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Grassley works for IRS accountability PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 21 June 2013 10:31

Grassley Seeks IRS Answers on Potential $70 Million in Union Bonuses

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is pressing for answers from the IRS about why the agency is apparently on track to give $70 million in discretionary bonuses to union members contrary to guidance from the White House Office of Management and Budget and despite providing the union written notice on March 25, 2013, that it intended to eliminate the bonuses.

“The IRS says it’s legally obligated to comply with its bargaining agreement,” Grassley said.  “But the bargaining agreement says award funding is granted ‘within applicable budget limitations’ and can be changed with 60 days’ notice.  If the IRS thinks it has to pay the bonuses, then why did it give notice in March that it was eliminating the awards?  The IRS needs explain that notice and make it available to the public.”

Grassley said he received insight from a person with knowledge of IRS budgetary procedures alleging the agency is failing to take all legal steps to stop the bonuses to union members.

This information follows a revelation several weeks ago that the IRS has paid out more than $92 million in bonuses during the Obama administration.  Lois Lerner is the director of the IRS division that targeted political groups for scrutiny.  She pled the Fifth to avoid answering questions from Congress and is currently on paid administrative leave.  But, since 2009, she received more than $42,000 in bonuses.  Joseph Grant, the former head of the agency’s tax exemption division, received $84,000.  Former Acting Commissioner Steven Miller received approximately $100,000 in bonuses since 2009.

An April 4, 2013, directive from the Office of Management and Budget instructs agencies to cease all discretionary bonuses during sequestration.  Grassley wrote to the acting IRS Commissioner this week to seek information about the status of the situation.  His letter is available here.

“The public deserves a full explanation, and I’m working to get it from the IRS,” Grassley said.


4th Recall Since March due to Salmonella Issued by Natura Pet Products PDF Print E-mail
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Written by James Judge   
Friday, 21 June 2013 10:25

CHICAGO – Doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners are urging people to stop using and return or discard certain Natura Pet Products food and treats after the company issued another recall due to potential Salmonella contamination Tuesday.

On March 18, the company issued a voluntary recall due to the presence of salmonella being found during routine testing performed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture.

On March 29, the company issued an expansion of their original recall citing the same reason as before and adding that the Georgia Department of Agriculture had also confirmed the presence of Salmonella.

On April 19, the company issued a further expansion of the original recall stating the same reasons as before and adding that this was being done out of an abundance of caution.

Most recently, on Tuesday, Natura Pet Products issued a press release recalling specific lots of dry pet food citing the potential for the food to be contaminated with Salmonella, after routine testing performed by the Food and Drug Administration tested positive for Salmonella.

The most current release states, “Natura is voluntarily recalling all products with expiration dates prior to June 10, 2014.”
According to the release, the affected products are sold in bags through veterinary clinics, select pet specialty retailers, and online in the United States and Canada. No canned wet food is affected by this announcement.
People who have the potentially contaminated product should discard it immediately and stop handling it as it poses a risk to humans as well.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Common symptoms of salmonella in pets include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, fever and abdominal discomfort.

“Any time you notice your pet is not acting right, you should take him or her to your family veterinarian as soon as possible,” said Dr. Neil Shaw, chief medical officer of BluePearl. “If it is an after-hours emergency, we would be glad to help at any one of our locations.”

The affected products are:

Innova Dry dog and cat food and biscuits/bars/treats    All Lot Codes, All UPC's, All package sizes     All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014

EVO dry dog, cat and ferret food and biscuits/bars/treats       All Lot Codes, All UPC's, All package sizes     All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014

California Natural dry dog and cat foods and biscuits/bars/treats       All Lot Codes, All UPC's, All package sizes     All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014

Healthwise dry dog and cat foods        All Lot Codes, All UPC's, All package sizes     All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
Karma dry dog foods     All Lot Codes, All UPC's, All package sizes     All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014

Mother Nature biscuits/bars/treats      All Lot Codes, All UPC's, All package sizes     All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
Natura Pet Products also said in their release that consumers looking for additional information, product replacement or a refund should call Natura toll-free at 800-224-6123. (Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM CST).

BluePearl Veterinary Partners does not carry any of the recalled products.

About BluePearl Veterinary Partners
Formed in 2008, BluePearl Veterinary Partners is headquartered in Tampa, Fla., and employs more than 1,200 people including approximately 250 veterinarians. BluePearl hospitals are referral-only and don’t provide primary care. Most BluePearl hospitals offer 24-hour emergency care services. BluePearl is one of the world’s principal providers of approved veterinary residency and internship educational programs. BluePearl also participates in and conducts clinical trials to study the effectiveness of new drugs and treatments, which give clients access to cutting-edge medicine not yet commercially available and improves the quality of care delivered to our patients.

Will Your Beneficiaries Beat the Odds? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 21 June 2013 09:56
Tips for Helping Your Family Survive
the ‘3 Generations’ Rule

Two-thirds of baby boomers will inherit a total $7.6 trillion in their lifetimes, according to the Boston College Center for Retirement Research -- that’s $1.7 trillion more than China’s 2012 GDP.

But they’ll lose 70 percent of that legacy, and not because of taxes. By the end of their children’s lives -- the third generation -- nine of 10 family fortunes will be gone.

“The third-generation rule is so true, it’s enshrined in Chinese proverb: ‘Wealth never survives three generations,’ ” says John Hartog of Hartog & Baer Trust and Estate Law, ( “The American version of that is ‘shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.”

There are a number of reasons that happens, and most of them are preventable say Hartog; CPA Jim Kohles, chairman of RINA accountancy corporation, (; and wealth management expert Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo, CEO of Pillar Wealth Management, (

How can the current generation of matriarchs, patriarchs and their beneficiaries beat the odds? All three financial experts say the solutions involve honest conversations – the ones families often avoid because they can be painful – along with passing along family values and teaching children from a young age how to manage money.

• “Give them some money now and see how they handle it.” Many of the “wealth builders,” the first generation who worked so hard to build the family fortune, teach their children social responsibility; to take care of their health; to drive safely. “But they don’t teach them financial responsibility; they think they’ll get it by osmosis,” says estate lawyer Hartog.

If those children are now middle-aged, it’s probably too late for that. But the first generation can see what their offspring will do with a sudden windfall of millions by giving them a substantial sum now – without telling them why.

“I had a client who gave both children $500,000. After 18 months, one child had blown through the money and the other had turned it into $750, 000,” Hartog says.

Child A will get his inheritance in a restricted-access trust.

• “Be willing to relinquish some control.” Whether it’s preparing one or more of their children to take over the family business, or diverting some pre-inheritance wealth to them, the first generation often errs by retaining too much control, says CPA Kohles.

“We don’t give our successor the freedom to fail,” Kohles says. “If they don’t fail, they don’t learn, so they’re not prepared to step up when the time comes.”

In the family business, future successors need to be able to make some decisions that don’t require the approval of the first generation, Kohles says. With money, especially for 1st-generation couples with more than $10 million (the first $5 million of inheritance from each parent is not subject to the estate tax), parents need to plan for giving away some of their wealth before they die. That not only allows the beneficiaries to avoid a 40 percent estate tax, it helps them learn to manage the money.

• “Give your beneficiaries the opportunity to build wealth, and hold family wealth meetings.” The first generation works and sacrifices to make the family fortune, so often the second generation doesn’t have to and the third generation is even further removed from that experience, says wealth manager Ashoo.

“The best way they’re going to be able to help preserve the wealth is if they understand what goes into creating it and managing it – not only the work, but the values and the risks,” Ashoo says.

The first generation should allocate seed money to the second generation for business, real estate or some other potentially profitable venture, he says.

Holding ongoing family wealth meetings with your advisors is critical to educating beneficiaries, as well as passing along family and wealth values, Ashoo says. It also builds trust between the family and the primary advisors.

Ashoo tells of a recent experience chatting with two deca-millionaires aboard a yacht in the Bahamas.

“They both built major businesses and sold them,” Ashoo says. “At this point, it’s no longer about what their money will do for them -- it’s about what the next generations will do with their money.”

About John Hartog, Jim Kohles & Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo

John Hartog is a partner at Hartog & Baer Trust and Estate Law. He is a certified specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law, and taxation law. Jim Kohles is chairman of the board of RINA accountancy corporation. He is a certified public accountant specializing in business consulting, succession and retirement planning, and insurance. Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo is the CEO of Pillar Wealth Management, LLC, specializing in client-centered wealth management. All three are based in Walnut Creek, Calif., and advise ultra affluent families.

Curbing excessive taxpayer-funded salaries for government contractors PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 21 June 2013 09:53


A Government Report Released Today Found That Thousands of Government Contractors Currently Make More Than the Vice President

New Legislation Would Limit Taxpayer-Funded Reimbursement to $230,700 per Year, Extend Cap to All Contractor Employees


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) today introduced the Commonsense Contractor Compensation Act of 2013, bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would cap the maximum amount taxpayers reimburse all government contractors for their salaries at the same amount as the Vice President’s salary, currently $230,700.

In a report released on Wednesday, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that reducing this cap to $230,700 would have saved at least $440 million annually for the years 2010-2012 just among the 27 contractors that provided data to the GAO – companies that together accounted for just 7 percent of Defense Department contract obligations for 2012.

“This stunning GAO report shows that thousands of government contractors are raking in taxpayer-funded salaries that are significantly more than what the Vice President of the United States and members of the President’s Cabinet make,” Senator Boxer said. “Taxpayers should not be on the hook for exorbitant government contractor salaries, and this bill will crack down on this waste of taxpayer dollars.”

“The direct taxpayer-funded salaries of contractors government-wide clearly need to be contained, and this legislation is designed to do so in a comprehensive way,” Senator Grassley said. “There’s no justification for taxpayer-funded payments to be higher than the salary of the President’s cabinet members.”  


“To the people of West Virginia, it doesn’t make any sense that taxpayers are paying executive contractors almost four times as much as we pay the Vice President or the Secretary of Defense,” Senator Manchin said. “This commonsense proposal does not prevent contractors from earning higher salaries than this limitation; but now, taxpayers won’t foot the bill. I am encouraged that this bill shares bipartisan support and will continue to work with both Democrats and Republicans to finally cap the compensation of executive contractors.”

“When taxpayer-funded federal contractors take home up to four times the amount our military leadership earns, it is a problem that needs to be addressed,” Congressman Tonko said. “This legislation is well overdue and the recently released report from the GAO that our bill will save taxpayers billions of dollars every year only reinforces the need to act now. I thank Senators Boxer, Grassley and Manchin for their leadership on this issue and look forward to continuing our work to put a stop to this wasteful and inefficient spending in Washington.”

The Obama Administration recently came out in support of efforts to limit excessive pay for federal contractors, and predicted that it would save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Right now, government contractors can bill taxpayers as much as $763,000 to pay for the salaries of their top five executives – an increase in real terms of 63 percent since the cap was set in 1998. Unless Congress acts soon to rein in these limits, the salary cap for top executives is expected to rise again – to $950,000 later this year.

The Commonsense Contractor Compensation Act would not only lower the salary cap to $230,700 – it would also extend the cap to cover all defense and civilian contractor employees. Currently, the $763,000 cap applies only to the salaries of defense contractors and the five leading executives of non-defense government contractors. Other employees of non-defense contractors can and do earn taxpayer-funded amounts in excess of the current benchmark.

The legislation includes a narrow exemption to the cap for scientists, engineers and other specialists if an agency determines it is necessary to ensure access to individuals with specialized skills. Additionally, the measure would only limit what an executive or other employee is paid by the federal government – the employee could still receive additional compensation from the contractor’s other revenue streams.

Boxer and her colleagues have been working for several years to curb excessive taxpayer-funded salaries for government contractors. The new bill builds on their previous measures to limit taxpayer-funded salaries for defense contractor employees, which were included as part of the Senate-passed defense authorization bills in 2012 and 2011.


CCA Names Dr. John Baxter Vice President, Health Services PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Mike Machak   
Friday, 21 June 2013 09:04

With 30 years of correctional health care experience, Dr. Baxter is well-equipped to lead inmate health services in today's evolving health care climate

Nashville, TN.CCA, America's leader in partnership corrections, announces the appointment of Dr. John Baxter to Vice President, Health Services, effective June 8, 2013.  Dr. Baxter currently serves as Director, Mental Health Services for CCA.  He will replace the retiring Herb Spiwak.

"It is an honor and great privilege to lead CCA's dedicated team of health care professionals.  CCA offers the unique opportunity to serve society and our partners as we provide effective care to persons in need," said Dr. Baxter.  "The work we accomplish together improves health, eases suffering, and saves lives daily.  I'm humbled and deeply grateful for the opportunity to engage with others in this effort."

Dr. Baxter brings more than 30 years of experience working in correctional health care.  Prior to his joining CCA in 2008, he worked for 24 years for the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) in a variety of roles, including as the agency's Psychology Services Administrator.

In his new position as Vice President of Health Services, Dr. Baxter is tasked with the responsibility of overseeing inmate medical, mental health, and dental care services, pharmaceutical management, and off-site specialty care and hospitalization services for over 52,000 inmates.

"CCA brings together the best people in the industry, who are very creative in meeting the challenges we face," comments Dr. Baxter.  "The support of our coworkers in security, programs, unit management and other operations makes a huge difference in the quality of care we are able to provide."

In addition to the unique role security plays in providing quality inmate health care, Dr. Baxter understands that the evolving landscape of health care will weigh heavily in the decision-making processes of his new role.

"The landscape of health care is changing, and that brings challenges as well as great opportunities to build relationships with staff and others that support our critical processes," said Dr. Baxter.  "Our staff do an exceptional job currently, by every policy and accreditation standard, and I look forward to building on that solid foundation."

Dr. Baxter has a doctoral degree in human development counseling from Vanderbilt University and a master's degree from Harding Graduate School of Religion.  He is a member of the American Correctional Association, where he serves as an elected mental health representative to the Delegate Assembly, as a member of the Healthcare Committee, and Chairs ACA's Mental Health Committee.  He is also a member of the American Psychological Association.

About CCA
CCA is the nation’s largest provider of partnership corrections to federal, state and local government, operating more than 60 facilities, including more than 40 company-owned facilities, with more than 90,000 beds, in 20 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to providing the residential services for inmates, CCA facilities offer rehabilitation and educational programs, including education, vocation, religious services, life skills and employment training and substance abuse treatment.

See how CCA is making a difference at:

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