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Category Archives: Congress

FOIA to DOJ Seeking Legal Analysis Used By Treasury to Withhold Tax Return Info from Congress

American Oversight – Trump’s Tax Returns: “According to the Treasury Department, Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s refusal to comply with a House committee’s request for the president’s tax returns is based on a Justice Department legal analysis — even though the IRS issued a memorandum concluding that such documents must be produced unless there is a claim of executive privilege. We’ve asked the Justice and Treasury Departments for records of and communications about that legal analysis for the IRS memo…”

AP – Justice backs Mnuchin’s refusal to turn over Trump’s taxes: “…The 33-page opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel argues that the committee’s chairman, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., wanted to make the president’s tax returns public and because of that plan, the request was not to carry out a legitimate legislative function. But Neal has said the law is clear the information must be released to Congress, the documents were sought to aid a committee investigation into whether the IRS is doing its job properly to audit a sitting president, and obtaining them would be a “necessary piece” of the committee’s work…”

In Court, Facebook Blames Users for Destroying Their Own Right to Privacy

The Intercept: “In April 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sat before members of both houses of Congress and told them his company respected the privacy of the roughly two billion people who use it. “Privacy” remained largely undefined throughout Zuckerberg’s televised flagellations, but he mentioned the concept more than two dozen times, including when he… Continue Reading

Transparency Caucus features tools to track legislative information

Alex Howell [includes video of the forum]: “On June 7, the Transparency Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives hosted a remarkable forum inside of the United States Capitol that featured ten presentations from government officials and members of civil society on innovative tools and technologies. Following is a run down of who spoke and… Continue Reading

The House Streamlines Subpoena Enforcement

LawFare: “The House of Representatives adopted a resolution on June 11 authorizing Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chair of the House Committee on the Judiciary, to go to court to pursue civil enforcement of subpoenas issued to Attorney General William Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn. Importantly, however, the measure also makes changes that will… Continue Reading

Regulating Big Tech: Legal Implications

CRS Legal Sidebar via LC – Regulating Big Tech: Legal Implications. June 11, 2019. “Amidst growing debate over the legal framework governing social media sites and other technology companies, several Members of Congress have expressed interest in expanding current regulations of the major American technology companies, often referred to as “Big Tech.” This Legal Sidebar… Continue Reading

Staff Pay Levels for Selected Positions in House Member Offices, 2001-2018

CRS Report via LC – Staff Pay Levels for Selected Positions in House Member Offices, 2001-2018. June 11, 2019. “Levels of pay for congressional staff are a source of recurring questions among Members of Congress, congressional staff, and the public.There may be interest in congressional pay data from multiple perspectives, including assessment of the costs… Continue Reading

Staff Pay Levels for Selected Positions in Senators’ Offices, FY2001-FY2018

CRS Report via LC – Staff Pay Levels for Selected Positions in Senators’ Offices, FY2001-FY2018. June 11, 2019. “Levels of pay for congressional staff are a source of recurring questions among Members of Congress, congressional staff, and the public.There may be interest in congressional pay data from multiple perspectives, including assessment of the costs of… Continue Reading

America Adrift – How the U.S. Foreign Policy Debate Misses What Voters Really Want

Center for American Progress Study, America Adrift, May 5, 2019 – “These days, foreign policy and national security publications are filled with stark warnings about the demise of the U.S.-led rules-based international order—the system of global alliances and institutions that helped advance peace and prosperity for America and its allies in the aftermath of World… Continue Reading

The Self-Destruction of American Power

Via Axios: “The July/August issue of Foreign Affairs offers what editor Gideon Rose calls “an autopsy of the last decades of American global leadership — the years when U.S. elites squandered the inheritance and good name bequeathed to them.” Fareed Zakaria on “The Self-Destruction of American Power”: Sometime in the last two years, American hegemony… Continue Reading

Pennsylvania identity theft case trends

PA Courts: “Over the last five years, Pennsylvania has seen a gradual decrease in identity theft cases. Identity theft is defined as the fraudulent use of another person’s identifying information (social security number, bank account, birth certificate etc.). The infographic below highlights key data including defendant demographics, identity theft case counts and outcomes as well… Continue Reading

Many Americans Say Made-Up News Is a Critical Problem That Needs To Be Fixed

Pew – Politicians viewed as major creators made-up news, but journalists seen as the ones who should fix it – “Many Americans say the creation and spread of made-up news and information is causing significant harm to the nation and needs to be stopped, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of 6,127 U.S.… Continue Reading

Internet of Things – An Introduction

CRS Report via LC – Internet of Things (IoT): An Introduction, June 4, 2019 – “The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated devices that are connected to a network and/or to each other, exchanging data without necessarily requiring human-to-machine interaction. In other words, IoT is a collection of electronic devices that can… Continue Reading