Business & Economy
Grassley, Issa Continue to Probe SEC Conflict of Interest in Madoff Scandal PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 04 March 2011 00:00

WASHINGTON – Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Senator Chuck Grassley and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa today sent a letter requesting information from the former general counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission on seemingly obvious, significant conflicts of interest in the Bernie Madoff fraud case.

“Given the anger that victims justifiably felt for the SEC’s failure to catch Madoff sooner, it is difficult to understand how you and other SEC officials would not realize the strong appearance of impropriety created by your participation in Madoff matters after receiving proceeds from a Madoff account,” Grassley and Issa wrote to former general counsel David Becker.

Grassley and Issa’s letter follows their letter earlier in the week to SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro on the case.

Based on a staff review of SEC documents and an interview of Becker, it appears Schapiro allowed Becker to advise and represent the SEC in the Madoff case without fully, properly examining the conflicts of interest presented by Becker’s personal financial interest, among other concerns.

The text of the Grassley-Issa letter to Becker is available here.

Weekly Column: A Start-up in Sully Illuminates Need for Patent Reform PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Friday, 04 March 2011 00:00

By U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley


The President’s recent State of the Union address reminded me of a visit I made last summer to a start-up company in Jasper County. This award-winning lighting company illuminates how the U.S. patent system needs to keep up with the 21st century economy.


Prism Projection, Inc., headquartered in Sully, has 19 employees collaborating their talents in engineering, software, electronics, and manufacturing.  The company continues to innovate and grow as a pioneer in its field by designing eco-friendly, high-quality lighting solutions for the entertainment and architectural industries.


The founder of Prism Projection attributes a big part of its success to recent patent approvals that have allowed the rural-based company to “grow and continue hiring.” His company exemplifies why it’s so important to Main Street start-ups to make patent protection an economic priority and to improve the patent system so it is more workable and efficient.

The current U.S. patent system is mired in uncertainty, inefficiencies, and a morass of litigation. Creators of new technologies and products are left vulnerable to abusive lawsuits.  Too often inventors with good ideas are left hanging in the wind for investment capital while their patent applications are clogged in the system.  U.S. entrepreneurs, innovators and investors languish under a federal patent system that has not been significantly updated in more than 60 years.

The United States can’t “out-innovate, out-educate and out-build” our competitors when America’s best and brightest inventors are out-of-luck with a federal patent system woefully out-of-date (the U.S. Patent Office only recently began accepting the lion’s share of its patent applications digitally) and out-of-touch (patent applicants can wait years for an initial ruling) with the way businesses are run in the global economy. Inefficiencies in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are undermining America’s road to economic recovery, growth and job creation.

That’s why I’m working to advance long overdue bipartisan patent reform legislation that would help put America’s researchers, entrepreneurs, engineers and inventors back in the driver’s seat.

The America Invents Act would protect inventors’ rights and encourage innovation and investment in our economy.  The bill would improve transparency and third party participation in the patent application review process.  This, in turn, would strengthen patent quality and result in more fairness to both patent holders and patent challengers.  The bill would institute beneficial changes to the patent process to curb litigation abuses and improve certainty for investors and innovators.  It would also help companies do business more efficiently on an international basis.  And, finally, the bill would enhance operations of the Patent and Trademark Office with administrative reforms and give the office fee-setting authority to reduce backlogs and better manage its business.

The U.S. inventor widely credited for “inventing” the light bulb effectively “out-innovated” his competitors in the late 19th century through tireless scientific research and engineering. When the U.S. Patent Office granted patent 223,898 in January 1880, just two months after filing his application, Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb would soon revolutionize electrical lighting in America.

The "Wizard of Menlo Park" and the wizards of Prism Projection, Inc. turned their bright ideas into patentable products and intellectual property that give consumers what they want. An effective, efficient patent system can help create jobs and prosperity for starts-ups on Main Street. Clearing up the backlog and making the patent system more accountable also will help make Iowa’s manufacturing, agricultural and academic research giants, such as Rockwell Collins, Inc., Deere & Company and Pioneer Hi-Bred International, more competitive in the global economy.

Unleashing America’s inventors, scientists, researchers and investors from a patent system that’s stuck in the last century is key to our long-term prosperity.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Braley Works to End Tax Breaks for Big Oil Companies PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Thursday, 03 March 2011 08:41
Fights to create Iowa jobs, energize renewable fuels industry

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) introduced a bill to end tax breaks for big oil companies. The Clean Energy Jobs Act will use the savings from these tax breaks to create jobs in Iowa, boost the renewable fuels industry and pay down the national deficit. Ending oil industry tax breaks will save about $43 billion over the next ten years.

“Big oil companies are making record profits and at the same time, they’re collecting tax breaks from the government,” said Rep. Braley. “If we end just a few of these tax breaks, we can create good-paying jobs in Iowa and still have funds left over to reduce our national deficit by billions.”

The Clean Energy Jobs bill repeals oil industry tax breaks and extends ethanol and biodiesel tax credits through 2016. The current tax breaks for these renewable fuels expire at the end of 2011.

“For years, oil companies have raised prices at the pump, made Americans pay for their record profits and threatened American security by making us more dependent on foreign oil,” said Rep. Braley. “But instead of investing in renewable fuels, Republicans are funneling taxpayer dollars right back into the pockets of big oil. This bill is a chance for Congress to break that cycle and do something responsible for our nation, while also creating good jobs in Iowa.”  


TAG Employee Achieves Google AdWords Certification PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Mike Vondran   
Thursday, 03 March 2011 08:40

As part of a continued digital focus at TAG Communications Inc. employee Brian Marshall has recently attained individual Google AdWords Certification.

To attain certification, individuals must pass a rigorous Google Advertising Fundamentals test, as well as passing one specific area of concentration. Marshall concentrated on Search Advertising, but plans on working towards completing the other two modules in Display Advertising and Reporting & Analysis.

Marshall says going through this process was challenging, but really helped him learn the value online advertising opportunities and the differences in existing approaches.

“A lot of people are swiftly becoming web experts, but it’s difficult to document that expertise and we felt it was important to undertake a legitimate process that will allow our experiences to resonate in this market,” Marshall said.

In his current position, Marshall handles Google AdWords campaigns, social media functionalities and researching emerging online marketing tools for TAG and the firm’s base of clients. According to Google’s online listings, the nearest partner firms outside of Chicago are in Rockford, Illinois and Omaha, Nebraska.

“We plan to continue our emphasis in digital and online markets, and Brian’s professional accomplishment helps to validate the service we’ve already been giving our existing clients,” said Mike Vondran, TAG Communications President & CEO.

Based in the Quad Cities, TAG Communications is a full service marketing services provider serving businesses in nearly every industry. Since its founding in 1990, The company has specialized in strategic analysis and creative solutions that achieve results via the staff’s creative, responsive and cost-effective service to their clients throughout the nation.


Braley Works to Help Small Businesses PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Thursday, 03 March 2011 00:00
Washington, DC – March 3, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) voted to help small businesses by repealing the burdensome “1099” provision of the health care law, which was added by the Senate. The Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act, sponsored by Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) and co-sponsored by Rep. Braley, passed with a vote of 314 to 112 in the House today. Rep. Braley released the following statement:

“Small business owners need to focus on running their businesses and creating jobs – they don’t need additional burdensome regulations,” said Rep. Braley. “I’ve heard from business owners in my district in Iowa and they’ve told me that the 1099 provision increases the cost of doing business and puts an unfair burden on them. I’m glad the House took action today to repeal this provision and help small businesses in my state and across the country.”


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