Sulaimon Brown, an auditor, was the first declared candidate to challenge District of Columbia Mayor Adrian M. Fenty in the 2010 Democratic primary. Brown raised minimal sums, campaigned by mostly attacking Fenty, and ultimately urged voters to cast ballots for then-Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray. Brown came in dead-last in the primary, even behind the write-in candidates. Less than a month after Mayor Gray took office in January 2011, Brown was hired as an Excepted Service special assistant in the city’s Department of Health Care Finance (HCF), receiving an annual salary of $110,000.
President Obama’s health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), creates refundable tax credits to assist certain individuals in purchasing health insurance. Individuals in households below 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) qualify for a tax credit unless they are eligible for Medicare or Medicaid or someone in the household has an offer of “affordable” coverage at work. The PPACA also expands Medicaid by requiring that states enroll all applicants who live in households below 133 percent of the FPL. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the tax credits and the Medicaid expansion will increase the nation’s debt burden, excluding interest costs, by $1.36 trillion from 2015-2021, the first seven years that these PPACA provisions are fully implemented.
Facing the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, President Obama confronted the crisis by promoting “green jobs” as a major component of his recovery strategy. He promised that these programs would create five million jobs within ten years. He cited the efforts of other nations as the rationale to try and subsidize our way to energy independence. Yet, the other nations who tried this experiment have struggled and after nearly three years and billions of spent taxpayer dollars later, the American people have received very little return on President Obama’s signature investment.
In the wake of stagnant job creation, an unacceptably high unemployment rate and growing concern that our country is marching towards another recession, the House Committee on Oversight and Government is continuing its examination of regulations that are acting as impediments to job creation. Late last year, the Committee began the most expansive look in more than a decade at the impact that regulations were having on businesses – large and small – the result was input from more than 1,300 businesses and their representatives across the country.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has reviewed public-available data on the stimulus and prepared a comprehensive report that examines stimulus measures as well as how President Obama and his Administration “sold” the program to the public. On both accounts, stimulus failed.
This report explores the effect of Operation Fast and Furious on Mexico. Its lethal drug cartels obtained AK-47 variants, Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifles, .38 caliber revolvers, and FN Five-seveNs from Arizona gun dealers who were cooperating with the ATF by continuing to sell to straw purchasers identified in Operation Fast and Furious.
This report is the first in a series regarding Operation Fast and Furious. Possible future reports and hearings will likely focus on the actions of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona, the decisions faced by gun shop owners (FFLs) as a result of ATF’s actions, and the remarkably ill-fated decisions made by Justice Department officials in Washington, especially within the Criminal Division and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General. This first installment focuses on ATF’s misguided approach of letting guns walk. The report describes the agents’ outrage about the use of gunwalking as an investigative technique and the continued denials and stonewalling by DOJ and ATF leadership. It provides some answers as to what went wrong with Operation Fast and Furious. Further questions for key ATF and DOJ decision makers remain unanswered. For example, what leadership failures within the Department of Justice allowed this program to thrive? Who will be held accountable and when?
The Oversight and Government Reform Committee has conducted a yearlong investigation into the efficiency, adequacy, and accuracy of the federal response to the Gulf Oil Spill. This on-going investigative effort included three separate fact finding trips to southern Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida, careful examinations of accounts provided by the Administration that directly conflict with the experience of federal and local officials on the ground, as well as a Congressional hearing. Investigators have interviewed over 50 federal, state, and local officials, as well as more than 50 residents of the affected region. The results of the investigation are documented in this report as well as a staff report issued by Ranking Member Issa on July 1, 2010, entitled How the White House Public Relations Campaign on the Oil Spill is Harming the Actual Clean-Up.
The Obama Administration has advanced an agenda that discourages development of domestic carbon-based energy resources. Administration actions include the threat of new federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing, withdrawal of federal lands, both on and offshore, from energy production, increasingly burdensome requirements for oil shale research and development leases, and a de facto moratorium on drilling permits. This strategy has added to permitting delays, created additional layers of review, and prolonged study periods. In addition, other laws such as the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Air Act have been used to further suppress domestic oil and gas production, leading to higher gasoline prices and growing dependence on foreign oil. The Administration has also proposed a series of discriminatory tax increases targeting oil and gas producers in order to subsidize its favorite industry: so-called “clean energy” (primarily wind and solar).
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has learned through the course of an eight-month investigation that political staff under DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano have corrupted the agency’s FOIA compliance procedures, exerted political pressure on FOIA compliance officers, and undermined the federal government’s accountability to the American people.