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Judicial Watch • Feldman v Bowser DC Budget 01967

Feldman v Bowser DC Budget 01967

Feldman v Bowser DC Budget 01967

Page 1: Feldman v Bowser DC Budget 01967

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Number of Pages:9

Date Created:November 9, 2015

Date Uploaded to the Library:November 17, 2015

Tags:019671, bowser, Autonomy, portion, charter, FELDMAN, mayor, local, Budget, Columbia, Council, Congress, president, defendant, filed, Obama, plaintiff, request, document, district, court


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Case 1:15-cv-01967-EGS Document Filed 11/06/15 Page THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT COLUMBIA
CLARICE FELDMAN,
Plaintiff,
MURIEL BOWSER, her official capacity Mayor the District Columbia,
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, 20004,
and
JEFFREY DeWITT, his official
capacity Chief Financial Officer for
the District Columbia,
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, 20004,
Defendants.
Civil Action No.
COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
Plaintiff Clarice Feldman, and through her attorneys, brings this action for declaratory
and injunctive relief against Defendants Muriel Bowser, her official capacity Mayor
the District Columbia, and Jeffrey DeWitt, his official capacity Chief Financial
Officer for the District Columbia. grounds therefor, Plaintiff alleges follows:
PARTIES
residing
Plaintiff Clarice Feldman taxpayer the District Columbia District She has been District taxpayer and
has resided that address since 1979. District taxpayer, Plaintiff has the right initiate
suit prevent the unlawful expenditure local taxpayer funds. See District Columbia
Case 1:15-cv-01967-EGS Document Filed 11/06/15 Page
Common Cause District Columbia, 858 F.2d (D.C. Cir. 1988); see also Ehm San
Antonio City Council, 269 Fed. Appx. 375 (5th Cir. 2008).
Muriel Bowser the Mayor the District Columbia Mayor Mayor, Defendant Bowser the the chief executive officer the District
government, and responsible for the proper execution all laws relating the District.
D.C. Code 204.22. 21. particular, Defendant Bowser charge the administration the financial affairs the District except the extent responsibilities have been assigned
the Chief Financial Officer CFO Id. 204.48(a). Thus, she responsible for all
financial transactions, has custody all public funds belonging under the control the
District, and required apportion all appropriations and funds made available during the
fiscal year for obligation. Id. 204.48(a)(1), (7), (9). She also required transmit the
federal portion the budget the President for submission Congress. Id. 204.46(a). July 2015, Defendant Bowser submitted the District Fiscal Year 2016
Budget Act 2015 President Barack Obama. the transmittal letter, Defendant Bowser
stated, This the first time have passed budget under the provisions our Budget
Autonomy Act. Unlike previous Budget Request Acts, this year act has been reviewed and
voted twice our Council. addition, Defendant Bowser wrote, recognize the
continued need for appropriation the federal payment portions our budget but believe
that the provisions relating the local portion our budget will into effect without
separate appropriation following legislative-day period passive Congressional review.
Defendant Jeffrey DeWitt the CFO for the District Columbia. CFO, Defendant DeWitt required certify and approve payment all
bills, invoices, payrolls, and other evidences claims, demands, charges against the District
Case 1:15-cv-01967-EGS Document Filed 11/06/15 Page
government, and determin[e] the regularity, legality, and correctness such bills, invoices,
payrolls, claims, demands, charges. D.C. Code 204.24d(16); see also id.
204.24d(21) (requiring the CFO [a]dminister[] the centralized District government payroll
and retirement systems
Defendant DeWitt also specifically required prepare under the direction
the Mayor the budget for submission the Mayor the Council and the public and upon
final adoption Congress and the public. Id. 204.24d(26); see also id.
204.24d(2) (charging the CFO with preparing the 5-year financial plan based upon the adopted
budget for submission with the District Columbia budget Congress Id.
204.24d(25) (requiring the CFO [p]repar[e] fiscal impact statements legislation
JURISDICTION
The Court has original subject matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant
U.S.C. 1331.
The Court has authority issue declaratory judgment and further necessary
proper relief pursuant U.S.C. 2201 and 2202.
VENUE
10.
Venue proper the Court because the actions Defendants complained
herein have occurred and shall occur this district. U.S.C. 1391(b).
FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS
11.
Article Section Clause the U.S. Constitution vests Congress with the
power exercise exclusive legislation all Cases whatsoever over the District Columbia.
12. 1973, Congress enacted the District Columbia Self-Government and
Governmental Reorganization Act the Home Rule Act later codified D.C. Code
Case 1:15-cv-01967-EGS Document Filed 11/06/15 Page
201.01, seq. The Home Rule Act constitutes limited delegation Congress authority over
the District the District residents. Id. 1-201.02.
13.
Among the provisions the Home Rule Act the Charter the District
Columbia the Charter which establish[es] the means governance the District and sets
forth the basic organizational structure the District government. D.C. Code 1-203.01. The
Charter codified D.C. Code 1-204.1 through 1-204.115.
14.
The Charter mandates that each year the Mayor prepare and submit proposed
budget the Council the District Columbia Council Id. 1-204.42.
15.
For purposes both the Charter and the Home Rule Act, the term budget
defined the entire request for appropriations and loan spending authority for all activities all agencies the District financed from all existing proposed resources and shall include
both operating and capital expenditures. Id. 1-201.03(15).
16.
The Charter also mandates that the Council adopt budget for the District,
majority vote or, the Mayor disapproved the budget adopted the Council, two-thirds
majority vote, within certain period time after receipt the Mayor budget proposal. See,
e.g., id. 1-204.46(a).
17.
Until purported amendment 2013, the Charter further mandated that the
Mayor submit the District budget, adopted the Council, the President for transmission Congress. Congress, turn, considered the District budget part the annual federal
appropriations process.
18. other words, enactment the District annual budget required not only
approval majority two-thirds vote the Council, but also affirmative appropriation
passed both Houses Congress and presented the President for signing. Congress retained
Case 1:15-cv-01967-EGS Document Filed 11/06/15 Page
full authority amend, adopt, ignore the budget adopted the District, open-ended
timeframe, with without consulting with the District.
19.
With certain exceptions not relevant here, the Charter expressly provides that
amount may obligated expended any officer employee the District Columbia
government unless such amount has been approved Act Congress, and then only according such Act. Id. 1-204.46(c).
20.
The Home Rule Act prohibits the District from amending certain portions the
Charter, including the Charter budget provisions. Id. 1-203.03(d), 1-206.02(a)(3), 1206.03(a), and 1-206.03(e). Only Act Congress can amend these portions the Charter.
21. December 18, 2012, the Council passed the Budget Autonomy Act, which was
signed then-Mayor Vincent Gray January 18, 2013. Because the Budge Autonomy Act
purported amend the Charter, was required ratified the District voters
referendum order become law. The District voters ratified the Budge Autonomy Act
April 23, 2013 referendum.
22.
The Budget Autonomy Act purports make two significant changes the
Charter. First, divides the District budget into two components local portion and
federal portion and changes the process which the budget becomes law. Although the
terms local portion and federal portion are not defined either the Budget Autonomy Act
the Home Rule Act, appears that local portion refers that segment the District budget
derived from local sources, including District Columbia income, sales, and property tax
revenues and fees. Approximately two-thirds the District budget stems from such local
revenues and fees.
Case 1:15-cv-01967-EGS Document Filed 11/06/15 Page
23.
Instead the Mayor submitting the entire budget the President for
transmission Congress and both Houses Congress passing appropriation for presentment the President, the Budget Autonomy Act calls for the Council Chairman submit the local
portion the budget the Speaker the House Representatives. Congress does not pass joint resolution disapproving the local portion the budget within days, becomes law.
Only the federal portion the budget submitted the President the Mayor for
transmission Congress. The federal portion only becomes law when both Houses
Congress pass appropriation that presented the President for signing.
24.
Second, pursuant this revised process, the Budget Autonomy Act purportedly
grants the District authority incur obligations and expend local tax and fee revenue without
appropriation passed both Houses Congress and presented the President for signing.
25.
After the Budget Autonomy Act took effect, the District Attorney General
issued formal opinion advising then-Mayor Gray that should not enforce the law because
violated the Home Rule Act and therefore was unlawful.
26. the advice the Attorney General and their own accord, then-Mayor Gray
and Defendant DeWitt notified the Council that they believed the Budget Autonomy Act
unlawful and would not enforce it.
27. April 17, 2014, the Council filed suit, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief
against then-Mayor Gray and Defendant DeWitt their official capacities. Specifically, the
Council sought declaration that the Budget Autonomy Act valid and injunction
compelling the enforcement the law.
Case 1:15-cv-01967-EGS Document Filed 11/06/15 Page
28.
The parties subsequently cross-moved for summary judgment, and, May 19,
2014, the U.S. District Court for the District Columbia District Court found the Budget
Autonomy Act unlawful and permanently enjoined all parties from enforcing it.
29.
The Council immediately appealed the District Court ruling the U.S. Court
Appeals for the District Columbia Circuit D.C. Circuit After briefing and oral argument,
but prior opinion being issued the D.C. Circuit, Muriel Bowser was elected Mayor
the District, sworn into office, and substituted appellee place Mayor Gray.
30.
Upon being substituted in, February 23, 2015, Mayor Bowser advised the D.C.
Circuit that, contrary the District Court ruling, she believed the Budget Autonomy Act
valid, and, absent judgment restraining her actions, intended comply with its requirements. March 24, 2015, Mayor Bowers filed motion dismiss the appeal for mootness and
requested that the appellate court vacate the District Court judgment that she could adhere
the Budget Autonomy Act.
31. May 27, 2015, the D.C. Circuit dismissed the appeal and vacated the District
Court judgment mootness grounds.
32.
Although the only court rule the merits the Budget Autonomy Act found
the law unlawful, the District enacted its Fiscal Year 2016 Budget through the process
established the Budget Autonomy Act.
33.
The Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request Act 2015 FY16 Budget Request
which includes both the federal and local portions the District budget, was introduced
April 2015. The first reading occurred May 27, 2015. The final reading occurred June
10, 2015.
Case 1:15-cv-01967-EGS Document Filed 11/06/15 Page
34.
The FY16 Budget Request was submitted the Mayor July 2015 and
approved her that day.
35.
Pursuant the Budget Autonomy Act, the Mayor submitted the entire FY16
Budget Request the President for him transmit Congress the federal portion the FY16
Budget Request.
36. July 17, 2015, pursuant the Budget Autonomy Act, the Council Chairman
transmitted the local portion the FY16 Budget Request the Speaker the House
Representatives and the President the Senate.
37.
Congress did not pass joint resolution within days July 17, 2015
disapproving the local portion the FY16 Budget Request.
38.
The local portion the FY16 Budget Request, therefore, purportedly became
effective September 29, 2015.
39.
Since Fiscal Year 2016 began October 2015, the District has been incurring
obligations and expending monies, including local taxpayer funds, pursuant the FY16 Budget
Request, that have not been appropriated Congress and presented the President for signing.
COUNT ONE
(Taxpayer Action Declaratory and Injunctive Relief)
40.
Plaintiff realleges paragraphs 1-39 though fully restated herein.
41.
The Budget Autonomy Act violates the Home Rule Act and illegal, unlawful,
and ultra vires.
42. complying with the Budget Autonomy Act, Defendants have caused and are
causing the District incur illegal, unlawful, and ultra vires obligations local taxpayer funds
Case 1:15-cv-01967-EGS Document Filed 11/06/15 Page
and have caused and are causing the District make illegal, unlawful, and ultra vires
expenditures local taxpayer funds.
43.
Defendants illegal, unlawful, and ultra vires actions have injured and are injuring
Plaintiff irreparably her interests taxpayer and will continue injure Plaintiff irreparably
unless and until Defendants are enjoined from incurring such obligations and making such
expenditures otherwise ordered cease and desist.
44.
Plaintiff has adequate alternative remedy law.
45.
Defendants illegal, unlawful, and ultra vires actions have injured and are injuring
Plaintiff manner that warrants relief.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays that the Court: (a) declare the Budget Autonomy Act unlawful; (b) declare the local portion the FY16 Budget Request unlawful; (c) enjoin
Defendants from incurring further illegal, unlawful, and ultra vires obligations local taxpayer
funds making further illegal, unlawful, and ultra vires expenditures local taxpayer funds
the local portion the FY16 Budget Request; (d) award Plaintiff reasonable attorneys fees and
costs; and (e) order such other and further relief the Court finds just and equitable.
Dated: November 2015
Respectfully submitted,
/s/ Michael Bekesha
Michael Bekesha
D.C. Bar No. 995749
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
425 Third Street SW, Suite 800
Washington, 20024
Phone: (202) 646-5172
Counsel for Plaintiff Clarice Feldman