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DoJ Releases Opinion on President's Controversial Recess Appointments PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 13 January 2012 09:35

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Senator Chuck Grassley made the following statement after an opinion was released by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel regarding the President’s ability to make recess appointments under certain circumstances.  Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, led committee Republicans in questioning the Justice Department’s role in the White House’s position.  Grassley expects a full response from the Justice Department.

“The Justice Department opinion is unconvincing.  Its conclusion is at odds with the text of the Constitution and the administration’s own previous statements.  It fundamentally alters the careful separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches that the framers crafted in the Constitution.  It relies on no Supreme Court decision and many conclusions are unsupported in law or the Constitution.  It recognizes that the courts might well disagree.  And it flies in the face of more than 90 years of historical practice.  Taken together with a laundry list of other assertions of the power to act without Congress, this is clearly an escalation in a pattern of contempt for the elected representatives of the American people.  The Senate will need to take action to check and balance President Obama’s blatant attempt to circumvent the Senate and the Constitution, a claim of presidential power that the Bush Administration refused to make.”

 
Inspector General Office Gutted Under New Law PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 13 January 2012 09:11

Enzi, Grassley and Collins Request Transfer of Funds to Avoid Shutdown of Agency Inspector General

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Ranking Member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined with several other senators today to request that the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) be able to transfer additional funds to avoid a shutdown of the Office of Inspector General (IG) after a law passed last year gutted funding for the office.  Senator Enzi was joined by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ranking Member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), Ranking Member on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

“We have been informed by the Office of the Inspector General that this cut will result in a reduction of more than 75 percent of full time personnel in the next several weeks,” the senators wrote. “Consequently, the office … will be substantially limited in performing the three statutorily required audits, and will have to discontinue all ongoing investigations of waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer resources.”

The need for a functioning IG has been illustrated by recent problems at the agency that include President Obama’s 2009 firing of the last Inspector General after the office found waste, duplication, ineffective spending, and repeated violations of the grant rules for several programs funded by the CNCS.  According to the two most recent semi-annual reports, the CNCS Office of the Inspector General identified more than $959,000 in questionable costs and more than $581,000 in funding that could be used more efficiently.  The office identified more than $4 million in potential funds to be recovered from individuals and grantee organizations found to have engaged in fraud, waste and abuse. The IG also assisted the Justice Department in investigating several criminal matters, including obtaining a guilty plea in a conspiracy to steal more than $325,000 in federal grant funds from American Samoa.

You can read the full letter here.

 
Immigration Services has Work to do in Changing "Get to Yes" Culture PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 15:46

Monday, January 9, 2012

Senator Chuck Grassley today said that a report he requested from the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s office confirmed the accounts he heard from whistleblowers about the undue pressure placed on Immigration Service Officers to approve immigration benefits.  The report was released today, and a copy of the report can be found here.

Today’s statement below is followed by a comment Grassley released on Friday in response to a draft copy of the report.  Grassley’s request to the Inspector General, as well as letters to Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano can be found here.

“The report clearly shows that the immigration service has a lot of work to do to get rid of the ‘Get to yes’ culture that has pervaded the agency in recent years. The fact that a quarter of the immigration service officers felt pressure to approve questionable applications, and 90 percent of respondents felt they didn’t have sufficient time to complete interviews of those who seek benefits, certainly warrants significant changes be made immediately.

“What’s most disappointing in this final report is the agency’s decision to turn a blind eye to several very good recommendations from the Inspector General.  For example, it only makes sense that policies be established to make sure there is a legitimate and fair process when a manager intervenes in a benefits case.  Director Mayorkas should reconsider the department’s initial response to some of the recommendations and create an environment that ensures a thorough and complete analysis of all applications.”

Here’s Grassley’s statement from Friday.

“Whistleblowers have been complaining for several years that leadership in Washington, D.C. and immediate supervisors were placing inappropriate pressure on immigration adjudicators to simply find a way to approve benefits.  This ‘Get to yes’ attitude doesn’t serve the American people who expect a thorough and complete analysis.  When a quarter of the immigration service officers felt pressure to approve questionable applications, and 90 percent of respondents felt they didn’t have sufficient time to complete interviews of those who seek benefits, there are serious and widespread problems that need to be addressed by the department.  This comes down to the safety and security of the American people, which should not be compromised by any means.

“The Inspector General took to heart the concerns he heard from Immigration Service Officers, and he made some serious and thoughtful recommendations.  I’m particularly interested in the implementation of recommendations by the Inspector General to develop standards to permit more time for an adjudicator’s review of case files, develop a policy to establish limitations for managers and attorneys when they intervene in the adjudication of specific cases, and issue policy that ends any informal appeals process and the special review of denied cases.  These get at the heart of the whistleblowers’ allegations, and would go a long way to changing the ‘Get to yes’ culture that prevails at the agency.”

 
Press Release from the St Patrick Society of the Quad Cities. PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Carey Ralston   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 15:13
Annual search for the Irish Mother of the Year. All nominations must be an original letter of approximately 150 words. A nominee should be involved in family, church and community, have a good sense of humor and demonstrate her pride in her Irish ancestry. Nominations must be received by the St. Patrick Society no later than March 2, 2012. Mail nomination to: The St. Patrick Society, Quad Cities, U.S.A. at P.O. Box 4487, Davenport, IA 52808

 

Applications for the GRAND PARADE XXVll-March 17, 2012- are now available. Contact John Scally (309)-788-2341 for complete details. (The GRAND PARADE is at its limit for vehicles of any kind) Parade applications must be received by the St. Patrick Society no later than March 2, 2012.

 

The St. Patrick Society, Quad Cities, U.S.A. announces a $1000 scholarship to be awarded March 16, 2012. Applications are available from high school counselors, online www.stpatsqc.com , or from Matt Wissing at (563)-265-9353. Eligible applicants must be related to a current St. Patrick Society member and must evidence the ability to pursue a college or university education, as substantiated by grade point average, class standing and ACT/SAT scores. Involvement in extra curricular school and community activities will also be considered. Letter of recommendation from educators, counselors, employers and others are helpful. Applications are not judged on a basis of need. Scholarship applications must be received by the St. Patrick Society no later than March 2, 2012.

 

For more information on the St. Patrick Society of the Quad Cities please visit www.stpatsqc.com or visit our Facebook Page-St Patrick Society Quad Cities USA

 
Pressure Placed on Immigration Adjudicators to Approve Immigration Benefits PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 14:47

Friday, January 6, 2012

Senator Chuck Grassley today said that a draft copy of a report he requested from the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s office confirmed the accounts he heard from whistleblowers about the undue pressure placed on Immigration Service Officers to approve immigration benefits.

Here is Grassley’s statement.  A copy of Grassley’s request to the Inspector General, as well as letters to Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano can be found here.

“Whistleblowers have been complaining for several years that leadership in Washington, D.C. and immediate supervisors were placing inappropriate pressure on immigration adjudicators to simply find a way to approve benefits.  This ‘Get to yes’ attitude doesn’t serve the American people who expect a thorough and complete analysis.  When a quarter of the immigration service officers felt pressure to approve questionable applications, and 90 percent of respondents felt they didn’t have sufficient time to complete interviews of those who seek benefits, there are serious and widespread problems that need to be addressed by the department.  This comes down to the safety and security of the American people, which should not be compromised by any means.

“The Inspector General took to heart the concerns he heard from Immigration Service Officers, and he made some serious and thoughtful recommendations.  I’m particularly interested in the implementation of recommendations by the Inspector General to develop standards to permit more time for an adjudicator’s review of case files, develop a policy to establish limitations for managers and attorneys when they intervene in the adjudication of specific cases, and issue policy that ends any informal appeals process and the special review of denied cases.  These get at the heart of the whistleblowers’ allegations, and would go a long way to changing the ‘Get to yes’ culture that prevails at the agency.”

 
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