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Grassley Weekly Video Address PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 16:19

Advisory for Iowa Reporters and Editors

Friday, November 18, 2011

During his weekly video address, Senator Chuck Grassley explains why the U.S. Supreme Court should allow video and audio coverage of upcoming oral arguments about the 2010 health care law. The law is massive in size and scope. The constitutional questions are landmark. Public understanding of both the health care law and the proceedings of a case before the Supreme Court would benefit from access to audio and video of the legal arguments that will be made. Grassley is Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is responsible for oversight of the federal courts. He is the former Chairman and Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over most of the 2010 health care law.

Click here for audio.

Here is the text of the address:

This week I asked the Chief Justice to allow audio and video coverage of the oral arguments made during the Supreme Court’s consideration of the challenges to the 2010 health care law.

This law is massive in size and scope.  Its impact is reverberating throughout America’s economy.  The constitutional questions are landmark.  The public has a right to hear the legal arguments.  It’s a tremendous educational opportunity, especially considering the way this controversial law was pushed through Congress.  It was very partisan, unlike previous legislation where major social policy changes were made with broad-based support.  And, so much about the policy changes and consequences from the 2010 health care law were unclear even to supporters when it was pushed through.

The first time I appealed for broadcast coverage of oral arguments before the Supreme Court was in 2000 in the Bush v. Gore case regarding the presidential election.  The request for audio was granted, and it was released immediately following the arguments.  I’ve sought to pass legislation allowing broadcast coverage of federal courtrooms for 12 years.

The issues with the 2010 health care law and this review by the Supreme Court of the United States emphasize the value and importance of public access to the courtroom.  Sunshine would shed light on the law and enhance understanding of the issues and important concerns.

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SEC Wells Notice to Harbinger Capital Partners; FCC Dismissiveness Over LightSquared Connection PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 16:14
Friday, December 09, 2011

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today made the following comment on disclosure that Philip Falcone and Harbinger Capital Partners have received a Wells Notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission. For months, Grassley has questioned the Federal Communications Commission’s fast-tracking of the firm’s LightSquared project. Grassley is blocking consideration of two FCC nominees over the agency’s refusal to provide information on why it fast-tracked the project.

“In my initial letter to the FCC on its decision to fast-track the LightSquared project, I noted that the hedge fund owner behind the project, Philip Falcone, faced ongoing SEC investigations.  On July 5, 2011, I followed up by writing a letter that asked FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski if he was concerned about these multiple SEC investigations of Mr. Falcone, especially since the FCC had granted Mr. Falcone’s company a $10 billion victory following a shortened comment period.

“Today, documents have been released showing that Mr. Falcone and his hedge fund, Harbinger Capital, received a Wells Notice from the SEC.  While this does not mean the SEC definitely will take action against Mr. Falcone and his hedge fund, it does show that the SEC staff believes there is sufficient evidence to consider recommending an enforcement action.  Now the FCC is faced with the real possibility that it made a multi-billion-dollar grant of valuable spectrum to someone who could be charged with violating securities laws.  I raised this concern seven months ago.  Chairman Genachowksi was dismissive.  Now, more than ever, the FCC chairman should lead the effort to provide documents and offer insight into how the agency decided to give Mr. Falcone, Harbinger Capital and LightSquared this multi-billion-dollar grant.”

 

 
Facts are stubborn things PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 10:09

Senator Charles Schumer, Press Statement, Dec. 7, 2011

House Judiciary Committee Oversight Hearing with Attorney General Eric Holder, Dec. 8, 2011

Response to Gunwalking

  • Senator Schumer: “Contrary to Sen. Grassley’s assertions, it was this administration – and specifically the criminal division, [headed] by Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer – that identified that these ‘gunwalking’ tactics had been used and approved of in the past administration.  It was this administration that confronted ATF leadership about the problems of using these tactics.”
  • Attorney General Holder: “Soon after learning about the allegations raised by ATF agents involved with Fast and Furious, I took action designed to ensure accountability.  In February, I asked the Department’s Acting Inspector General to investigate the matter, and in early March I ordered that a directive be sent to law enforcement agents and prosecutors prohibiting such tactics.”

FACT

In Operation Wide Receiver, which ran from 2006-2007 and did involve gun-walking tactics, few documents have been produced about which officials from the U.S. Attorney’s office or Main Justice were involved.  One November 16, 2007, memo addressed to the Attorney General, which would have BEEN Michael Mukasey at the time, does not refer to Operation Wide Receiver, but rather to a case called Hernandez, involving a controlled delivery and cooperation with the government of Mexico rather than gunwalking.

Unlike the actions Attorney General Holder would later take under pressure from Senator Grassley’s public inquiries when he found out that there might have been gunwalking in Operation Fast and Furious, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer did not take “action designed to ensure accountability” when directly informed by his deputy in April 2010 of gun-walking in Operation Wide Receiver, such as asking the Department’s Inspector General to investigate the matter or ordering that a directive be sent to law enforcement agents and prosecutors prohibiting such tactics.

Rather than “confront[ing] ATF leadership,” emails indicate Mr. Breuer’s concern was simply letting ATF “know the bad stuff that could come out.”  After Mr. Breuer’s deputy, Jason Weinstein, followed those instructions by meeting with ATF leadership, he emailed Mr. Breuer on April 30, 2010, to say that the outcome of the meeting was concluding: “[T]he best way to announce the case without highlighting the negative part of the story and risking embarrassing ATF” was to make it public “as part of Project Deliverance, where focus will be on aggregate seizures and not on particulars of any one indictment.”

This focus on press strategy alone carried through to October 2010, when Mr. Beuer’s subordinates were clearly still concerned about the public relations impact of both Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious.  Weinstein wrote: “Do you think we should try to have Lanny participate in press when Fast and Furious and Laura’s Tucson case [Wide Receiver] are unsealed?  It’s a tricky case, given the number of guns that have walked…”

Documents supporting the FACTS.

 
Catholic Sisters Launch “Welcoming Communities” for Immigration Reform PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Lisa Martin   
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 09:49

Catholic Sisters from ten religious communities based in the Upper Mississippi River Valley are hopeful that the words of Jesus will get the attention of Iowa residents, political candidates and ultimately the President and Congress on an issue near and dear to them – immigration.

On Monday, (Dec. 12) the sisters are launching an effort to draw attention to the need for comprehensive immigration reform. The effort, called “Welcoming Communities,” will involve a statement issued by the Sisters (see attached) and supported by billboards, posters and prayers services in the Quad Cities, Des Moines, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Sioux City and Clinton, Iowa.

The billboards and posters (see attached) share a message about immigration based on the words of Jesus taken from the gospel of Matthew 25:35:  “I was a stranger an immigrant and you welcomed me.” The signs will go up on December 12 and remain through early January.

“We declare ourselves ‘Welcoming Communities’ in affirmation of our Catholic tradition that holds sacred the dignity of each person,” the Sisters said in their statement, “and we invite other communities and people of faith to join us in becoming ‘Immigrant Welcoming Communities’ through prayer, reflection, education and action.”

“Our ‘Welcoming Communities’ stance is a direct response to the government’s ‘Secure Communities’ program which has transformed local police officers into a primary gateway for deportation,” explained the Sisters. “The results have been hundreds of thousands of detentions and deportations, serious civil and human rights concerns, due process violations and damaged trust between immigrant communities and local police.”

They further noted that “the ‘Secure Communities’ process was marketed to local law enforcement agencies as a way to deal with serious and dangerous criminals. In fact, low-priority, non-violent offenders or even lawful permanent residents are being funneled into this program which is breaking up families, promoting racial profiling, and fueling a fear-filled and hateful anti-immigrant atmosphere.”

National immigration reform organizations assert that the “Secure Communities” program has actually made communities less safe because many individuals are afraid to report crimes that they experience or witness for fear of being deported or having neighbors, family members or friends deported.  As a result, they state, crimes are going unreported and communities, rather than becoming “secure” are living in fear.

“Failure on the part of the federal government to reform the present unworkable immigration system has resulted in states passing legislation that is punitive and harmful to human rights,” noted the Sisters.

“We understand that enforcement of law is part of any immigration policy,” the Sisters emphasized.  “However, the present policy of involving state and local law enforcement agencies in the enforcement of federal immigration law, such as in the ‘Secure Communities’ program, is not achieving that goal.  True security lies in building relationships and respecting human rights and only true, comprehensive, compassionate immigration reform can deal with the crisis in our nation.  Therefore, we are declaring ourselves “Immigrant Welcoming Communities.”

The following ten congregations of Catholic sisters are coordinating this public awareness campaign: Congregation of the Humility of Mary, Davenport, Ia., the Dominican Sisters, Sinsinawa, Wis.; Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dubuque, Ia.; Sisters of the Presentation, Dubuque, Ia.; Sisters of St. Francis, Dubuque, Ia.; Sisters of the Visitation, Dubuque, Ia.; Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, Ia.; Sisters of St. Benedict, Rock Island, Ill.; Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, La Crosse, Wis.; Sisters of Mercy, West Midwest Community, Omaha, Neb. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/catholicsisters.

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FCC information request, hold on nominees PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 09:46
Thursday, December 8, 2011

Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa today made the following comment regarding his intention to place a hold on two nominees for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) when the nominees are placed on the Senate calendar for consideration.

“More than seven months ago, I started asking the FCC for information that would shed light on the agency’s apparent rush to approve the LightSquared project.  The agency has provided none of the information and found excuses not to provide the information.  Even the private companies involved, LightSquared and Harbinger Capital, have promised to be more forthcoming than the FCC as a public agency funded by the taxpayers.  LightSquared and Harbinger Capital promised to provide me with requested documents on their dealings with the FCC this week.  As a last resort to try to exhort more transparency and accountability from the FCC, I’ll place a hold on consideration of the agency nominees on the Senate floor.  This agency controls a big part of the economy.  It conducts the public’s business.  And the public’s business ought to be public.”

 
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