Missoulian: Tester wants accounting of groups reimbursed for suing government

Scrutiny of the Equal Access to Justice Act went bipartisan on Monday when Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., submitted a bill calling for a complete accounting of how much the fund pays people and groups that successfully sue the federal government.

Last summer, House Republicans proposed their own EAJA overhaul, which would limit who can request reimbursements and also tracks the money paid out. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., supported that measure.

In an interview on Monday, Tester said EAJA has been blamed for funding environmentalist lawsuits without looking at the full picture of the fund’s uses.

“Especially with Social Security and the Veterans Administration, we just don’t have a lot of facts out there about how the money is being utilized,” Tester said. “We don’t know how it’s impacting agency budgets. I thought it would be a good idea to get more information before we take steps to reform it.”

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