The Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association applaud the introduction of the Judgment Fund Transparency Act, introduced today in the U.S. Senate. The bill, introduced by Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), and co-sponsored by Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), seeks to provide increased oversight and transparency of the Treasury Department Judgment Fund.
The fund was established in 1956 and is used to pay court judgments and settlements in cases brought against the federal government, if those costs are not otherwise covered by appropriated agency budgets. Currently, the Treasury has no reporting requirements or accountability to Congress or taxpayers.
“The livestock industry fully supports Sens. Gardner’s and Fischer’s introduction of the Judgment Fund Transparency Act, a good-governance transparency bill which will serve as a major step forward in the effort to track currently unaccounted-for tax dollars being used to put our producers out of business,” said PLC and NCBA Federal Lands Executive Director Ethan Lane.
The legislation would require the Treasury to issue a public report describing funds allocated, a brief description of facts surrounding the agency request and an identification of the recipient of those funds. The legislation targets abuse of the fund by groups that consistently challenge the federal government in court and receive reimbursement.
Lane asserted the bill would have a significant impact on the pervasive anti-agriculture lawsuits facing the government and livestock producers.
“In order to defend their homes and businesses, our members often end up paying out-of -pocket for personal attorneys at the same time that their tax dollars are being funneled to activist groups that have mastered the art of manipulating these programs,” he said. “This legislation will help make government more accountable.”