Holding Federal Officials Accountable.
Government officials sacrificing the best interest of the public for personal gain or profit is nothing new. CfA investigates corruption throughout the federal government, from Congress to the federal agencies. CfA exposes those who have betrayed the public’s trust to advance their own ends.
CfA has investigated numerous members of Congress and congressional officials. For instance, CfA has filed three ethics complaints against Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (“HPSCI”). In January 2018, CfA asked the Office of Congressional Ethics (“OCE”) to investigate whether Rep. Nunes or HPSCI staff, acting at his direction, violated House ethics rules by leaking confidential information during the course of the committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. In March 2018, CfA renewed its request following a report in the New York Times that the committee leaked text messages between Senator Mark Warner and a Washington lawyer. Furthermore, in July 2018, CfA filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Nunes for apparently lying about his investments in several California companies.
Additionally, in June 2018, we filed an ethics complaint against U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) for failing to disclose PAC payments to his wife. CfA previously filed an FEC complaint against Sen. Crapo for failing to disclose any payments for the use of a lobbyist’s Capitol Hill condo for fundraising activities. Sen. Crapo amended his reports in response to CfA’s complaints.
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. Rep. Frelinghuysen announced his retirement from Congress in January 2018.
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 August 2018, CfA called for an investigation into HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s relationship with his former employer, the pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly and Company, following a proposed rule change that would benefit Eli Lilly. Earlier that month, CfA called for an investigation of Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler for multiple apparent lobbying disclosure violations. In response to CfA’s complaint, Wheeler’s former lobbying firm had to file amended lobbying forms.
In June 2018, CfA called on 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.
In February 2018, CfA asked the Department of Justice to investigate whether Heath Hall, former Acting Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, violated federal criminal law by willfully filing a public financial disclosure report in which he falsely claimed he would not be receiving outside income.
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.
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Campaign for Accountability investigates corruption throughout the federal government, whether it occurs in Congress or federal agencies.
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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.
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.
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. That same month, we also pressed Donald Trump on the veracity of his financial disclosure forms and called on the Department of Justice to investigate. In 2016, we also sued the Justice Department to force the Office of Legal Counsel to release its opinions that constitute a secret body of law.
Finally, CfA is also working to hold the anti-choice movement accountable. In October 2017, CfA asked the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) to investigate whether Office of Refugee Resettlement (“ORR”) Director Scott Lloyd broke federal law by abusing his position and government resources to prevent unaccompanied pregnant immigrant minors from having legal abortions. 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. Furthermore, in February 2018, CfA, represented by American Oversight, filed Freedom of Information Act lawsuits against HHS seeking records from ORR, following a report that ORR Director Scott Lloyd discussed having a minor within the agency’s care undergo an unproven “abortion reversal” procedure.
Additionally, in February 2018, CfA filed three Freedom of Information Act lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. State Department, and the United States Agency for International Development (“USAID”) regarding the Trump Administration’s efforts to rollback access to family planning services.
CfA continues to advocate for open, ethical, and accountable government at the federal level. Click below to learn more about our latest efforts.