House Passes Bill to Address Abuse of EAJA
Martin: “EAJA was originally passed in 1980 to allow plaintiffs to recover legal fees when they prevail against the federal government in court. However, it has repeatedly been exploited by environmental activist groups which target federal-lands agencies, and ultimately the ranching families who use the lands, at the expense of the taxpayer. From 2001 to 2011, environmental activist groups, some worth in excess of $50 million, have been awarded an estimated $37 million. During the same time period, more than 3,300 cases have been filed by just 12 groups, many of which were frivolous or filed on technicalities.”
The Act, as originally passed, required the Department of Justice to report to Congress where and how EAJA funds were being spent. However, in 1995, through passage of the paperwork reduction act, the reporting requirement for EAJA payments was removed. For nearly 20 years the government has not been tracking how much money has been paid out through EAJA.??This bill restores much-needed accountability by requiring an accounting of all attorney fees spent under the Act.