The U.S. House of Representatives passed Rep. Cynthia Lummis’ (R-Wyo.) amendment to the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), legislation passed in 1980 to reimburse individuals who otherwise could not afford to legally pursue claims against the government. The amendment would require allowing tracking and reporting of exactly who or what organization is receiving reimbursement in what amounts.

EAJA funds have been flowing to environmental organizations filing suit on “procedural grounds,” and these lawsuits have had negative impact on the agricultural industry in general, noted the Agricultural Retailers Association. ARA and other ag organizations worked with Lummis’ office on this amendment effort.  

It was also noted that ARA has worked with Lummis on forcing child agricultural labor regulations to be within common sense for rural America and farm families. 

“Lummis’ amendment restores transparency to EAJA payments by reinstating tracking and reporting requirements on all attorney reimbursements. The amendment also requires the creation of a searchable, online database of all EAJA payments so tax-payers can easily access information on payments made, to whom, how much, and why,” ARA noted. 

Lummis was quoted as saying, “Today’s unanimous vote to require the robust tracking of tax-payer funded attorney’s fees is a significant step toward updating EAJA. The House has now spoken on this issue. In a bipartisan way, we have made clear that no one receiving taxpayer funds to pursue legal action against the government can do so in secret.”