"In a follow-up complaint sent to the clerk of the House, the secretary of the Senate and — for the first time — the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, the Campaign for Accountability (CfA) requested investigations of potential violations of lobbying laws and statements made to the federal government by Wheeler and Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting, where he worked prior to joining EPA."
Watchdog Again Calls for Investigation of EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler for Failing to Disclose Lobbying Contacts
On March 12, 2019, CfA called on federal officials to investigate whether Andrew Wheeler, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), and his former lobbying firm, Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting, violated the Lobbying Disclosure Act by failing to disclose an April 2017 meeting with an Interior Department official regarding the borders of Bears Ears National Monument.
Watchdog Files Two Lawsuits Against HHS Seeking Records Regarding Administration’s Efforts to Roll Back Funding for Comprehensive Family Planning
On March 6, 2019, CfA, represented by American Oversight, filed two Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) seeking records regarding the Trump Administration’s efforts to roll back Title X funding for comprehensive family planning services.
In late 2018, after the group faced numerous criminal complaints alleging mismanagement of taxpayer funds, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission finally canceled its health contracts with the Heidi Group, saying in an email to the Texas Tribune that “it has become clear that the Heidi Group is unable to come into compliance.”
"'Not only is the payday-lending industry choosing professors to write studies on their behalf; in this case they are writing the studies themselves,' said Daniel Stevens, executive director of the Campaign for Accountability. 'I have never seen anything like this.'"
On February 25, 2019, CfA released a new report, Academic for Hire, revealing that a lawyer for the payday lending industry, Hilary Miller, funded, designed, and edited an academic study defending the payday lending industry. Mr. Miller, the chairman of the Consumer Credit Research Foundation worked closely with Kennesaw State University Professor Jennifer 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.
"'Mr. Bernhardt exemplifies the definition of a revolving door official. Public officials should serve in government to carry out the public's interests, not the interests of their lobbying clients,' CFA Executive Director Daniel Stevens wrote in the request. 'Ethics officials should immediately investigate Mr. Bernhardt's actions and determine if he violated the ethics pledge.'"
Watchdog Calls for Investigation into Acting Interior Secretary’s Actions to Benefit Former Lobbying Client
On February 19, 2019, CfA called on ethics officials at the Interior Department and the Office of Government Ethics to investigate David Bernhardt, the Acting Secretary of the Department of the Interior, and his relationship with his former lobbying client, Westlands Water District, an agricultural conglomerate in California. While at Interior, Mr. Bernhardt initiated a review of Endangered Species Act protections for two endangered species of fish in California, an issue he advocated for while working as a lobbyist for Westlands.
"It is BlackRock’s use of the revolving door to exert influence, however, that really sets it apart. According to the Campaign for Accountability’s BlackRock Transparency Project, there are 99 people who have moved from BlackRock into government positions and vice versa, including six former BlackRock employees who work at the Securities and Exchange Commission."
Statement from Daniel Stevens, Executive Director of Campaign for Accountability, on the nomination of David Bernhardt for the position of Secretary of the Department of the Interior.