USDA Litigation: Limited Data Available on USDA Attorney Fee Claims and Payments

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In April 2012, GAO found that the Department of Agriculture (USDA) did not report any aggregated data on attorney fee claims and payments made under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) and other fee-shifting statutes for fiscal years 2000 through 2010, but USDA and other key departments involved—the Departments of the Treasury and Justice—maintained certain data on individual cases or payments in several internal agency databases. However, collectively, these data did not capture all claims and payments. USDA officials stated at the time that given the decentralized ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. March 26, 2014.

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In April 2012, GAO found that the Department of Agriculture (USDA) did not report any aggregated data on attorney fee claims and payments made under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) and other fee-shifting statutes for fiscal years 2000 through 2010, but USDA and other key departments involved—the Departments of the Treasury and Justice—maintained certain data on individual cases or payments in several internal agency databases. However, collectively, these data did not capture all claims and payments. USDA officials stated at the time that given the decentralized nature of the department and the absence of an external requirement to track or report on attorney fee information, the information was not centrally tracked and decisions about whether to track attorney fee data and the manner in which to do so were best handled at the agency level. Officials from 29 of the 33 USDA agencies GAO contacted for its April 2012 report stated that they did not track or could not readily provide GAO with this information. The remaining 4 USDA agencies had mechanisms to track information on attorney fees, were able to compile this information manually, or directed GAO to publicly available information sources. GAO found that the Forest Service was the only program agency within USDA that was able to provide certain attorney fee data across the 11-year period. GAO reported in April 2012 that about $16.3 million in attorney fees and costs in 241 environmental cases from fiscal years 2000 through 2010 was awarded against or settled by the Forest Service (see fig. below)."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • March 26, 2014

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. USDA Litigation: Limited Data Available on USDA Attorney Fee Claims and Payments, text, March 26, 2014; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc299851/: accessed October 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.