Rep. Stewart Introduces Legislation to Increase Transparency for Tax Dollars Used in Government Lawsuits
Washington, D.C. - Today, Rep. Chris Stewart introduced legislation to increase transparency and accountability for taxpayer funds used in lawsuits against the federal government. Specifically, the Judgment Fund Transparency Act of 2015, would require a public accounting of all taxpayer money paid to those who win lawsuits against the federal government.
The Treasury Department currently manages the Judgment Fund, which is used to pay for court expenses and settlements against the federal government. In the past two years, more than $10 billion has been paid with very little oversight. This fund is not subject to the annual appropriations process, has no reporting requirements, and any available information is offered only at the discretion of the President.
The Judgment Fund Transparency Act, or H.R. 1669, would make the fund more transparent by requiring the Secretary of the Treasury to publicly post payment amounts, counsel, agency, and fact summaries for each claim from the Judgment Fund unless disclosing the information would be prohibited by law or a court order.
“There’s absolutely no reason for this information to be secret,” Stewart said. “The federal government should always be transparent about how it uses tax dollars. This bill is a simple fix that will give us more transparency and prevent the fund from being used as a slush fund for political purposes.”
Senators Fischer and Gardner have also introduced a companion bill in the United States Senate.
For full text of the bill, click here.