Equal Access to Justice Abuse
You pay THEM to take money from YOU!
The EAJA is a great example of a good idea that went bad. Written to allow those with limited resources to take action when government agencies overstep their authority.
Today, well-funded environmental groups have learned to take advantage of the weaknesses of the act to swamp federal agencies with frivolous lawsuits.
Originally formulated to provide under-privileged parties and opportunity to contest the federal government, the Equal Access to Justice Act or EAJA has simply become a resource by which special interest extremists can fund their efforts to halt common sense legislation regarding issues facing the West.
Unfortunately, problems began prior to the bill becoming law when the Conference Committee made significant changes that were not included in either the Senate or the House bills. Then, in 1995, Congress removed the reporting requirement associated with the EAJA which allowed participating parties the opportunity to take advantage of the Act without any red flags in place to indicate potential abuse. As a result, payouts went from a few million dollars annually before 1995 to over $40 million today. Bear in mind, these are only payments made to reimburse opposition legal fees, one source estimates that the federal government spends another $80 million to cover its own legal fees.
While the law was written to allow those with limited resources to take action when government agencies over-stepped their authority, today's well-funded environmental groups have learned to take advantage of the weaknesses in the act and now swamp the agencies with frivolous lawsuits. To add further insult to injury, when federal agencies fail to meet the time lines outlined within the law, these groups file yet another lawsuit to create more pressure and pad their own pockets.
For example, the Center for Biological Diversity brags of the fact that it has filed 132 lawsuits against the Trump Administration since March 2017. Western Watersheds and WildEarth Guardians have similar records with WildEarth Guardians reporting filing over 400 lawsuits in the last couple years that specifically target the livestock industry.