration has iterated its support of the earmark ban, with the President himself stating in the State of the Union Address that if a bill came to his desk “with earmarks inside,” he will veto it, concerns remain over this avenue of agency grants achieving the same ends as legislative earmarks.  Just last month when confronted with a report from The Heritage Foundation showing how key legislative votes coincided with spikes in federal agency grants to Democratic districts, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney claimed that, “the president’s opposition to earmarks is well known.”


“The administration cannot have it both ways,” continued Epstein.  “Either it is opposed to earmarks or it is allowing them through new means, and the public has a right to know which is true.”


About Cause of Action:

Cause of Action is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that uses public advocacy and legal reform tools to ensure greater transparency in government, protect taxpayer interests and promote economic freedom. For more information, visit


See the full complaint here: 7 March 2012 Suit against OMB re Administrative Earmarks FOIA

CoA Files Petition on Behalf of HARDI Against the Department of Energy

Cause of Action Files Petition on Behalf of HARDI Against Department of Energy

DOE Oversteps Its Rule-making Bounds Causing Financial Consequences for Heating and Air Businesses and Customers

WASHINGTON – Cause of Action filed a petition on January 20 in the U.S. Court of Appeals on behalf of the Heating, Air-conditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) in response to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) abuse of the regulatory process and overreach of authority which resulted in a rogue decision to impose unreasonable energy efficiency standards on distributors, installers, and users of residential heating and cooling products in the United States.

Acting outside of its purview, the DOE not only ignored concerns from HARDI about these rule changes, but sidestepped the proper established rule-making procedures, instead choosing to dictate a rule without regard for its serious financial consequences.

Cause of Action, a non-partisan organization dedicated to attacking waste, fraud, mismanagement and corruption in the federal government, took on this issue on behalf of HARDI out of recognition of the abuse of power being demonstrated by the DOE, and the potential precedent this could set for federal agencies.

“The Department of Energy is turning a deaf ear toward American businesses and choosing to enact rules with no regard for proper procedure,” said Dan Epstein, Executive Director of Cause of Action. “Cause of Action chose to intervene on behalf of HARDI and the thousands of Americans they represent against this act of government abuse of power.  We urge the Court of Appeals to examine the unprecedented harm the Department of Energy is enacting on businesses and consumers around the country, and ask them to rein in this agency.”

For HARDI, their actions and opposition to the DOE on this issue have been evident since 2008, yet the DOE consistently ignored them.

“For years HARDI members have been discussing regional standards, then the consensus agreement, and now the potential impact of the Department of Energy’s direct final rule on our industry,” said HARDI President, Bud Mingledorff.  “Over the last several weeks alone, four individual votes were cast among varying levels of HARDI’s membership leaders, each of whom unanimously determined joining this litigation was the right thing to do.”

HARDI joins the American Public Gas Association (APGA) who has previously filed a petition on the matter with the Court of Appeals.

For more information or to speak with Jon Melchi, Director of Government Affairs of HARDI, or Dan Epstein, Executive Director of Cause of Action, contact Mary Beth Hutchins, 202-587-5880,

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 is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that uses public advocacy and legal reform tools to ensure greater transparency in government, protect taxpayer interests and promote economic freedom. For more information, visit


To see the motion to intervene filed by Cause of Action, click here.






CoA Asks National Archives to Release FCIC Records

Potential Conflicts of Interest Abound Between FCIC Staff and Outside Entities Involved in Suing Banks Targeted by FCIC

Cause of Action sent a Freedom of Information Act Request to the National Archives seeking the release of records it maintains from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, the body tasked with investigating the causes of the 2008 financial crisis.  Prior to the release of the Commisssion’s report, U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) raised questions concerning the potential conflicts of interest that existed between Commission staff and several outside entities involved in suing banks targeted by FCIC.  Oversight Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) recently released a report finding that several of the decisions of the FCIC may have been politically motivated.

Read CoA’s request here.

Did You Know You Paid To Lobby For More Taxes?

Cause of Action Investigates

Cause of Action has discovered that Stimulus grants have been improperly used to lobby for soda taxes and smoke-free ordinances. The grant program, titled Communities Putting Prevention to Work, is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and was designed to help state and local governments educate citizens on preventing obesity and excessive tobacco use. However, documents reveal that these grants have been used to persuade state and local representatives to vote in favor of soda taxes and anti-smoking laws.

Use of discretionary grants for lobbying is prohibited by federal law. Because of the gravity of the abuse, Freedom Through Justice has requested, in writing, that the offices of the Inspector General of Health and Human Services and the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board open a full investigation into which grantees have used stimulus funds to engage in improper lobbying.

Regarding these violations, Executive Director Dan Epstein stated, “We hope that their offices will treat this revelation with the seriousness it deserves. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was intended to boost jobs and get the economy working again, not fill the pockets of well-connected lobbyists in the name of nanny-state politics.”

Cause of Action will continue to investigate how and when federal funds were used to lobby for taxes most Americans oppose.