General Info
Weekly Video Address: Fast and Furious PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 12:57

Click here for audio.

Here is the text of the address:

Last weekend, my office received a new set of documents from the Justice Department related to my investigation of the ill-advised strategy known as Fast and Furious.

The documents were revealing.  Included were several memorandums to Attorney General Holder that reveal the Attorney General was briefed at least five times beginning in July 2010 in written memos about Fast and Furious.

What is concerning to many of us is the fact that the Attorney General told the House Judiciary Committee in May 2011 that he had just learned of Fast and Furious a few weeks before.  Yet, on January 31, in a previously scheduled meeting, I personally handed him two letters about Fast and Furious.

Now, to find out he knew some pretty detailed information about the operation back in the summer of 2010, is troubling.

The memo specifically says that the straw buyers, including the target of the investigation, were “responsible for the purchase of 1500 firearms that were then supplied to Mexican drug trafficking cartels.”  It seems the logical question for the Attorney General, and his staff, after reading the memo would be “why haven’t we stopped them?”

In addition, the documents we received show several other people very high up in the Justice Department knew a great deal of information about Fast and Furious, including that guns were being walked.

Congressman Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee who I’m working with, and I will continue working to get to the bottom of this.  We want to make sure a stupid program like this never happens again.

-30-

 
Attorney General Holder Received at Least Five Memos on Fast and Furious PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 11:39
WASHINGTON – October 7, 2011 - Senator Chuck Grassley and Congressman Darrell Issa today said that Attorney General Eric Holder received at least five weekly memos beginning in July 2010, including four weeks in a row, describing the ill-advised strategy known as Operation Fast and Furious.  The memos were to Holder from Michael Walther, the director of the National Drug Intelligence Center.

The Attorney General told Issa during a House Judiciary Committee in May 2011 that he had just learned of Fast and Furious a few weeks before.  Yet, on January 31, in a previously scheduled meeting, Grassley personally handed him two letters about Fast and Furious. Grassley and Issa said they find it very troubling that Holder actually knew of Operation Fast and Furious much earlier, and in greater detail than he ever let on.

The memos specifically said that the straw buyers were “responsible for the purchase of 1500 firearms that were then supplied to Mexican drug trafficking cartels.”

“With the fairly detailed information that the Attorney General read, it seems the logical question for the Attorney General after reading in the memo would be “why haven’t we stopped them?” Grassley said.  “And if he didn’t ask the questions, why didn’t he or somebody in his office?”

“Attorney General Holder has failed to give Congress and the American people an honest account of what he and other senior Justice Department officials knew about gunwalking and Operation Fast and Furious. The lack of candor and honesty from our nation’s chief law enforcement officials in this matter is deeply disturbing,” Issa said.

Grassley and Issa have been leading the investigation into who approved the strategy to allow guns to be purchased by known straw buyers who then often transferred the firearms to Mexican Drug Cartels.

The memos can be found here.

 
DoJ Conference Expenditures Nearly Double in last two years, Trafficking Bill -- Grassley Judiciary Executive Committee Statement PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 11:35

Prepared Statement of Ranking Member Chuck Grassley

Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Executive Business Meeting

Thursday, October 6, 2011

 

Mr. Chairman,

With regard to the judicial nominations, we are prepared to vote on the following nominations today:  Wallach, Christensen, Bencivengo, Groh, and Brodie.   We have a request on our side for a roll call vote on Wallach.  There are requests on our side to hold over the following nominees, who are appearing for the first time on our agenda:  Jordán, Gerrard, Phillips, Rice, Nuffer, Frank, Pane, and Webb.

 

We have a number of bills on the agenda today that appear for the first time.  We have a request on our side to hold over all of them for consideration next week.

On the legislation, I would like to say a few words about S.1301, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.  We held a hearing on this legislation just three weeks ago that focused on the administration of programs designed to help victims of trafficking.

It is my hope that that the administration will get back to us with the questions we submitted for the record so we can consider those as part of our discussion on the bill next week.

I am pleased to report that my staff and the Chairman’s have been working together for the last few weeks to find common ground on this issue.  However, there are changes needed in the draft to ensure that we recognize the changing times and the current fiscal crisis.  We need to ensure that our resources are carefully spent and are only provided to programs that are working.

At the hearing, I raised my concerns with the Department of Justice about a number of audits that have been conducted showing shocking examples of waste and abuse of grants.  I highlighted how the Inspector General had pulled nine specific grants and reviewed them for compliance.  All nine of those audits found hundreds of thousands of dollars in questioned costs, unauthorized expenditures, failed matching requirements, questioned salaries and fringe benefits, and many other problems.

I raised these audits with the witness from the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs who admitted that one audit that questioned over $1.3 million of a $1.7 million grant, showed that the grant was a failure.  This is unacceptable and the American taxpayers deserve better.  These audits demand our attention and that is why we “reauthorize” these programs—to make sure the money isn’t being wasted.

Yet, here, we have audits showing that money is being wasted.  So we have the opportunity and responsibility to fix this.  Our efforts to reauthorize this legislation need to fix this problem and ensure that grantees that commit violations like this never see another federal dollar.  We need transparency, accountability, and performance from grantees that are trusted with federal dollars.  Absent any of these three things, they should not receive any money.

Further, we need to hold accountable the Justice Department, State Department, and other federal agencies that award trafficking grants under the TVPA.  These bureaucracies often turn a blind eye to the waste, abuse, and mismanagement of these grants, leading up to these audits.

Too often, the agencies simply fail to conduct the oversight required of the grants and then plead ignorant when the Inspector General finds problems.  This too has to stop.  Both the grant managers and the grantees should be held accountable.  It starts at the top with the head of the agency and we need those in power at these agencies to question spending, not just push taxpayer dollars out the door.

Unfortunately, as the recent report on conference expenditures at the Justice Department points out, it’s clear this Justice Department doesn’t understand that.  We all heard about the infamous $16 muffins and all the hay the hotels and the Justice Department have raised to refute the finding.  Well, what they can’t hide from is the fact that since President Obama took office, conference spending at the Justice Department has nearly doubled from the Bush administration.

In fiscal 2008, the Justice Department spent $47.8 million on conferences.  In President Obama’s first year, Fiscal Year 2009, that increased to $73.3 million.  Last year, it increased further to $91.5 million.  That is not fiscal responsibility, that’s excess and waste.

The point is, we are well past the time when we can reauthorize programs without giving them the scrutiny needed.  We have a Justice Department that is addicted to spending without control and we need to rein that in.  We need to use this opportunity to ensure that hard earned taxpayer dollars are going to the people we are trying to help, here that’s the victims of trafficking.  If we continue to allow grants to be mismanaged, a victim who could have been helped goes without.

I hope the Chairman and I can continue our work and reach an agreement on this bill for next week.  Thank you.

-30-


 
Grassley urges consideration of Governor Branstad’s appeal to FEMA PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Monday, 10 October 2011 15:58

Thursday, October 6, 2011

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today asked the top official of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to consider an appeal made by Governor Terry Branstad to make Iowans living in Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie and Woodbury counties eligible for individual disaster assistance.

“It’s only fair that residents of these Iowa counties be eligible for individual assistance, especially considering the latest about the magnitude and severity of the Missouri River flooding,” Grassley said.

In June, the President issued a major disaster declaration in response to the flooding.

Grassley has met personally with FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate this year and pressed for Iowans to receive assistance that is equitable to that provided elsewhere.

Here is the text of Grassley’s October 6 letter to Fugate:

 

October 6, 2011

The Honorable W. Craig Fugate

Administrator

Federal Emergency Management Agency

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

500 C Street SW

Washington, DC 20472

 

Dear Administrator Fugate,

I respectfully ask that you consider the appeal that Governor Branstad submitted today for Individual Assistance for Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie, and Woodbury Counties.  On June 27, 2011, President Obama issued a major disaster declaration for the State of Iowa in response to the record amounts of rain and snowmelt which led to unprecedented runoff in the Missouri River basin during the months of May, June, and July.

It is my understanding that additional information has been gathered since the original request was submitted that clarifies the magnitude and severity of this disaster.  Individual Assistance will be vital in helping Iowans, who have endured prolonged hardship over the past four months, recover.

Thank you for your prompt consideration of this appeal.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Grassley

United States Senator

 
Great Iowa Treasure Hunt Gearing Up for Fall Publication PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Karen Austin   
Monday, 10 October 2011 15:28

DES MOINES, IA (10/05/2011)(readMedia)-- Fall is a busy time of year in Iowa. Students are returning to school, and farmers are beginning to harvest their fields. State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald is also hard at work preparing the fall publication of the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt.

"I encourage everyone to search for their name in the paper," said Fitzgerald. "This publication has the most up-to-date unclaimed property listings in the Great Iowa Treasurer Hunt, so make sure to search, even if you've checked before. You may also search for your name by visiting www.greatiowatreasurehunt.com. Checking the paper or visiting us online is well worth the short time it takes."

The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt program has returned over $135 million in unclaimed property to more than 314,000 properties has been paid out since Fitzgerald started it in 1983. Unclaimed property refers to money and other assets held by financial institutions or companies that have lost contact with the property's owner for a specific period of time. State law requires these institutions and companies to annually report and deliver unclaimed property to the State Treasurer's Office, where it is held until the owner or heir of the property is found. Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed checks, life insurance policies, utility security deposits, and safe deposit box contents.

"My job is to return unclaimed property to the rightful owners," Fitzgerald said. "It is very rewarding to be able to reunite people with their lost money."

For more information about the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt, visit www.greatiowatreasurehunt.com. Interested individuals can also correspond by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by contacting the treasurer's office at the following address: Michael Fitzgerald, State Treasurer, Great Iowa Treasure Hunt, Lucas State Office Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. Please include the name(s), maiden name(s), current and previous address(es) of those people you would like searched.

 
<< Start < Prev 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390 Next > End >>

Page 388 of 448