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Conflicting Testimony in Quid Pro Quo Deal b/n DoJ and St. Paul, Minn. PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Thursday, 28 March 2013 13:00

Grassley Questions Contradicting Testimony by Justice Department

Official in Quid Pro Quo with St. Paul

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is pressing a key player in the quid pro quo deal between the Justice Department and St. Paul, Minn. to explain the contradiction between information given in a formal briefing to Senate Judiciary Committee staff and documents provided to the committee after the briefing.

In a letter sent today, Grassley asked Joyce Branda, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, to explain seemingly conflicting information she provided during a briefing to Judiciary Committee staff and emails she sent during the department’s handling of the deal.

“Documents clearly show that at the time of the briefing, the department was well aware of the ‘exchange’ between the Justice Department and the city of St. Paul. It makes me wonder whether Ms. Branda was instructed by higher-ups not to call the deal an ‘exchange’ when she briefed Judiciary Committee staff,” Grassley said.

Grassley has been conducting oversight of an apparent quid pro quo deal between the Justice Department and St. Paul, Minn., which turned a blind eye to potentially recovering hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. Specifically, the Justice Department agreed not to intervene in a False Claims Act case in exchange for the city of St. Paul’s agreement to withdraw a separate case on housing issues that was supposed to be heard by the Supreme Court. The United States was not a party in the case before the Supreme Court, which makes it highly questionable that the Justice Department would find it appropriate to use that case as part of its deal with the city of St. Paul.  Unlike the False Claims Act cases the United States could have joined, and which could have resulted in a recovery of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, there was no direct interest of the United States in the outcome of the Magner case.  House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa are also investigating the deal.

Here is Grassley’s letter. A copy of the signed letter and the attachments can be found here.


March 26, 2013


Joyce R. Branda
Deputy Assistant Attorney General
Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530

Dear Deputy Assistant Attorney General Branda:

On February 5, 2013, you appeared before Congressional staff to provide information regarding the Department’s involvement in the decision of the City of St. Paul, Minnesota, to withdraw its petition for certiorari in Magner v. Gallagher.[1] The briefing was provided to the Majority and Minority staff of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.  It is my understanding you provided a similar briefing to staff for the House Committee on the Judiciary and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on December 5, 2012.

In the February 5 briefing, you told Committee staff: “We didn’t decline to intervene in exchange” for St. Paul withdrawing Magner.  On multiple occasions in the briefing, you disputed the characterization that it was an exchange.  At the time, the Department was withholding documents about this matter from Congress.

However, documents since produced by the Department show that on March 8, 2012, you received a list of significant cases from Michael Granston, then Deputy Director in the Commercial Litigation Branch’s Fraud Section, a direct subordinate to you.[2] Twenty-five minutes later, you forwarded the document to Jonathan Olin in the Civil Division front office, writing: “St. Paul updated and edited for clarity[.]”[3] The portion of the document relating to U.S. v. City of St. Paul read:

Government declined to intervene in Newell, and has agreed to decline to intervene in Ellis, in exchange for defendants withdrawal [sic] of cert. petition in Gallagher case (a civil rights action).[4]

Accordingly, I ask that you explain why your assertions to Congressional staff were directly contrary to the documentary record.


Charles E. Grassley

Ranking Member


cc:        The Honorable Patrick Leahy, Chairman

U.S. Senate, Committee on the Judiciary


The Honorable Bob Goodlatte, Chairman

U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary


The Honorable John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member

U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary


The Honorable Darrell Issa, Chairman

U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform


The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member

U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

The Honorable Michael E. Horowitz, Inspector General U.S. Department of Justice


[1] See Magner v. Gallagher, 132 S. Ct. 1306 (Feb. 14,2012) (dismissing writ of certiorari).

2 E-mail from Michael Granston to Joyce Branda (Mar. 8, 2010, 3:25 PM) [HJC/HOGR STP 001402-001404].

3 E-mail from Joyce Branda to Jonathan F. Olin (Mar. 8, 2010, 3:51 PM) [HJC/HOGR STP 001402-001404].

4 “Significant Affirmative Civil and Criminal Matters,” updated Mar. 8, 2012 [HJC/HOGR STP 001404] [emphasis added].

Local Chiropractor- Raising donations for The Quad City Honor Flight PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Luke Devlin   
Tuesday, 26 March 2013 15:12
Moline, Illinois – Local entrepreneur is helping bring awareness and raise funds for The Quad City Honor Flight.

Dr. Rebecca Bravard, owner of Quad City Spine Clinic served in The United States Army for 12 years as a Combat Medic and a Black Hawk Helicopter Crew Chief. She decided in January to do her part for our area Veterans after talking to an Honor Flight Participant. “I met a Korean War Veteran who was chosen to go on an Honor Flight. This usually stoic man teared up instantly as he spoke about the opportunity to see the Korean War Memorial in D.C. I was touched and inspired to become passionately involved to help with this cause.”

This fundraising drive is only the beginning for the Quad City Spine Clinic says Dr. Bravard, who has been giving back, since she opened her doors in Moline back in 2008. For a $40 donation to The Quad City Honor Flight, the clinic donates a consultation, medical history, orthopedic and neurological exam, x-rays (if necessary), and report of findings to all new patients. A service valued at well over the donation price. She is taking her promotion to area businesses, farmers markets, health and fitness facilities, community churches, and civic groups, along with many other community events. We are trying to raise $1,000 for the Honor Flight.

It is our goal at Quad City Spine Clinic to give back to this great community because We All Need Each Other. “I have lived all over the world and have fallen in love with the people of the Quad Cities who have welcomed me with open arms since I settled here in 2001”, says Dr. Rebecca Bravard.

Quad City Spine Clinic can be found on the web at Full details can be found at

Contact: The Quad City Spine Clinic
Address: 1523 47th Avenue Suite 2 Moline, Illinois 61265
Phone: 309.764.7272
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Panel Discussion - Muscatine/China Connection PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Lynn Bartenhagen   
Tuesday, 26 March 2013 15:09

March 26, 2013

As part of the temporary exhibition, “The Other Side of the Earth” by Chun Arthur Wang, the Muscatine Art Center is hosting a panel discussion about the relationship between Muscatine and China. Mayor DeWayne Hopkins will serve as moderator for the discussion on Thursday, April 4th from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. in the Muscatine Art Center’s Music Room.

Mayor Hopkins will share photographs from his recent delegation trip to Hebei Province and will lead a session that explores the past, present, and future of building a relationship between Muscatine and China. Several panelists were part of the Mayor’s delegation while others are “old friends” who hosted Xi Jinping, now the President of the People’s Republic of China.

Panelists include members of the Mayor’s Muscatine China Initiatives Committee such Tony Joseph, President of the Initiatives Committee and President of Joseph Industries; Sarah Lande, one of Xi Jinping’s Old Friends, former Executive Director of Iowa Sister States and also a member of its first Board of Directors; Albert Liu of Musco Sports Lighting; Deb Hutton, President of Muscatine Sister Cities; and Bob Allbee, President of Muscatine Community College.

The panelists will explore topics related to the establishment of the friendship between Hebei and Iowa in the early 1980s, Sister States/Sister Cities past and present initiatives, the purpose of the Mayor’s committee, Muscatine companies with operations in China, the 100,000 Strong Initiative, and other efforts to prepare current community and business leaders as well as future generations for working in China and with Chinese leaders.

In addition to the exhibition of paintings by Chun Arthur Wang, the Art Center has on display several cases of items on loan from Joan Axel, an Old Friend of Xi Jinping, and Mayor Hopkins. Among the items are gifts from Xi Jinping including a China Red tea set and two porcelain Chinese Gift Tea containers. Several photo books, scarves, and scrolls are also on display.

The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Avenue in Muscatine, Iowa. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Thursday evenings until 7:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated.




Hero or Villain: Steering Teens in the Right Direction PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 25 March 2013 14:46
National Tragedies Can Be Avoided with Vigilance, Understanding & Guidance, says Novelist

For adults, high school is as near or far as the next or last reunion. But for thousands of teens, high school is a present hell of isolation, confusion and negativity, says novelist Ryan D. Pearson.

“Think about the young men who live in infamy because they somehow couldn’t channel their energy in a positive manner – Adam Lanza in Connecticut; James Holmes, the ‘movie-theater shooter;’ the two Columbine shooters; Jared Loughner, who shot U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords – some were extremely intelligent, and they were passionate, too,” says Pearson.

Precocious in high school, Pearson earned his law degree at age 21 and went on to write “The Element Series,” (, which follows a teenager blessed with wealth and fame who discovers he has the added responsibility of super powers.

“One aspect I love about comic books and fiction is that the character arcs show how some become the villains, and those who stand by their values – the heroes.”

Teens, who have experienced life only as children, suddenly find themselves in very adult circumstances in high school – that last step toward adulthood, he says. For many gifted, talented, sensitive or otherwise misunderstood teens, he offers tips for surviving this last step toward independence:

• Embrace what makes you different: Perhaps the most important struggle a teenager faces is self-acceptance. Many may believe that that straight-A, all-star jock with a perfect complexion has it made. Meanwhile, he may be experiencing his own inner turmoil. If you care about things no one else seems to care about; if you’re better at chess than football; if you think you don’t fit the mold of “pretty” or “handsome” – you might just be on the path to happiness. A great example receiving plenty of attention is the It Gets Better project, which encourages gay teens to embrace their sexuality. However, the concept can be applied to anyone who feels like an outsider. “There is only one you; don’t be afraid of who you are,” Pearson says.

• Perhaps the greatest commencement address: While life is just beginning after high school and college, it’s rarely easy – that’s the thrust of George Foster Wallace’s 2005 speech to the graduates of Kenyon College. Wallace, a giant of contemporary literature, touches on some of the most important adult challenges: the potential loneliness of adult life, the importance of being well-adjusted and the difficulty of empathy – “Think about it: There is no experience you’ve had that you were not at the absolute center of.” Truthful, unflinching and humorous, the speech has since resonated online.

• You can change!: A depressing mindset for unhappy high school students involves the idea that nothing about one’s experience will change. “Everything changes – this is the one rule of life you can count on,” says Pearson, whose went on a worldwide adventure after college. “Teens who go the villainous route often have an attitude that nothing about them or the world is going to be different unless they intervene with extreme behavior.” In reality, one or two key shifts in thinking can change the course in a young person’s life trajectory. Friends, parents and educators have the best access for helping a troubled teen to “see the light.”

About Ryan D. Pearson

After completing a Bachelor of Laws degree at age 21, Ryan D. Pearson took a leap of faith by leaving the beautiful beaches of Australia to travel the world. He eventually landed in Montreal, where he lived for several years before returning home to write about his adventures. He overcame many challenging personal experiences and now embraces an audacious new lifestyle. Pearson writes about his own character arc – involving a supernatural and overzealous way of life – via character Reagan Jameson.

Local Speakers Move on to Next Level PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Don Wadleigh   
Monday, 25 March 2013 12:20
MOLINE IL, USA, 03/23/2013 — Toastmaster Clubs in the Quad Cities are proud to announce that Tamra Binder, of the Quad Cities Executive Toastmasters Club will represent the Quad Cities area at the next level of Competition. Tamra won first place in both the International Speech and the Table Topics© Competition. With these wins, she will progress to the next level to be held on April 20, 2013 in Muscatine, IA.

The International Speech Contest is one of several Speech Contests sponsored by Toastmasters  International. Each Contestant must present a 5 to 7 minute speech on a subject of their choosing which carries a message of motivation or inspiration. Winners at each level progress on to higher levels leading to the International Toastmasters Conference held in August of each year where the World Champion of Public Speaking is determined.

A competition for the finest Impromptu Speaker is also held as part of the program. This is a competition, known as “Table Topics©, where selected Champions from Area clubs are presented with a topic, and are given up to 2 minutes to develop a speech on that topic with no preparation.

“It is through competitions such as these and the support of fellow Toastmasters that I overcame my own decades-long struggle with severe stage fright,” said Kristin Bruchmann of Davenport, a member of Toastmasters who has achieved the title of Distinguished Toast Master (DTM), the highest achievement available within Toastmasters, and is now one of the leaders of Toastmasters in Iowa.

About Local Toastmasters Clubs
Local Toastmasters Clubs being represented in this Competition include: Moline Toastmasters,; QC Executive Toastmasters,; QC Advanced Toastmasters,;

About Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and  leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Founded in October 1924, the organization currently has more than 280,000 members in 13,500 clubs in 116 countries. Each week, Toastmasters helps more than a quarter million people of every ethnicity, education and profession build their competence in communication so they can gain the confidence to lead others. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit Follow Toastmasters International on Twitter @Toastmasters.


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