Federal Accountability

Holding Federal Officials Accountable.

Government officials sacrificing the best interest of their constituents for personal gain or profit is nothing new. CfA investigates corruption throughout the federal government, whether it occurs in Congress or federal agencies. CfA exposes those who have betrayed the public’s trust by abusing their power to advance their own ends.


As a part of this work, CfA has investigated numerous members of Congress and congressional officials. In May 2017, we filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics against Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) after he targeted the political activities of a Lakeland Bank employee in New Jersey.  In January 2017, we filed a complaint against House staffers who potentially broke federal laws and House rules by surreptitiously working on President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration order.  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.

CfA has also pressed for accountability in the executive branch. In November 2017, CfA called on two congressional committees to investigate whether Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney violated federal law by directing OMB staff to perform work for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In September 2017, CfA called on the Office of Special Counsel and the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Interior to investigate whether Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke violated conflict of interest laws and the Hatch Act by speaking at a team dinner for the NHL Vegas Golden Knights as part of his official duties. We also asked the Office of Government Ethics in October 2017 to investigate whether Zinke violated ethics rules that prohibit federal employees from endorsing private entities.

In January 2017, CfA called on the Department of Justice and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to investigate OneWest bank for using potentially illegal tactics to foreclose on as many as 80,000 California homes.  Before becoming Treasury Secretary, Mr. Mnuchin was the CEO of OneWest.  In August 2017, CfA asked the Department of Justice to investigate whether Mnuchin made criminal false statements by lying to Congress about conduct by OneWest when Sec. Mnuchin was the bank’s CEO.

In 2016, CfA called on the Department of Defense’s Inspector General to investigate Defense Secretary Ashton Carter for the misuse of his private email account.  In September 2016, we called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to improve its ethics enforcement program after our Google Transparency Project revealed that top NHTSA officials were in frequent contact with Google executives while working on federal guidelines for self-driving cars. We also sued the Justice Department to force the Office of Legal Counsel to release its opinions that constitute a secret body of law. (Continue reading about our Federal Accountability work below).

Campaign for Accountability investigates corruption throughout the federal government, whether it occurs in Congress or federal agencies.

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CfA has also been an active voice in calling for stronger ethics and transparency in the Trump Administration.  In July 2017, CfA filed a bar complaint against Trump Counsel Marc Kasowitz, alleging that he may have violated District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct. In December 2016, we joined with Free Speech for People in calling on the Federal Election Commission to investigate whether the Russian government, which paid hackers to aid Donald Trump’s campaign, illegally influenced the presidential election.

In September 2016, we pressed Donald Trump on the veracity of his financial disclosure forms and called on the Department of Justice to investigate.

Additionally, in February 2017, we filed a motion in the 21st Circuit Court in St. Louis County, Missouri to unseal the divorce records of Andrew Puzder, President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor. Press reports suggested that Puzder’s divorce records contained allegations of domestic abuse, but these records were sealed following Trump’s nomination of Puzder. CfA successfully worked to unseal the divorce records, and Mr. Puzder withdrew himself from consideration shortly thereafter.

Finally, CfA is also working to hold the anti-choice movement accountable at the federal level. In October 2017, CfA asked the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to investigate whether Office of Refugee Resettlement Director Scott Lloyd broke federal law by abusing his position and government resources to prevent unaccompanied pregnant immigrant minors from having legal abortions and to coerce some into continuing their pregnancies against their will. Additionally, CfA called on the Virginia State Bar to investigate whether Scott Lloyd violated the Virginia State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct for deliberately violating the U.S. Constitution and other federal and state laws to prevent unaccompanied pregnant immigrant minors from obtaining abortions.

CfA continues to advocate for open, ethical, and accountable government at the federal level. Click below to learn more about our latest efforts to hold the federal government accountable.

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