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Grassley Applauds Signing of Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 14:29

Grassley attends Oval Office ceremony to witness signing of the legislation

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today made a special trip to the White House to witness the signing of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act which strengthens existing law to better protect whistleblowers.

Grassley was a co-author of the legislation being signed into law today, and the original 1989 Whistleblower Protection Act it updates.  The legislation was necessary because whistleblowers are being denied the protections they should have under the law because of decisions of the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, and a general anti-whistleblower sentiment found in executive branch agencies.

“As one of the authors of the original Whistleblower Protection Act, and a long-time advocate for whistleblowers, it’s wonderful to see this legislation signed into law.  Whistleblowers strengthen our system of checks and balances, and that strengthens our system of representative government.  It’s a constant battle to make sure that these patriotic citizens who shed light on overspending, mismanagement and layers of ineffective leadership within the federal government are protected,” Grassley said after the signing in the Oval Office.  “Now, more work needs to be done to ensure that FBI whistleblower protections are updated and that intelligence community whistleblowers are covered under the law and given the protections they deserve.”

A long-time advocate for whistleblowers, Grassley has stood up against the heavy hand of the bureaucracy – regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats were in charge -- for individual whistleblowers from the Pentagon, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the IRS, the Interior Department, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In addition to co-authoring the 1989 whistleblower law, Grassley also authored the 1986 update of the False Claims Act to include qui tam provisions that empower private citizens, who had information about fraudulent activity by government contractors, to bring wrongdoing forward and sue in the name of the government.  To date, these whistleblower provisions have recovered more than $30 billion for taxpayers that otherwise would be lost to fraud.

In 2009, Grassley and Senator Patrick Leahy won passage of the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act which made the most significant improvements to the False Claims Act since 1986.  The law restores the scope and applicability of the False Claims Act where it had been limited by court decisions.  This effort also revised criminal laws to help prosecute mortgage fraud, securities fraud, and complex financial crimes that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

In addition, Grassley authored the 2006 overhaul of the IRS whistleblower program to fight major tax fraud.  The IRS recently paid out its largest award ever, but has acknowledged, after scrutiny from Grassley, that the agency must be more timely and responsive in processing whistleblower claims.


The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 will:

·         clarify that any disclosure of gross waste or mismanagement, fraud, abuse, or illegal activity may be protected, but not disagreements over legitimate policy decisions;

·         suspend the sole jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals over federal employee whistleblower cases for two years;

·         extend Whistleblower Protection Act coverage and other non-discrimination and anti-retaliatory laws to all employees of the Transportation Security Administration;

·         clarify that whistleblowers may disclose evidence of censorship of scientific or technical information under the same standards that apply to disclosures of other kinds of waste, fraud, and abuse;

·         codify portions of the anti-gag provision, which Grassley originally got passed, that has been part of every Transportation-Treasury Appropriations bill since 1988;

·         establish Whistleblower Protection Ombudsmen to educate agency personnel about whistleblower rights; and

·         provide the Office of Special Counsel with the independent right to file "friend of the court" briefs, or amicus briefs, with federal courts.


Anne Frank connection to Danville, Iowa PDF Print E-mail
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Written by M. McNeil   
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 12:42
The project deals with Anne Frank having a pen pal in Danville Iowa before her family went into hiding.  You can learn more about it at

Very few people know about it but there is a very small museum telling about the Anne Frank connection in Danville.  They would like to raise money for an expansion.  They have been working on it and raised enough to buy a couple parcels of land to build on to the current museum.

It's cute when Anne says in one of her letters that she cannot find Danville on her map of Iowa but finds Burlington.  She wonders if it is close (and it is).  Therefore, when I learned of the story two years ago, I asked two girls from Burlington to write the story.  They did a fabulous job and I love their illustrations too.  It's being prepared for print right now.

More about the authors here:

There is a FB page as well:

Anne also writes the young lady in Danville about her post card collection.  She even sent her a post card from Amsterdam.  So three things are about to happen (on December 5)

1. The children of Danville are launching a post card collection as they would like post cards from all over the world to be sent to them.  They hope to collect 1.5 million cards to honor the 1.5 million Jewish children who died in the Holocaust.

2. Their historical society is launching their building fund to raise $450,000 using Indiegogo (a crowd funding platform).  This will happen at the same time as the news about the post card project on 12/5.

3. The children's book entitled Oceans Apart (one of my A BOOK by ME series) will be a reward for giving toward the fundraising effort.

With it being so close to Christmas, I think a lot of people will be interested in helping them reach their goal with the post cards and giving toward their educational center.

News Releases - General Info
Written by Aliesha Chiesa   
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 08:39
WHAT:  Why should Barkley miss out on the holiday cheer?

More and more, people want pictures with Santa not only for their children, but also for their pets. Many people consider their dogs and cats to be cherished members of the family, making pet pictures with Santa a great new tradition.

Kids, dogs, we love them all, and on X date we invite our four-legged friends to meet Santa and capture a photo at NorthPark and SouthPark Malls. (Please be sure to keep pets on a leash or in a carrier.)

WHEN:  Pet Night will be held on Monday, December 3 and 10 from 6pm-8pm

WHERE:  NorthPark Mall in Von Maur Court Sponsored by Scott County Humane Society. Parking suggestions are at the Von Maur Mall Entrance

SouthPark Mall in DEB Court Sponsored by Quad City Animal Welfare Center and the Moline Humane Society. Parking suggestions are at the JC Penney Mall Entrance


Macerich is a fully integrated self-managed and self-administered real estate investment trust,
which focuses on the acquisition, leasing, management, development and redevelopment of
regional malls throughout the United States. Additional information about Macerich can be
obtained from the Company’s website at

Gov. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Reynolds remarks to the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 08:31

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today addressed the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit in Des Moines. Today’s remarks are below, as prepared for delivery:

Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds:

Some of you are shocked by what you just saw, and some of you live it every day.

If you are shocked by what you just witnessed on that video, then this summit is where you need to be.

All too often, we tend to be unaware that our kids deal with insults like these -- or it’s tempting to turn a blind eye to such comments.

We dismiss it as just “kids being kids.” We don’t always acknowledge this issue because it’s easier to hope it will go away.

But let me tell you, these comments are verbatim, they are real, and they are hurtful.

This conference is designed to shine a light on this problem. These remarks aren’t confined to Waukee, they happen in virtually every school district in this state.

And so, we must turn our shock into action.

We need to shine a light, because by keeping these comments in the darkness, and ignoring them, we are keeping those students they affect in an even darker place.

In that place are thoughts of declining self-worth, declining grades, or worse.

While this video brought about shock, some of you likely felt sadness. If so, then this conference is also where you need to be.

We’ll be discussing the factors that cause this behavior, ways to prevent this behavior and ideas to make our schools a safer place for learning.

Today’s summit will help equip you with the information you need, the contacts you can utilize…

And the resolve to take action to prevent bullying of all kinds within our schools.

Remember – the most important thing WE do is treat each other with kindness and respect, now.

Please join me in welcoming on stage the Waukee students responsible for the great video you just watched.

It’s my great pleasure to introduce:

-Beau Easley, a freshman at Iowa State University;

-Meg Goodson, a freshman at the University of Iowa;

-Mickey Sundermann, a Waukee High School Senior; and

-Sydni Rowen, a Waukee High School senior.

Thank you all for being here today. I admire the courage it took to produce such a candid video.

We know many positive things go on in our schools, but we also have to be honest about the negative things – or we cannot fully address them.

I’ll now turn the podium over to Sydni Rowen to talk briefly about why she and the other students made the video...

…Thank you Sydni, and thank you to everyone attending the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit today.

We appreciate the speakers and panelists from around the state and nation for sharing their expertise with us.

And thank you to the students in 23 schools across Iowa for your entries for the video contest. At noon, we’ll have the opportunity view all 23 videos on what schools are doing to prevent bullying and what more could be done.

Education Department Director Jason Glass will announce the video contest winners at the close of the summit.

Now it’s my great pleasure to introduce Gov. Terry Branstad, whose commitment to public service and to treating others with dignity & respect is unmatched by anyone I know.


Governor Terry E. Branstad

Thank you, Lt. Governor Reynolds. And thank you to everyone here today for making the time to attend the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit.

I am proud that more than 1,100 Iowans have gathered for this critical conversation about how we can work together to stop bullying.

We know Iowa schools can’t do it alone – that it takes the community. I deeply appreciate your commitment to making that happen.

But isn’t it also surprising that we are here? Iowans enjoy a well-deserved reputation for being good neighbors. We are people who look out for each other. Treating each other with respect is a prized value.

Yet it’s clear that it’s time to have this conversation.

In the most recent Iowa Youth Survey of students in grades six, eight and 11, half of those surveyed reported being bullied at school in some way.

Whether in schools, on a school bus, elsewhere in the community, or in the digital world, bullying seems like a bigger problem than it used to be.

It is easy to point to changes in technology. Cell phones, tablets and computers have made 24/7 cyber-bullying possible – but they are not to blame.

The culture around us too often fosters a disregard for others that is unhealthy -- and sometimes dangerous. Incivility has become all too common in the workplace, in politics and on the road, as well as in social media.

Schools sometimes reflect this.

Being bullied can leave children at increased risk of depression and we know it can have tragic consequences – even becoming a potential factor in suicide.

The consequences of bullying are far-reaching and long lasting.

I want to share excerpts of three emails received after announcing the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit would be held

Here is the first one: “My family is now defined by bullying. It forces your child to grow up faster and there is an actual loss of just being a child. My child will forever be known as a ‘victim.’ We will survive, but we are forever changed.

“My fear? I can't monitor my child on the bus. I can't monitor my child on the way home. I can't monitor my child in the hallways. I can't monitor my child in the cafeteria. The bully has the right to those same areas, even with recorded physical and verbal assaults.

“I guess it takes a suicide or critical injury to address a bully and their family. Get serious about this and take a hard look at addressing the bullies’ parents.”

Here is the second email: “I graduated from high school in 1979, and, after four-plus years of torture, I was publicly humiliated at my high school graduation.  It’s been 33 years since I graduated and I have never attended a reunion….

“Needless to say, what happened in my high school years has forever shaped me into the person I am today.  In my heart, I feel that the children of today need to know what the long-term effects of bullying can be.  The suicides nationwide are certainly horrific, but the ones who lived through it and suffer every day because of it have lessons to teach as well.”

And here is the third email, from a student who also sent a video with a song she wrote about bullying: “Hi, I'm 15 and wrote this because of a personal experience. I did the video myself, too. I was not going to let them break me. Because in the end bullying is really about power. Why give anyone that satisfaction over you! I didn't, and I won't and I hope more and more kids don't, either.”

We all recognize that we must do more to stop bullying, but we’re often not sure how.

I am encouraged that awareness is growing that bullying is NOT a normal rite of passage in childhood – and that we must do more to prevent it.

From Sioux City to Marshalltown to Davenport, schools and their communities are stepping up to meet this challenge. Today we will learn more about their work.

The Iowa Department of Education earlier this year launched a new data collection system to provide a more accurate picture of bullying in schools. It also gives school leaders a clear definition of bullying.

In October, the Iowa Emergency Management Association District 6 sent a declaration of support for the efforts of my office and the Iowa Department of Education to eradicate bullying in Iowa’s schools. We are grateful for their support.

And today, I am proud to announce the launch of a new bullying and suicide prevention resource – Your Life Iowa. This hotline and website, funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health in partnership with Boys Town, the Iowa Youth Advisory Committee and the Iowa Department of Education, will provide help to Iowans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Trained counselors will offer support and guidance to bullied youth who feel they have run out of options. Your-Life-Iowa-dot-org will also serve as a go-to resource where Iowans can get information about how to be part of the solution to ending bullying and youth suicide.

Numerous efforts are under way to stop bullying in Iowa. But we are a long way from where we need to be. So what do I hope we will accomplish today?

We must send a clearer message that schools alone cannot stop bullying, that it takes the community.

I hope we learn more about how to change the culture inside and outside schools -- with concrete steps -- so bullying is not tolerated.

Every student should know that if they report being bullied, adults will take them seriously and that other students will stand up for them in a nonviolent way.

We also need to examine whether state law can be strengthened to help schools better address bullying.

Together, we must be more engaged in the effort to prevent bullying.

Be an instrument for change, help our children feel safe, and use the information you gather here today as your charge to improve the lives of students for the better.

Thank you.



SEC chairman to step down, Grassley on track record, challenges ahead PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 26 November 2012 15:40
Monday, Nov. 26, 2012

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today made the following comment on the news that Mary Schapiro will step down as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission next month.

“The SEC has proposed some weak settlements with Wall Street firms, including one that a judge called ‘chump change.’  The SEC has to crack down harder, especially on repeat offenders.  I have some sympathy for the idea that current law limits the agency’s enforcement abilities, as Chairman Schapiro has said, although the SEC also hasn’t always used its existing penalties to the fullest.  To remove barriers to strong enforcement, Sen. Reed and I introduced legislation to increase the SEC’s penalties.  I’ll pursue that in the next Congress.  Chairman Schapiro supported the SEC whistleblower provisions that I helped to develop, although the implementing regulations have been problematic.  I’ll continue to ride herd over the agency in getting the whistleblower office going.  It’s disappointing that Chairman Schapiro is leaving the commission without having a permanent inspector general in place, since her departure may delay the commission in filling that important position even further.  The SEC, like any agency, benefits from a strong, independent inspector general.  The sooner the recent turmoil in the inspector general’s office is overcome, the better for the agency and the investing public.”

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