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Tag: Congress

U.S. Rep. Michael G. Grimm to Surrender to Federal Authorities on Charges Tied to Old Business

Rep. Michael Grimm

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Michael G. Grimm, the New York Congressman under investigation over his past ownership of a restaurant in Manhattan, is expected to turn himself over to federal authorities today, the Washington Post reports.

Grimm faces multiple charges connected to his former Manhattan health food restaurant that had ties with an Israeli fundraiser. The related donations reached more than $500,000.

The FBI declined to comment.

Grimm, who has denied improprieties, acknowledged collecting up to $300,000 in contributions from followers of Israeli Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto. Members of the congregation donated tens of thousands of dollars in allegedly illegal contributions that included gifts.

Congressional Leaders Call on FBI, Others to Investigate 5-Year-Old Peace Corps Murder in Africa

Kate Puzey (left), photo from KatesVoice.net

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Investigators haven’t made much headway in the brutal murder of a Peace Corps volunteer after she claimed a local Peace Corps employee was sexually assaulting girls where she worked in the West African country of Benin five years ago, WPRO.com reports.

On Thursday, 184 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle signed a letter urging the federal government, including the FBI, to “make every effort to devote every resource to achieve justice for Kate Puzey.”

The 24-year-old Georgia resident was murdered on March 12, 2009.

“It continues the visibility of the case in the eyes of the people that need not to lose sight of the tragedy,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-GA, a co-author of the letter and advocate for the Puzey family.

The letter was addressed to the FBI, Department of State and Inspector General of the Peace Corps.

 

DEA Worried About Fido Or Running Out of Reasons to Keep Marijuana Illegal?

DEA stock photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Is the DEA running out of ideas to reverse the seismic shift in attitudes about marijuana?

DEA Chief Michele Leonhart told congressional members this week that pot can kill Fido, citing evidence that dogs have died after eating marijuana-infused food, the Huffington Post reports.

“There was just an article last week, and it was on pets. It was about the unanticipated or unexpected consequences of this, and how veterinarians now are seeing dogs come in, their pets come in, and being treated because they’ve been exposed to marijuana,” Leonhart said.

Leonart is referring to dogs that have eaten edibles and was referencing a USA Today story that said dogs could die while throwing up pot products, like butter. But Leonart didn’t mention that the article added that “marijuana itself isn’t particularly harmful to dogs,” and that dogs rarely eat marijuana by itself.

Congress Slams ATF Director Over Blundered Undercover Storefront Operations

US Attorney B. Todd Jones

Todd Jones

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ATF Director B. Todd Jones’ first appearance before Congress wasn’t a pleasant one.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that congressional members from both sides slammed Jones over the agency’s blunders in undercover storefront operations.

Some of the problems included using people with mental disabilities to promote undercover operations.

Jones defended the agency, saying it didn’t knowingly target people with mental disabilities.

“You don’t think that your agents, dealing with a man with an IQ in the 50s, knew he was mentally disabled?” asked U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).

U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.), who used to teach children with disabilities, said people with low IQs are easy to recognize.

“Anyone with any life experience can ask simple questions,” he said. “I was surrounded by these kids. They are some of the best, nicest people who try their best and just want to please. I am appalled you would use these individuals like this and arrest them later.”

Responded Jones: “Hindsight is 20/20.”

Is Pot More Dangerous Than Alcohol? DEA Deputy Director Refuses to Answer Question Before Congress

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It was a simple question: Is marijuana more dangerous than alcohol?

Yet DEA Deputy Director Thomas Harrigan wouldn’t provide an answer during a House oversight committee hearing.

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-TN, asked because DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart insisted in January that pot is more dangerous than alcohol.

“Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance that Congress has passed, Congress has agreed to,” Harrigan responded.

“We’re not talking about that,” Cohen fired back. “Marijuana as it is standing on its own. Is it worse than alcohol, that kills tens of thousands of people and causes much violence and cirrhosis of the liver and DTs?”

Harrigan replied: “Again, marijuana is a Schedule I controlled drug.”

Cohen gave up.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Congressional Panel to Probe Discovery That FBI Was in Direct Contact with Osama bin Laden in 1990s

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A special congressional panel will investigate revelations this week that the FBI was in direct contact with Osama bin Laden in the early 1990s, the Washington Times reports.

The agency’s close contact with bin Laden was never included in the official investigations of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but the Washington Times disclosed the existence of a mole Wednesday after being tipped off about an old employment case that happens to divulge the information.

The investigation will be taken up by a special panel that was recently authorized by Congress to review FBI reforms following the terrorist attacks.

Marijuana Lobbying Group Expects 2014 to be a ‘Huge’ Year

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com
One of the most successful of the marijuana legalization lobbying organizations, the Marijuana Policy Project(MPP) announced its 2014 strategic plan and expects a “huge” year in passing state medical marijuana and legalization laws, as well as action in Congress to block drug enforcement activity.

Twenty years ago marijuana was illegal in all forms and in all states. This year MPP expects New York to join the other 20 states authorizing medical marijuana, as well as West Virginia in the next year or two. They also plan to have Illinois and Vermont expand the coverage of their existing programs.

The 2014 plan also aims to decriminalize possession with new laws in Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland and the District of Columbia. This would reduce enforcement to a ticketable offense.

MPP’s ultimate objective is to make marijuana use, distribution, and cultivation legal in all states. Pro-marijuana lobbyists will be active in Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Nevada, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Montana. Proposed legislation will attempt to follow the model successfully enacted in Colorado.

In Congress MPP intends to have a bill introduced to make marijuana a matter of states’ rights. Other bills are expected to attempt to block DOJ from interfering with the medical marijuana programs in the states.

 

NSA’s Widespread Surveillance Even Includes Members of Congress, Their Staff Members

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Not even members of Congress are immune to the NSA’s wide surveillance reach.

During a House Judiciary Committee meeting Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General James Cole admitted that the NSA “probably” collects phone records of lawmakers and their staff, the National Journal reports.

But Justice Department official said the information isn’t used without a reason to search.

“We’re not allowed to look at any of those, however, unless we have reasonable, articulable suspicion that those numbers are related to a known terrorist threat,” Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said.