Dallas Morning News: Marchant bill banning use of personal email for IRS business passes Ways and MeansPosted by on March 26, 2015
By Aubree Abril
WASHINGTON – The House Committee on Ways and Means advanced Rep. Kenny Marchant’s bill to prohibit IRS employees from using personal email accounts for official business.
“The IRS Email Transparency Act shines a light on irresponsible IRS behavior and takes important steps to safeguard confidential taxpayer information,” Marchant, R-Coppell, said in a statement Wednesday.
When he introduced the bill last month, Marchant said it was in direct response to the results of a committee investigation into the IRS political targeting scandal. That investigation, he said “revealed that, among other abuses, one of the agency’s top officials used her personal email address for official business.”
He said that practice put confidential taxpayer information at risk.
“The use of personal email for official IRS business jeopardizes the security of confidential taxpayer information. This is wrong and it should be against the law,” Marchant said.
The IRS has existing administrative rules banning the use of personal email accounts for official business, said Tom Barthold, chief of staff to the Joint Committee on Taxation. Marchant’s bill would legally prohibit employees from using their personal accounts for any official business.
Posted by on March 23, 2015
A letter to President Obama signed by 367 members of Congress warns that lawmakers must be satisfied that any Iranian nuclear agreement must "foreclose any pathway to a bomb" before they lift sanctions against Tehran.
The letter, which was drafted in early March but released on Monday, warns Obama that "permanent sanctions relief from congressionally-mandated sanctions would require new legislation" from Congress.
"Congress must be convinced that its terms foreclose any pathway to a bomb, and only then will Congress be able to consider permanent sanctions relief," reads the letter, led by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and ranking member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).
U.S. and international negotiators are up against a March 31 deadline for a framework agreement with Iran to roll back its nuclear program.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and 46 other senators sent a letter to Iran on March 9 warning it that Congress needed to have a role in approving any deal. White House officials blasted that letter, and have threatened to veto any legislation that comes before the talks are set to conclude on June 30.
Senators, however, appear poised to pounce on legislation after they return from recess, which runs between March 30 and April 10.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced on Friday he would schedule a committee vote April 14 on a bill that would allow Congress 60 days to review any deal before its implementation.
Although the House letter does not mention specific legislation, it said, "we are prepared to evaluate any agreement to determine its long-term impact on the United States and our allies."
"We remain hopeful that a diplomatic solution preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon may yet be reached, and we want to work with you to assure such a result," it said.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) indicated Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation" that the House would also pursue similar legislation as the Senate.
"As the House, you have some responsibility," he said.
U.S. Congressman Kenny Marchant (TX-24) was an original cosigner of the letter. To view this article on The Hill’s website, please click here.
Posted by on March 13, 2015
BY MARIA RECIO AND ANNA M. TINSLEY – STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITERSU.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell, must be clairvoyant.
He had just introduced legislation in late February that would prohibit IRS officers and employees from using personal email accounts to conduct official business when suddenly it became one of the hottest issues on Capitol Hill.
Not because of the IRS but because a New York Times story revealed that as secretary of state Hillary Clinton had used only private email accounts far from the prying eyes of archivists.
Marchant, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, was motivated by reports that former IRS official Lois Lerner had targeted conservative fund-raising groups over their tax-exempt status.
“The Ways and Means Committee investigation into IRS political targeting revealed that, among other abuses, one of the agency’s top officials used her personal email address for official business,” Marchant said. “She put confidential taxpayer information at direct risk of falling into the wrong hands. This is a breach of IRS protocol and betrays the trust of the American people. It should be against the law.”
This story originally appeared in the Star-Telegram’s PoliTex blog on March 13, 2015. To view the blog post in its entirety, please click here.
Posted by on March 11, 2015
BY MARIA RECIO – STAR-TELEGRAM WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON – Johnny Wayne Martin, 91, of Fort Worth finally got the medals and recognition he earned for his service in World War II in a ceremony Tuesday at Rep. Kenny Marchant’s office in Irving.
Maria Recio is the Star-Telegram’s Washington bureau chief.Twitter: @maria_e_recio
Posted by on March 09, 2015
By Colby Itkowitz
Several days before the world found out former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton was using a private e-mail account exclusively for all communication, including work-related conversations, a Republican congressman sought to bar Internal Revenue Service employees from using their non-official e-mail for government business.
Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Tex.) introduced a bill on Feb. 27 directed at the IRS and intended to address allegations that former IRS official Lois Lerner used her personal account to discuss IRS matters. A House Republican-conducted report released in March 2014 said: “Her willingness to handle this information on a non-official e-mail account highlights her disregard for confidential taxpayer information.”
Marchant’s somewhat prescient legislation highlights a loophole in the Federal Records Act. While federal government employees are discouraged from using personal e-mail, it’s not barred. The law was updated in late 2014 to say that if personal e-mail is used for work, it must be turned over to be officially archived within 20 days.
In September 2014, during a House Oversight Committee hearing on the Lerner e-mails, the IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said it’s policy not to use personal e-mails.
“…one of the things we’re doing is making sure everybody understands that you cannot use your e-mail for IRS business,” he said. “That’s been a policy; we need to reinforce that.”
But the official IRS employee manual only says that “sensitive but unclassified” data can’t be e-mailed outside the IRS network, but nothing about an outright prohibition.
In the case of Lerner, House GOP wanted her e-mails during its investigation into whether the IRS had targeted nonprofits for their political leanings when considering tax exempt status.
Though the Clinton story shined a light on the federal government’s e-mail policy, Marchant’s office said he doesn’t have any plans to expand the bill to prohibit official business on all feds’ personal e-mail accounts.
Posted by on March 07, 2015
By Anna M. Tinsley - firstname.lastname@example.org
DeWayne Irwin is finding it nearly impossible to keep a popular bullet used in AR-15 semiautomatic rifles on his store shelves.
“He’s going to burn us, and this is how he’s going to do it,” Irwin said. “He’s got 18 months … and he’s going to executive-order the crap out of us.”
‘Not a gun grab’
Under the ATF proposal, gun owners could use all the M855 green-tip bullets they have, but no more could be made.
As some allege that this is the president’s backdoor way of restricting guns, local Republican congressional leaders are coming out in force against the ATF proposal.
Posted by on October 22, 2014
By Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas)
Posted by on October 03, 2014
By TODD J. GILLMAN
WASHINGTON — Pressure mounted Friday for a ban on travel from Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa — a step the White House and top health officials resist as counterproductive and an overreaction to the virus’ arrival in the U.S.
The potential for the virus to spread farther, in Dallas and to other U.S. cities, has amplified calls for a ban.
On Friday, a hospital in Washington put a Nigerian traveler in isolation with suspicion that he, too, is infected. Public health experts say more cases will inevitably crop up, and the White House deployed top administration officials to offer assurances to an increasingly jittery public.
“Swift action must be taken to ensure that this deadly virus does not spread inside our nation,” said Rep. Kenny Marchant, whose district includes Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, where Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan arrived Sept. 19.
Marchant, R-Coppell, called for an immediate ban on all non-Americans coming from Liberia, citing “inadequate screening” of departing passengers and the serious risk to the American public. Sen. Ted Cruz also wants to limit or halt travel from West Africa.
“It is imperative that the FAA take every available precaution in preventing additional cases from arriving in the United States,” Cruz wrote FAA administrator Michael Huerta.
Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has insisted that a travel ban isn’t a good idea.
“I wish we could get to zero risk by sealing off the border, but we can't. The only way we're going to get to zero risk in this country is by controlling it in Africa,” he told Fox News on Friday.
Lisa Monaco, the top White House adviser on homeland security, added: “Right now we believe those type steps actually impede the response.”
A number of African countries and a handful of airlines have curbed or banned air travel to countries wrestling with Ebola — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
From Monrovia, the Liberian capital, Duncan flew to Brussels and Washington on his way to D/FW to visit relatives. Liberian officials say he lied before departure by denying exposure to Ebola. But he had no fever, and didn’t become sick — and contagious — until a few days after his arrival in Texas.
“You may be able to slow it down a bit” and prevent contagious patients from infecting others in transit, Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, told reporters. “The idea that you can stop a virus at the airport or before it gets on an airplane is as much an antique as the notion that Ellis Island will screen out all disease among the immigrants.”
Conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham, among others, has called for a travel ban.
“Politics trumps security, safety, health security,” Ingraham told her listeners Wednesday. “Obama — familial connection with Africa. … It doesn’t make any sense not to have stopped these flights from coming in.”
U.S. and international public health authorities concede that more Ebola cases are likely to surface in the United States and other developed countries. But with the medical infrastructure to prevent a wide spread of the disease, the tradeoff is worth it, they contend.
At the World Health Organization, spokesman Daniel Epstein said that what Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone need most, he said, is outside help.
“It makes everything much more difficult if the airlines have to stop flying into and out of these countries,” he said, adding that cutting off air connections wouldn’t stop Ebola from spreading anyway. “People could go by land. You could block trains and they’ll go by a boat.”
Marchant has asked House Speaker John Boehner to pursue a travel ban legislatively. He also has asked House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Austin, to hold hearings on implementing such a ban.
Congress isn’t scheduled to return to work until Nov. 12, after a seven-week recess. Boehner’s office declined to weigh in on the matter.
McCaul stopped short of calling for a travel ban but called the Dallas case “a wake-up call.”
He said he’s been in contact with Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and the CDC director “to urge them to reassess our screening efforts at U.S. ports of entry to ensure we are doing all we can to prevent the importation of additional cases into the United States.”
On Friday, Sen. John Cornyn asked U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske for more information on the agency’s screening process.
“Under current protocols, what specific events or indicators would justify an enhanced screening process by CBP? Is CBP currently considering additional plans to increase enhanced screenings of incoming passengers?” Cornyn wrote.
The customs agency declined to comment Friday but said it would respond to the Texas Republican.
For epidemics, travel bans have been tried before with mixed and often disappointing results.
Garrett, from the Council on Foreign Relations, recalled that at the height of the swine flu epidemic, Asian countries “quarantined entire jet-loads of Americans and Mexicans.” Many spent weeks in hotels.
Yet “every country, no matter what measures they took, ended up getting flu within their borders,” she said.
Staff writer Kimberly Railey contributed to this report.
Follow Todd J. Gillman on Twitter at @toddgillman.To view this story on the dallasnews website, please click here.
Posted by on August 22, 2014
By Kristin Tate
August 22, 2014
HOUSTON, Texas -- A new letter from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) admits that illegal aliens were being allowed to board planes using Notice to Appear forms received after entering the U.S. illegally. The revelation directly contradicts a TSA statement last month denying such allegations to various media outlets, including Breitbart News. In July Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby broke the news that the TSA was letting illegal aliens board planes using Notice to Appear forms; subsequently, a TSA spokesperson publicly attacked Darby on Twitter, insisting that his report was "completely wrong."
The newly-surfaced TSA letter was penned on August 7, according to the Gateway Pundit. It was reportedly sent from the TSA to Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX), a member of the Border Security Caucus. The letter confirms that illegal aliens are being allowed to board planes using a Notice to Appear form (also known as I-862), as Darby revealed in July.
Hector Garza, a spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) told Darby that Notice to Appear forms can "easily be reproduced or manipulated on any home computer. The Notice to Appear form has no photo, anyone can make one and manipulate one. They do not have any security features, no watermark, nothing. They are simply printed on standard copy paper based on the information the illegal alien says is the truth."
According to the Gateway Pundit, the August 7 letter from the TSA admitted, "If a passenger does not have an acceptable form of identification, then the passenger is allowed to present two other forms of identification. One of the two forms of identification must bear the individual’s name and other identifying information such as photo, address, phone number, social security number, or date of birth. TSA may assess a variety of government issued documents to establish passenger identity. The I-862 form may be used along with another form of identification in this instance."
It continued, "If a passenger can only present a Form I-862, TSA will attempt to establish the passenger’s identity through DHS partner Components, such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)."
Despite the letter's admissions, the TSA had previously insisted that Darby's report--which detailed the acceptance of Notice to Appear forms at airports--was untrue.
TSA Press Secretary Ross Feinstein took to Twitter to attack Darby and the NPBC. After claiming that Darby's report was "completely wrong," Feinstein falsely stated that no one had “contacted us for a statement and/or info before publishing story."
Darby responded to Feinstein, showing a screenshot which proved that he had, indeed, attempt to reach out to the agency via email prior to the publishing of his article.
The TSA continued to deny Darby's allegations. The agency said in a statement to multiple news outlets, "These reports are false. A Notice to Appear, issued by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), is not an acceptable form of ID at the TSA checkpoint."
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.
Posted by on August 19, 2014
Congressman Marchant honors 72 Eagle Scouts
Posted Tuesday, August 19, 2014
BY MARTY SABOTA
IRVING — Congressman Kenny Marchant, who represents the 24th Congressional District — which includes Colleyville, Grapevine and Southlake among other districts — recently hosted the 10th annual Eagle Scout Ceremony where a record was set.
The Aug. 7 event gathered a record 72 Boy Scouts from the district who attained the rank of Eagle Scout over the past year.
The ceremony, which was held at the National Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Irving, was structured to highlight each Scout by providing them the opportunity to describe their Eagle Scout project to their peers, Scout leaders and family members.
Nearly 300 people attended.
Projects included renovating public buildings, assisting the homeless, public landscaping and retiring thousands of American flags through the proper ceremonial procedure.
Marchant, who represents cities in Northeast Tarrant County and Northwest Dallas County, congratulated each Scout on his achievement following each Eagle Scout project presentation.
“I was honored to recognize over 70 new Eagle Scouts at our largest event to date,” the congressman said. “Each Eagle Scout made a special presentation about their contributions to the community and then was recognized of their achievement. I am very proud of them.”
Bill Steele, director of the National Eagle Scout Association, joined the ceremony as keynote speaker. He congratulated the Eagle Scouts on their distinction and spoke about the value of their achievement.
The Eagle Scout rank is the highest honor in the Boy Scouts of America program. To achieve this honor, the Scout must earn at least 21 merit badges, develop and oversee a community service project and fulfill a pledge to live according to the Scout oath.
According to the National Eagle Scout Association, less than five percent of Scouts earn Eagle Scout rank each year.
The honored Eagle Scouts included 16 from Grapevine, eight from Southlake and four from Colleyville.
Colleyville: Joseph Campbell II, Troop 4; Brian Lang, Troop 98; Alec Reuter, Troop 905; and Luke Sheppard, Troop 28.
Grapevine: Adam Alexander, Troop 1905; Nik Bacon, Troop 700; George Carson, Troop 700; Tom Cassady, Troop 4; Alvin Christensen, Troop 240; Joshua Copeland, Troop 7; Connor Croak, Troop 740; Cole Deters, Troop 700; John Failor, Troop 7; Alex Luce, Troop 700; Michael Obenhaus, Troop 28; Dillon Rathman, Troop 905; Ryan Roop, Troop 845; Mark Swope, Troop 928; Nick Walker, Troop 28; and Sawyer, Troop 28.
Southlake: Austin Brannon, Troop 937; Michael Dachniwsky, Troop 928; Austin Hintze, Troop 700; Connor McTaggart, Troop 928; Brooks Ragsdale, Troop 928; Paxton Riney, Troop 7; Nolin Wheeler, Troop 928; and Colton Williams, Troop 928.
Of those, three were from Grapevine’s historic Troop 7: Riney, Failor and Copeland.
Those Scouts were among nine teenage Scouts and three adult leaders from Troop 7 who recently completed a twelve day, 100-plus mile hiking adventure through the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range at the world’s largest youth camp — Philmont Scout Ranch.
Bill Norton, Scoutmaster of Troop 7, said it was a fun trip that added to the troop’s decades of memories.
“Last year, we celebrated 100 years of Scouting for possibly one of the first chartered Scout troops west of the Mississippi,” Norton said.
On the recent excursion to New Mexico, the crew climbed thousands of feet high up steep mountains, slipped down mud-caked valleys in torrential rain and braved bears, mountain lions and other hazardous wildlife.
They carried more than 40 pounds of gear on their backs.
Life Scout Lane Tschirhart of Troop 7 wrote about their adventure.
“After making the two-day drive to the camp’s location in Cimarron, N.M., the troop began packing all the supplies, including tents, pots, clothes, sleeping bags and several gallons worth of water into large hiking backpacks for the journey,” Tschirhart said.
The Scouts would wake around 5:30 a.m. every day, break down camp and begin a hike that usually ranged between six and 12 miles.
The troop often stopped for rock climbing, fly-fishing, tomahawk throwing, shooting and other educational activities, he said.
They mostly ate beef jerky, energy bars, crackers and other dehydrated food and would boil water to cook rice, beans and spaghetti.
After hiking into one campsite staffed by Philmont personnel, they were surprised with a chuck wagon chili dinner with peach cobbler.
“At night the troop would stuff their food, toiletries, Gatorade-carrying water bottles and other smellables into bags and hang them from trees so that bears did not raid the camp and steal their food,” Tschirhart said.
Troop 7 also participated in a conservation project that helped preserve Philmont’s trails from falling into disrepair.
Among the peaks the troop climbed were the Tooth of Time — Philmont’s iconic rock formation — and Mount Phillips, which was the tallest mountain the crew climbed at 11,742 feet above sea level.
“While climbing up the steep switchbacks to Lookout Peak, a sudden rainstorm broke out and soaked everyone,” Tschirhart said. “At one point, lighting struck dangerously close to the open meadow the boys were crossing. “
On the way back to base camp, they had to cross two flash floods that were running over the trail.
“There was no way around, so a few boys crossed and held onto a rope to keep the other boys from being swept away by the water,” Tschirhart said. “By using teamwork, the boys made sure that not only their own group, but other Troops from Dallas, Seattle and other cities crossed safely.”
Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367To read this story on the Southlake Journal website, please click here.