Millions of Americans’ lives are negatively impacted by decisions made behind the doors of corporate boardrooms, government offices, and shadowy nonprofit groups. CfA works on behalf of the public interest to expose corruption, negligence, and unethical behavior wherever it may occur. We investigate the actions of powerful interests at every level of society, ranging from the largest corporations to the smallest county governments. Our current priorities include federal accountability, state oversight, corporate responsibility, consumer protection, and reproductive rights.
Michelle Kuppersmith is the Executive Director of Campaign for Accountability where she heads up the organization’s efforts to dig deeper into the officials and industries that do not typically undergo the scrutiny they deserve. Michelle also oversees Campaign for Accountability’s Tech Transparency Project and Themis Project.
Michelle’s previous work in the accountability space includes her work as Director of Special Projects at Accountable.US, where she worked to expose corruption and malfeasance at all levels of government and hold policymakers and special interests accountable and as the Director of Equity Forward, a reproductive rights watchdog group that has taken a leading voice on the ideological overhaul at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Trump Administration. Michelle started her investigative career at the Mintz Group in New York. She holds a B.A. in Modern American History from Brown University.
Michael Clauw is the Communications Manager at Campaign for Accountability. Michael serves as CfA’s primary media contact and helps coordinate CfA’s outreach to journalists and reporters. Additionally, Michael manages CfA’s website, creates graphics for various reports and projects, and executes CfA’s social media and email newsletter outreach. Michael also manages communications for the Tech Transparency Project.
Before joining CfA, Michael worked in digital communications in Los Angeles, and helped start a 501(c)(3) non-profit in his home state of Michigan. Michael received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan, with a double major in Political Science and Film.
Rita Wegner is a Research Associate at Campaign for Accountability. She provides research for the Tech Transparency Project (TTP), which seeks to hold big technology companies accountable.
Before joining CfA, Rita worked as an Analyst at Kobre & Kim LLP where she provided support on matters involving government enforcement defense. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Pennsylvania, with a double major in Environmental Studies and Political Science.
Digital Manager and Research Associate
Dorothy Windham is the Digital Manager and Research Associate at Campaign for Accountability. Dorothy supports the communications team by managing CfA’s digital presence, which includes social media, blogs, and newsletter outreach. She also handles digital communications for the Tech Transparency Project.
Before joining CfA, Dorothy worked as Digital Director for Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Brown University, with a major in Public Policy.
Board of Directors
Robin Brand is the president of RMB Strategies, a political consulting firm. Previously, she held leadership positions in the Victory Fund and Gill Action.
Ben Fortney runs digital communications operations for the University of St. Augustine. He has almost two decades of experience in online advocacy and engagement for mission-driven organizations.
Continue reading, below, to learn more about how we get results.
Advocacy groups do not always have the capacity or will to take on the opposition directly. We will hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.
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We Get Results
Since our founding in May 2015, CfA has achieved notable success. Here are some of the highlights of our victories.
CfA’s complaints have prompted law enforcement investigations of public officials. In 2015 and 2016, we filed complaints against United States Senator Bob Corker alleging he concealed information about his stake in several Tennessee hedge funds managed by his campaign donors. Subsequently, the FBI and SEC opened investigations into Sen. Corker’s financial ties to these companies.
In early 2017, we led the effort to unseal the divorce records of President Trump’s Secretary of Labor nominee, Andrew Puzder. According to press reports, Mr. Puzder’s ex-wife had accused him of domestic violence. CfA filed a motion to unseal Mr. Puzder’s divorce records to allow the public and U.S. Senators to evaluate the character of someone who would oversee efforts to combat workplace harassment and violence. CfA secured the release of some of those records, and Mr. Puzder withdrew his name from consideration.
Additionally, in May 2017, CfA called on the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, violated House ethics rules when he warned a banking executive that one of his employees was a member of an opposing activist group. Rep. Frelinghuysen announced his retirement from Congress in January 2018.
In March 2018, CfA called on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) to refer Blackwater founder Erik Prince to the U.S. Department of Justice for a criminal investigation into whether Prince provided false testimony to Congress regarding his meeting with Russian fund manager Kirill Dmitriev. In April 2019, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-CA), Chairman of the HPSCI, decided to refer Prince to the Department of Justice for investigation.
In June 2018, CfA asked the Office of Special Counsel to investigate whether Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke violated the Hatch Act by tweeting a picture of himself wearing “Make America Great Again” socks while participating in the Western Governors’ Association’s annual meeting. After CfA criticized the tweet, Secretary Zinke apologized, and the Office of Special Counsel opened a case file on the matter. On December 20, 2018, the Office of Special Counsel sent a letter to CfA announcing it had determined that Secretary Zinke indeed violated the Hatch Act by wearing his “Make America Great Again” socks. Secretary Zinke stepped down from his position in January 2019.
We’ve also been active at the state and local level. In February 2018, CfA asked Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes to investigate Utah State Rep. Mike Noel for using his government positions to enrich himself and for failing to disclose his conflicts of interest. Three weeks later, Rep. Noel announced his retirement from elected office.
Additionally, in 2015, CfA called on Attorneys General in Utah, Arizona, and Montana to investigate Utah State Rep. Ken Ivory for fraud. CfA’s complaints alleged Rep. Ivory, as the then-president of the American Lands Council, had defrauded local governments by soliciting funds to advocate for a patently unconstitutional proposition: the transfer of national lands to state control. The Utah Attorney General’s office opened an investigation, and Ivory stepped down as CEO of American Lands Council amid public scrutiny.
In November 2017, CfA filed a lawsuit against Oklahoma officials for failing to release copies of audits and documents related to corruption allegations associated with the management of the Tar Creek Reclamation site. While he was serving as the Attorney General of Oklahoma, former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declined to bring criminal charges in response to an audit that found evidence of criminal wrongdoing at the Tar Creek Reclamation site. The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office fought to prevent the release of the audit, but on April 9, 2018, Oklahoma Attorney General Hunter released the requested documents. CfA has since filed two more lawsuits to uncover why these audit documents were kept secret. On July 5, 2018, Scott Pruitt resigned from the EPA.
CfA’s corporate responsibility work has also made an impact. Since launching the Google Transparency Project in April 2016 (now the Tech Transparency Project), CfA has drawn significant attention to Google’s self-serving attempts to influence government and public policy. Google – one of the most powerful companies in the world – is now being subject to increased scrutiny in the media, in Washington, and in communities across the world.
In conjunction with CfA’s Google Transparency Project work, in September 2018, Facebook announced it would stop “embedding” employees in presidential campaigns, just one month after CfA called on Congress to investigate the practice.
In the Fall of 2016, CfA began investigating the deceptive marketing practices of the rooftop solar industry. After CfA spent months tracking down complaints against solar companies that had misled consumers about the true costs and energy savings associated with rooftop solar panels, the SEC subsequently launched an investigation.
CfA has also worked to uncover deception in the payday lending industry. In 2015, CfA submitted an open records request to Kennesaw State University, a public university in Georgia, seeking all communications between Hilary Miller, a lawyer for the payday lending industry and the chairman of the Consumer Credit Research Foundation (CCRF), and Kennesaw State University professor Dr. Jennifer Priestley. Mr. Miller worked closely with Dr. Priestley to develop a study for the payday lending industry to use to lobby against government regulations that would have protected consumers from payday lenders. CCRF filed a lawsuit to block Kennesaw State University from fulfilling CfA’s open records request for information about Dr. Priestley’s interactions with Mr. Miller, forcing CfA to intervene. After more than three years of legal wrangling, the Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously sided with CfA and directed KSU to release the documents. The emails obtained from the records request revealed in startling detail how Mr. Miller managed the entire production of Dr. Priestley’s paper, from writing the abstract to supervising its release.
Our reproductive rights work has also been successful. After CfA and the Texas Freedom Network asked Texas lawmakers to investigate why the Texas Health and Human Services Commission renewed contracts with the anti-abortion nonprofit The Heidi Group – despite the Heidi Group’s failure to deliver promised services under its original contracts – the state subsequently announced it would cancel its contracts with the nonprofit. Additionally, on November 7, 2019, the Texas Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General announced that the Heidi Group must repay over $1.5 million in overpayments and prohibited costs associated with its mismanagement of state taxpayer dollars. Additional repayments could be required.
CfA also filed a complaint against the Attleboro Women’s Health Center in Attleboro, Massachusetts for masquerading as an abortion clinic. Following CfA’s complaint, the Attleboro clinic scrubbed misleading claims from its website.
Furthermore, after CfA filed several complaints against Office of Refugee Resettlement Director Scott Lloyd – an anti-choice ideologue who tried to prevent unaccompanied immigrant minors from obtaining legal abortions – the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reassigned Mr. Lloyd to another position within the department. According to Politico, Mr. Lloyd had effectively been removed from office months earlier. Mr. Lloyd finally left HHS in June 2019.
Additionally, in April 2019, CfA called on the Board of Elections and the District Attorney’s Office in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania to investigate Robert J. Kania, Jr. and his firm, Kania Enterprises, Inc., among others, for multiple serious violations of Pennsylvania’s Campaign Finance Reporting Law. Mr. Kania is the Treasurer of Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), an anti-choice organization, and was, at the time, a member of the board of directors of the Port Authority of Allegheny County. Following CfA’s complaint, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf removed Mr. Kania from his position as a board member of the Port Authority of Allegheny County. Later that day, Mr. Kania in effect admitted he had failed to follow Pennsylvania’s campaign finance disclosure laws.
Shortly thereafter, CfA sent a letter to the SBA List, calling for the removal of Mr. Kania from his position as treasurer of SBA List and its affiliated entities: the Susan B. Anthony List, Inc. Candidate Fund and the Women Speak Out PAC. Following CfA’s letter, the Susan B. Anthony List, Inc. Candidate Fund, a PAC run by the Susan B. Anthony List, submitted a new Statement of Organization to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) removing Robert J. Kania from his role as treasurer.
Finally, in October 2019, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a line-item veto to terminate state funding for Real Alternatives, an anti-abortion nonprofit that received state funding to run the Michigan Parenting and Pregnancy Support Program. Gov. Whitmer’s veto came after CfA requested an investigation of Real Alternatives in January 2019, and renewed that request for investigation in September 2019.
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In April of 2016, CfA launched the Google Transparency Project (GTP) to examine Google’s influence on politics, policy, and our lives. In March 2020, GTP relaunched as the Tech Transparency Project, an initiative to hold large technology companies accountable.
In late 2017, CfA launched the Themis Project, an initiative to hold the anti-choice movement accountable.
In June 2018, CfA launched the BlackRock Transparency Project to track the political influence of the world’s largest asset manager.
We work hard to pursue public accountability across the nation. Click below to learn more about our most recent actions.