Judgment Fund Transparency Act of 2013 | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

Judgment Fund Transparency Act of 2013

Letters to Officials

January 23, 2013

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C.  20515

Dear Representative:

Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) has introduced H.R. 317, the Judgment Fund Transparency Act of 2013. On behalf of the more than one million members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), I urge you to support this legislation.

The Judgment Fund is a permanent, indefinite appropriation made available to pay monetary awards from certain court judgments and settlements against the federal government.  Because the Judgment Fund is not subject to the annual appropriations process, there is virtually no oversight of how money is awarded to claimants.  In fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011, the U.S. Treasury paid $2.3 billion, $1.1 billion, and $2.2 billion, respectively, from the Judgment Fund.

H.R. 317 would increase transparency and oversight of the Judgment Fund by requiring that the following reporting requirements be available online for the public to view: the name of the federal agency making a claim; the name of the individual claimant; the total amount paid to the claimant; a description of the facts that led to the claim; a copy of the original claim; and the final action by the court regarding the claim.  These measures will help to prevent misuse of the Judgment Fund and will add much needed scrutiny where and for what reason money is being awarded.

At a time when the national debt exceeds $16.4 trillion, it is essential that all funds appropriated by the federal government are subject to rigorous oversight.  The Judgment Fund Transparency Act is a step in this direction, increasing taxpayer awareness about how their money is being spent.  I urge you to support Rep. Gardner’s legislation.  All votes on H.R. 317 will be among those considered in CCAGW’s 2013 Congressional Ratings.

Sincerely,

Tom Schatz
President, CCAGW

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