Daily Caller: Obama Administration Has $25M Secret in Environmental Lawsuits
By Jason Devaney | Tuesday, 16 Aug 2016 02:41 PM
The U.S. government has kept the recipients of $25 million in legal fees stemming from environmental lawsuits a secret in the Obama administration, according to a new report.
The Daily Caller News Foundation discovered that more than $49 million in public money has been paid to lawyers stemming from lawsuits pertaining to three major environmental laws during President Barack Obama's time in office. Roughly half of that money has gone to parties whose names have been withheld from public records.
"It's no surprise the Treasury Department is hiding who gets the money in these transactions," Adam Andrzejewski of OpenTheBooks.com told The Daily Caller. "Because these suits involve the federal government, taxpayers have a right to know where their tax dollars are going and what agendas they're advancing."
The report claims the $49 million figure is related to 512 "citizen lawsuits" regarding either the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, or the Endangered Species Act.
In 57 percent of those lawsuits, the plaintiff's counsel was unnamed. In a small slice of those cases, the plaintiff's name was partially redacted.
According to The Daily Caller, some of the cases could be what's termed "sue and settle," meaning a plaintiff sues with the intention of having the government enact a new environmental regulation. Groups who have used this tactic include the Sierra Club and Earthjustice, according to the report.
"Taxpayers have a right to know who is profiting from so-called 'sue and settle' schemes in which special interest groups advance a regulatory agenda without any transparency or oversight," Andrzejewski said.
The Energy & Environment Legal Institute, meanwhile, is suing the EPA over allegations that scientists on the clean air rules-review panel are biased because of their ties to the agency.