FGI Director

Democrat Rep. Matt Cartwright Won’t Say if He’s Using Taxpayer Funds to Park His Private Plane

By Jordan Dixon-Hamilton (Breitbart)

September 12, 2022

Democrat Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) is suspiciously silent after reports came to light that he used taxpayer funds to pay the monthly parking fees for his private plane.

Cartwright, who is worth up to $10.9 million, pays $425 every month to the Delaware River and Bay Authority, which operates the New Castle Airport in Delaware. As the Washington Free Beacon reported, that monthly price matches the airport’s advertised “small hangar” monthly storage price.

The monthly payments to the Delaware River and Bay Authority were marked on Cartwright’s financial disclosures as “Taxi/Parking/Tolls” and “District Office Parking,” despite the airport being outside his congressional district.

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Democrat Matt Cartwright Has Potential Conflict of Interest with General Electric, Ethics Watchdog Says

By Nick Gilbertson and Jacob Bliss (Breitbart)

September 6, 2022

An ethics watchdog group says Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) is involved in a potential conflict of interest after visiting General Electric’s (GE) Research facility in upstate New York last month and holds up to $15,000 in GE stock, according to financial disclosures.

Cartwright and Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) went to GE Research in Niskayuna, New York, on August 17, where they toured the facility, the Schenectady-based Daily Gazette’s John Cropley reported.

The reporter noted that the two congressmen left the research facility impressed by the “work being done in areas such as hybrid-electric aircraft propulsion and hydrogen-fueled engines,” bringing Cartwright to say, “There’s going to be a revolution in the way people get around in the air over the next 10 or 15 years and you’re going to see that revolution right here in Schenectady,” referring to the GE Research facility.

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Dem May Have ‘Violated’ House Rules After Appearing In TV Ads, Watchdog Alleges

By Gabe Kaminsky (The Daily Caller)

August 31, 2022

Democratic Pennsylvania Rep. Matt Cartwright may have “violated” congressional rules for appearing in the TV ads of a top donor’s law firm, a watchdog alleged in a complaint obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Cartwright praised law firm Parker Waichman and its partner Jerry Parker in July TV ads that have since been pulled by the firm, Axios reported Thursday. Cartwright’s appearance in the ads may violate ethics rules because he gave his “endorsement” of Parker and used House resources to “support” the firm, watchdog Functional Government Initiative (FGI) wrote in a complaint Monday to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).

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IRS Brings Back Former Lerner Boss and Tea Party Targeting Team Member

Nikole Flax will be head of IRS office that will hire 87,000 new agents

September 2, 2022

(Washington, DC) – The Functional Government Initiative (FGI) expressed its concern over the assignment of an individual associated with an IRS targeting scandal to head the office overseeing the office in charge of the 87,000 new IRS agents. Reports that Nikole Flax, who was chief of staff to the IRS commissioner who was fired in the wake of the Tea Party targeting scandal, are sure to stoke fears that these new agents may be used to harass low- and middle-income taxpayers and those identified for political reasons. Contrary to the promises that no one who earns less than $400,000 a year will pay more taxes, the Congressional Budget Office analysis indicates at least $20 billion of the $124 billion in increased tax revenues projected to be gained from these additional agents will come from low- and middle-income Americans.

During the Tea Party targeting scandal, the IRS was forced to pay millions in settlements for improperly denying and slow-walking applications for nonprofit status from conservative groups. Flax was part of the group of IRS employees whose emails inexplicably disappeared due to hard drive crashes as Congress investigated. FGI has submitted numerous requests to obtain information regarding the previous IRS targeting scandal, as well as the proposal to beef up the IRS. In the case of one Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the IRS bizarrely responded that it had “no records” discussing the proposal to add 87,000 new agents to its workforce and $80 billion to its budget.

Peter McGinnis, spokesman for FGI, issued the following statement:

“It’s fascinating, and indicative of the level of dysfunction in government, that the same folks who were part of the Tea Party targeting 10 years ago would be tasked with managing a controversial program with such a tremendous potential for abuse. At the very least, this move is tone-deaf. Most certainly, it serves to heighten the fears that the amping up of the IRS may result in a repeat of the earlier scandal.”

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‘Wholly Inadequate’: Federal Agencies Have No System To Check Whether Remote Employees Are Actually Working

By Patrick Hauf (Washington Free Beacon)

August 27, 2022

Several federal agencies have no system in place to monitor whether remote workers are actually clocking in for the job—a fact one Republican senator said is “unacceptable and baffling” as the Biden administration pushes to expand telework options for its growing number of federal workers.

Four federal agencies told the Washington Free Beacon they have no specific oversight of remote employees: the Department of the Interior, Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Department of Housing and Urban Development. The agencies said their usual productivity measurements are adequate to track employees who shifted to remote work at the start of the pandemic. Sen. Richard Burr (R., N.C.) received a similar response from the Department of Labor when he asked about the agency’s telework policies—and said this justification is “wholly inadequate and non-responsive.”

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Ethics Scandal Ensnares Democrat Rep. Matt Cartwright, Top Donor

By Jacob Bliss (Breitbart)

August 25, 2022

Democrat Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA) appears to be involved in an ethics scandal after he was seen in a commercial praising his top donor’s law firm after he was filmed talking about his newly passed bill about water contamination at Camp Lejeune, according to Axios.

As members of Congress are forbidden to use official taxpayer-funded resources to promote themselves in a commercial or for campaign purposes, Cartwright was seen in the video clip praising the multi-million dollar law firm Parker Waichman and a partner, Jerry Parker, for their representation of U.S. servicemen and family members affected by water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Axios explained.

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Watchdog investigating whether student loan forgiveness order driven by politics

With the midterms quickly approaching, student loan forgiveness could have been a move to influence polling or court voters

August 25, 2022

(Washington, DC) – Today, the Functional Government Initiative (FGI) is opening an investigation into whether the student loan forgiveness executive order was driven by politics rather than sound policy or a defensible economic evaluation.

Yesterday, President Biden signed an executive order which would cancel student loans up to $10,000 for individuals who make under $125,000 a year annually or less than $250,000 annually per household. While some celebrated this announcement, the vast majority of Americans scorned at it. The presidential handout is projected to cost at least $570 billion according to some estimates and may yet contribute to already record inflation levels. The handout will only be available for the one-third of Americans who have college degrees while the two-thirds without a college degree will foot the bill.

Americans are stuck asking why now? Blue collar workers and those individuals who have already paid off their debts appear to be left holding the bag for paying someone else’s college tuition. Canceling student debt has been a long-time progressive goal of the Biden Administration. Huge spending decisions like this should be based on economic analyses and evaluations, not politics and opinion polling that the timing suggests may be the real drivers.

FGI’s inquiry seeks to find whether things such as polling, approval ratings, and midterm elections were factored into the decisions related to student loans and how student loan forgiveness decisions were communicated, including within the Department of Education, with outside special interests, with the White House, and with others. The Americans who are footing this bill deserve answers, and FGI is conducting this investigation to uncover them.

Peter McGinnis, spokesman for FGI, issued the following statement:

“The administration gave a handout to Americans with the highest earning potential while telling the two-thirds of Americans without college degrees or student debt they have to pay for it. Against the backdrop of the midterm elections and out of control inflation, the move appears directed at giving officials a talking point that they are putting money back in people’s pockets and relieving clear economic pain from the recession. All indications are that politics played a leading role in this massive subsidy, which appears to benefit a demographic being courted by the President’s party. The Americans who never went to college and those who saved and already paid off their loans deserve to know if they’re paying for someone else’s college due to inappropriate political considerations.”

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IRS claims it can find “no records” on an $80 billion increase in its budget

Agency that can’t find who leaked private taxpayer info also asserts no one in the agency discussed additional funds and 87,000 new employees provided in “Inflation Reduction Act.”

August 9, 2022

(Washington, DC) – Today, the Functional Government Initiative (FGI) announced transparency litigation against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) after the agency amazingly declared it had no records regarding an $80 billion proposed funding increase and an additional 87,000 employees included in the economic package referred to by its proponents as the “Inflation Reduction Act.” The proposals for drastically increased funding and staffing for the IRS were originally included in the Biden Administration’s fiscal year 2022 budget request.

Earlier this year, FGI began investigating the administration’s plan to flood the IRS with more taxpayer dollars for more agents and other things supposedly to increase compliance. The massive influx to the IRS would come amidst ongoing controversies of alleged political targeting and leaking of sensitive financial data. The original proposals also included a controversial attempt to monitor private transactions of more than $600, which would have affected nearly every taxpayer.

The IRS recently replied to FGI’s request for information by stating they have “no records” regarding any economic analysis, request for new agents, or resources, and they closed our case. With this response, the IRS is astonishingly claiming that it performed no analysis, there were no internal discussions and not a single mention by agency officials of these proposals, and there were no communications between IRS officials and the White House and Treasury officials regarding a plan to nearly double its budget and personnel. This would also indicate the agency has absolutely no plan for what to do with the additional funds, personnel, or resources.

After careful consideration, FGI is filing suit against the IRS to reveal what is really going on with these controversial proposals. We seek to uncover records if they do, in fact, exist. If it is true that the IRS has no records on this proposal, then Americans deserve answers regarding the dysfunction involved in keeping the IRS completely in the dark about a massive increase in the agency’s funding, staff, and resources.

Peter McGinnis, spokesman for FGI, issued the following statement:

“Not conducting an economic analysis or having any communications, not even a single email regarding one of the largest budget increases in agency history is hard to believe. If true, then it only goes to show that government spending has become so reckless that agencies are being handed billions of taxpayer dollars without first consulting with them about how those dollars will be spent. With all of the incredible dysfunction at the IRS – targeting organizations for political views, releasing taxpayer data they had promised to keep private – it is not surprising they would report they knew nothing about this proposal, but it should disturb every American.”

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HHS refuses to provide records revealing if cloth masks work or not

Watchdog sues after agency sits on findings of cloth masks studies

August 16, 2022

(Washington, DC) – Today, the Functional Government Initiative (FGI) announced transparency litigation against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) seeking records surrounding studies about the efficacy of cloth masks.

In January of this year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) revealed that their internal studies have shown that wearing cloth masks is not an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID. This revelation came after almost two years of HHS, along with its subsidiaries the CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recommending the use of cloth masks to stop the spread of COVID-19. During this time, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who leads NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) along with his role as an advisor to the White House, and other government leaders went on regular media tours encouraging mask mandates and dismissing those who questioned whether cloth masks were effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19. They quite possibly continued doing so after having access to the studies.

For more than two years, many Americans were subjected to mask mandates in most public places. Even months after reports were available calling into question the efficacy of cloth masks, numerous school districts across the United States continued to require children, the least susceptible demographic to COVID-19, to wear cloth masks in the classroom with the apparent backing of HHS. Even today, districts such as San Diego Unified require student masking. Americans deserve to know when HHS discovered that cloth masks were ineffective, why the results of these studies were kept from the public, and why HHS continued to recommend cloth masks when the data showed they were largely ineffective.

After this information was reported, FGI began seeking records surrounding internal studies on the efficacy of cloth masks and whether the agencies funded randomized control trials related to masks. While FGI has been willing to work with HHS and its subsidiaries, the agencies have not been forthcoming. The only way to now retrieve these records and make them accessible to the American public is through the courts. FGI has been forced to resort to litigation with HHS, NIH, and NIAID over their ongoing withholding of the requested records.

Peter McGinnis, spokesman for FGI, issued the following statement:

“When the CDC revealed that cloth masks were ineffective, they were stating what the American public already knew for months. Unfortunately, those who publicly questioned the efficacy of cloth masks prior to their announcement were dismissed or branded purveyors of misinformation, and worse by Dr. Fauci and other government officials. The American people deserve to know how long HHS was sitting on this data, if they even reviewed studies before making their recommendations for mandated masks, and why they continued to promote cloth masks after they knew they didn’t work to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

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Watchdog Sues Biden Administration Over Refusal to Provide Studies on Masks

By Zachary Stieber (The Epoch Times)

August 16, 2022

A watchdog group is suing the Biden administration for allegedly refusing to provide information on studies on the efficacy of cloth masks. Functional Government Initiative (FGI) says the Department of Health and Human Services and two subagencies have violated federal law by refusing to provide the information.

FGI in February sent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the department, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases seeking details on how the agencies have analyzed the effectiveness of cloth masks, including information on any studies the agencies have funded on the matter.

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