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United Planet Volunteer Donates $8,000 to Tanzanian School PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kristen Brandt   
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 10:28
United Planet volunteer alumnus, Adam Dodge, donates his charity award to United Planet’s elementary school project in Tanzania to build a computer lab

Boston, MA, April 17, 2013 – Adam Dodge, a former United Planet volunteer who taught English at an elementary school in Tanzania in 2008, recently donated $8,000 to the school to support the construction of a new computer lab.

United Planet, an international non-profit based in Boston, MA, works with local projects in over 40 countries to provide cross-cultural experiences for both travelers and host communities. After working in the computer technology industry for many years, Adam Dodge felt it was time for change, and for him, it was the perfect time to take the leap and volunteer abroad. Says Dodge, “It sounds like it’s really hard to do, but when you take a step back and look into it, it’s really a lot easier than you think.”

Dodge wanted a challenging experience in a place where he could also give back, so he decided to participate in a United Planet Volunteer Abroad Quest to Tanzania. Dodge took eight months off to travel and volunteer, and his time volunteering in Tanzania, he says, was clearly the highlight of the trip. “I’ve gained more than I could have imagined,” says Dodge, “You take away more from [the experience] than you feel like you are giving.”

So, naturally, when Dodge received last year’s annual Outstanding Contribution to the Firm Award from his employer along with $10,000 to donate to the charities of his choice,

IRS on accessing taxpayer emails PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 16 April 2013 14:47
Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today pressed the head of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to account for recent media reports stating that agency internal documents say agents have the ability to access taxpayer emails without warrants, despite a court opinion to the contrary.  Grassley questioned Steven T. Miller, acting commissioner, at a Finance Committee hearing this morning.   The media reports indicate the IRS has taken the position that it can access taxpayer emails without a warrant under the Electronic Communication Privacy Act.   While the Act does allow federal agencies to obtain electronic communications from a remote computing service without a search warrant, provided they are older than 180 days, this position is contrary to the 6th Circuit’s decision in U.S. v. Warshak. In Warshak, the court held that a search warrant is necessary to obtain any content of an email, regardless of age.  The Department of Justice has extended this policy to all circuits.   Grassley has long worked to expand taxpayer rights, winning approval of the first-ever Taxpayer Bill of Rights in 1988 and a sequel enacted in 1996.  The legislation codified rights and protections for taxpayers in dealing with the IRS after a series of abuses came to light and were the subject of congressional hearings.

Grassley made the following comment on the IRS’ email access policy.

“The IRS has a very high burden to treat taxpayers within legal bounds and without abusive intrusion of privacy.  The agency’s written materials suggest agents have the ability to access taxpayer emails without warrants.   Acting Commissioner Miller said today this isn’t the agency position.  If it’s not agency policy or practice, the IRS needs to clarify the true policy in writing, agency-wide.  That’s critical.  But it’s not enough.  The IRS also needs to explain its aggressive stance in internal documents about accessing electronic communications and whether it in fact accessed electronic communications without search warrants and if so, when and why.  The IRS has to take this issue seriously, and a casual explanation is inadequate.  I’ll ask Acting Commissioner Miller follow-up questions on this issue to be answered in writing for the hearing record, as a start.”

Governor Quinn’s Statement on the Tragic Events in Boston PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ryan C. Woods   
Tuesday, 16 April 2013 14:30

Governor Pat Quinn today issued the below statement in response to today’s tragic events in Boston, Massachusetts:

“We are closely monitoring the developments in Boston and the people of Illinois stand with those impacted by today’s tragic explosions. As we wait for more details to become available, all of the runners, spectators, loved ones and first responders are in our thoughts and prayers.

“May God bless our emergency responders and the everyday people for their heroic efforts to help the wounded and save lives.

“I have directed all of the state’s public safety agencies – including the Illinois State Police, Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Illinois Department of Military Affairs and Office of the State Fire Marshal – to stand ready to assist and remain vigilant in responding to and reporting suspicious activity. As always, the people of Illinois should be aware of activities around them and report anything suspicious to local law enforcement officials.”


Loebsack Statement on the Explosions in Boston PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 16 April 2013 14:27

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today:

“The events that happened today in Boston are appalling. My thoughts and prayers are with all those injured and the families and loved ones of those who were lost.  I would like to thank the first responders, members of the National Guard, and all those who responded and provided assistance to those who needed it.  As a nation, we stand with the people of Boston.”


Immigration Advocates Respond to Senate Immigration Bill PDF Print E-mail
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Written by   
Monday, 15 April 2013 15:27
Families share reactions to the Senate Gang of 8's draft legislation and what it means going forward

(CHICAGO, 4/15/2013) — Today, the Senate Gang of 8 introduced its highly anticipated draft immigration bill after months of negotiations. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights along with families affected will react to the new bill and share their thoughts on what this means for the legislative debate ahead.

Today’s bill introduction follows a week of action in Washington, DC and across the country. On Wednesday, April 10, tens of thousands of supporters gathered on the west lawn of the Capitol to rally for immigration reform at the “Rally for Citizenship.” In addition to Wednesday’s event, leaders across the country led a week of local actions. In Illinois, local leaders visited all 20 members of the Illinois Congressional delegation, including Senator Durbin and Kirk.

WHAT: Press Conference and Community vigil

WHO: Lawrence Benito, CEO, and Fred Tsao, Policy Director at ICIRR, will be joined by families directly impacted by the legislation in vocalizing a reaction to the bill. Community leaders from Muslim, Asian and Latino will be available to press, including CAIR-Chicago Executive Director, Ahmed Rehab. Additionally, SEIU’s president Tom Balanoff will also be available.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 16, 3:30 pm – Press conference, 8:30 pm – Community vigil

WHERE: Press conference at Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, 55 East Jackson, Suite 2075, Community vigil at Casa Michoacán at 1638 South Blue Island


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