Holding State Officials Accountable.
CfA not only holds federal officials accountable, but also state and local officials to whom no one else is paying attention. As local news organizations face ever-deepening cuts in their editorial budgets, CfA tracks local and state officials whose self-serving actions may otherwise go undetected.
Recently, CfA has requested investigations of – and filed complaints against – state politicians who appear to have abused the power of their offices. In April 2017, we asked the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri to open an investigation into whether Missouri State Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard violated federal law by accepting a $100,000 campaign contribution in return for legislative assistance.
In February 2017, CfA sued Montana State Jennifer Fielder for failing to respond to an open records request relating to her work with the Utah-based nonprofit, the American Lands Council (ALC).
In July 2016, CfA demanded an audit of the Utah Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands after CfA reviewed invoices released by the commission and discovered numerous examples of luxury travel, billing inconsistencies, and apparently prohibited lobbying expenditures charged to Utah taxpayers.
Also in July 2016, CfA released a report entitled Documenting Discrimination, which uncovered how national conservative religious groups – working through smaller local groups – are spearheading the movement to legalize discrimination against LGBT individuals through state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) legislation.
In May 2016, CfA called on Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt to investigate former Johnson County Election Commissioner Brian Newby for flagrantly violating Kansas criminal law by submitting false expenses, misusing public funds, and conspiring to cover up his conduct. Our complaint detailed how Newby misspent government funds on toys, books, and travel, among other questionable expenses.
As local news organizations face ever-deepening cuts in their editorial budgets, Campaign for Accountability tracks local and state officials whose self-serving actions may otherwise go undetected.
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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 the American Lands Council amid public scrutiny.
CfA has also pursued accountability of the solar industry at the state level. Beginning in October 2016, we asked state Attorneys General in Texas, California, Florida, and Oregon to investigate false and misleading acts in the marketing and sale or lease of solar panels. CfA submitted open records requests to several states and reviewed dozens of complaints released by state Attorneys General. Consumers detailed how solar companies deceived them about the true costs of installing solar panels, lured them in with low price quotes that later proved to be false, required them to sign confusing contracts, and promised energy savings that failed to materialize.
CfA continues to conduct investigations into the wrongdoings of state and local officials. Click below to learn about our most recent state oversight initiatives.