The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Some Are More Equal Than Others

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


More than a year ago, on June 25, 2015, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste along with nine other taxpayer advocacy groups and individuals, filed a complaint with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics.  We requested an investigation into whether Senators and/or their staff may have committed fraud and broke several laws when they submitted questionable applications in February, 2014 to the D.C. Health Insurance Marketplace as a small business in an effort to get health insurance premium subsidies from their “employer,” the federal government.  What really is going on is a devious way for Congress and their staff to avoid fully participating in Obamacare, as is required by the healthcare reform law.  You can read about this deception in Citizens Against Government Waste’s (CAGW) July 2015 Waste Watcher.  (A similar ethics complaint was filed with the House of Representatives Office of Congressional Ethics in August, 2015.)

CAGW called the Senate Select Committee on Ethics several day ago, a year after the complaint was submitted, to ask for an update on our request.  As of this writing, we have heard nothing.  Frankly, we are not surprised.  It’s becoming more commonplace for laws to be ignored or simply changed by administrative fiat.

Meanwhile, efforts are underway to stop Congress’s action in the courts.  Judicial Watch, a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law, filed a lawsuit, Kirby v. Executive Board of the District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Authority, and an appeal, in a effort to stop Congress from participating in the D.C. “Small Business Exchange.”  The D.C. government admitted that ACA does not allow Congress to participate in its Small Business Exchange, but stated that the White House Office of Personnel could override their law.  Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, stated, “It may be a surprise to D.C. taxpayers that their government thinks a federal bureaucrat can rewrite both D.C. and federal law.”

Never-the-less, the case was dismissed in February 2015, and appeal was filed in August, 2015. Judicial Watch’s appeal was heard on March 2, 2016 in the D.C. Court of Appeals.  They are still waiting for the court’s ruling.  This may be the only opportunity left to force Congress to follow the law they created.

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