As I’m sure many of you have been reading, abuse of the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) is quickly becoming a hot topic these days. And the Western Legacy Alliance (WLA) couldn’t be happier! The WLA has been working with Karen Budd Falen, an attorney and rancher, since our inception to help stop the radical environmentalists that make life difficult for ranchers and other industries in the American West. The WLA commissioned Karen to do the initial legal research to identify the true extent of the EAJA abuse problem. And let me tell you, the extent of the abuse and exploitation is far-reaching and down-right astounding. The litigation abuse that has been allowed to proceed unregulated by the Federal Government is a travesty. In fact, if Congress could investigate the extent of the abuse and put a stop to it, we might be able to find enough money to fund the President's Health Plan! Wouldn’t that be great?
Falen’s main goal was to try and find out how much money the federal government has paid out in legal fees over the past decade. Falen discovered that in just six short years non-profit environmental groups filed more than 1,500 lawsuits, and in turn the federal government paid out an astronomical $4.7 billion in taxpayer dollars in judgments, settlements and legal fees in cases against the U.S. government. That’s your money as a United States taxpayer that we’re talking about.
As you may or may not know, EAJA was passed roughly 30 years ago by Congress and was designed to protect small businesses, farmers and ranchers from the federal government that potentially could become overbearing and overreaching. Unfortunately, the act is not protecting the people it was originally designed protect, but rather lining the pockets of radical environmental groups and the attorneys that represent them. In fact, the government hasn’t tracked EAJA payments since 1995 so they don’t even who is receiving EAJA money or how much is being paid out.
According to Patrick Dorinson, of Fox News, “In the last 10 years in one Federal District Court in Boise, Idaho, Western Watersheds Project has received $1,150,528.00 of your tax dollars for their jihad against the ranchers and sheep men. They have a found judge in that particular court who has been particularly accommodating to them and who seems to have his thumb on the scales of justice in their favor...And that is just one organization. It is estimated that in that same time frame billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent settling these ridiculous legal claims.”
You can read Patrick’s article in its entirety here: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2009/10/26/patrick-dorinson-range-war-west/.
Patrick’s not the only one writing about this egregious abuse and unashamed exploitation. Recently, there have been several articles highlighting the abuse that is being allowed to happen. If you are interested in learning more about the problem, I encourage you to read several of the articles highlighted below. I would also like to encourage you to get involved with the WLA, as we are going to tackle this blatant abuse head on.