Elizabeth Warren embraces bank bailouts at taxpayer expense for Puerto Rico creditors

June 29, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement blasting Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for voting against legislation that restructures Puerto Rico’s $72 billion of debt:

“It is ironic that Elizabeth Warren, who made her name fighting against too big to fail and bank bailouts, voted no on the Puerto Rico debt restructuring that makes banks pay for betting poorly in the bond market. Apparently, Warren’s time in D.C. has already taught her it is better to be cozy with the hedge fund bond traders than with the American people.

“While no legislation is perfect, PROMESA protects American taxpayers by putting unsecured creditors at the bottom of the list for payment, and guarantees that those who bet poorly on Puerto Rico debt get a cramdown and not a bailout.”

Attachments:

U.S. Reps. Sean Duffy, Rob Bishop and Raul Labrador protect taxpayers from bailing out Puerto Rico creditors, Americans for Limited Government statement, June 10, 2016 at https://getliberty.org/u-s-reps-sean-duffy-rob-bishop-and-raul-labrador-protect-taxpayers-from-bailing-out-puerto-rico-creditors/

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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Support for illegal Internet giveaway collapses in Congress

June 27, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement praising Senate and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) for a letter to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) calling it “troubling that NTIA appears to have taken these actions in violation of this prohibition” of Section 539 of the Omnibus spending bill that forbids the NTIA from relinquishing control over the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to any group including ICANN:

“Sen. Grassley and Rep. Goodlatte’s leadership in protecting the Internet is one of the reasons that the transition has not already occurred, and now their letter to NTIA shows that powerful Senate and House leaders are lining up to defend the power of the purse from the Obama administration’s illegal Internet giveaway. NTIA is little more than a rogue agency,  illegally preparing to violate a federal statute by proceeding with the transition in spite of a clear prohibition. Now is the time to hold NTIA accountable and renew the prohibition for at least another year, forcing the current contract with ICANN to be renewed.

“Grassley and Goodlatte’s letter comes after Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune has expressed skepticism of the transition, citing unanswered questions, and House Appropriations Commerce, Science and Justice Subcommittee Chairman Rep. John Culberson has warned the Commerce Department that is violating the defund. With so much uncertainty, renewing the contract is the only way to go.”

Attachments:

Letter from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), June 27, 2016 at http://www.grassley.senate.gov/sites/default/files/judiciary/upload/2016-06-27%20GEG%2C%20Goodlatte%20to%20National%20Telecommunications%20and%20Information%20Administration%20%28IANA%20Transition%29.pdf

“[D]espite the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus spending bill’s prohibition on NTIA using any funds in furtherance of the transition, NTIA has been working to transfer the IANA functions by devoting staff time and commissioning outsides studies on the subject. Specifically Section 539 of the FY2016 Omnibus states that funds provided in the Act may not be used to relinquish NTIA’s responsibility for the Internet domain name system functions, including responsibility with respect to the authoritative root zone file and the IANA functions. However, in NTIA’s recent ‘IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal Assessment Report,’ NTIA states that, among other actions it ‘utilized a number of resources and tools’ to review and assess the IANA stewardship proposal. Further NTIA states that it utilized the DNS Interagency Working Group, comprised of 15 government agencies, to ‘engage U.S. federal government agencies on matters related to the IANA Stewardship Transition, including proposal review and assessment.’ As we are sure you are aware, it is a violation of federal law for an officers or employee of the United States Government ‘to make or authorize an expenditure or obligation exceeding an amount available in an appropriation or fund for the expenditure or obligation.’ It is troubling that NTIA appears to have taken these actions in violation of this prohibition.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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Support Duffy-Marino amendment to cut Community Development Financial Institutions account by $20.7 million

June 21, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement to support an amendment by U.S. Reps. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) and Tom Marino (R-Pa.) that would decrease funding to the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) account by $20.7 million

“The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) account at the Department of Justice has received $20.7 in illegal monies from legal settlements. The Duffy amendment will offset these illegal increases in the program outside of the congressional appropriations process by the Obama Administration. Only Congress should appropriate money, not the Department of Justice through legal shakedowns.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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Sens. Grassley, Sasse, Lee, Lankford back renewing Cruz-Duffy amendment to save the Internet

June 21, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement praising Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) for backing an amendment to the Senate Commerce, Science and Justice appropriations bill by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) that would make transitioning by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to any entity outside the U.S. government illegal:

“The Internet’s naming conventions, which have always been under government oversight, should not be transferred. The domain name system is too important for Congress to allow the Obama administration to relinquish oversight on a whim. We thank Sens. Grassley, Sasse, Lee and Lankford for backing this important legislation.

“Renewing this provision of the 2016 Omnibus is even more necessary as it is clear NTIA is already proceeding with the Internet surrender despite being explicitly prohibited from doing so in under the law. While Congress pursues options for enforcing the existing defund, passing the Cruz-Duffy language again would send a clear message to NTIA that Congress takes the power of the purse serious. That makes Sen. Grassley’s support particularly important due to his powerful position as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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House Financial Services Approps asserts Article One prerogatives

June 20, 2016, Fairfax, Va.–Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement urging passage of the House Financial Services Appropriations Bill:

“The House Financial Services bill is an Article I bill. It will defund the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from getting printing press money from the Fed. It will end the individual mandate under Obamacare, defend churches against IRS abuses. It will defund certain Treasury regulations regarding investments in overseas coal-fired plants. It will prohibit the Financial Stability Board from taking over and bailing out financial institutions under Dodd-Frank. It cuts off any funding for the Cuban military and intelligence. It defunds Net Neutrality. And it even comes in $1.5 billion under the previous year’s appropriations level.

“This is exactly what taxpayers expect from a Republican Congress, reining in abuses by the Obama Administration and curtailing the use of state power against the American people. Using the Congressional power of the purse to limit the executive branch is exactly what the Framers intended when they implemented the separation of powers.

“The Financial Services appropriations subcommittee led by Chairman Ander Crenshaw should be very proud of their work shown by their determination to not allow President Obama’s abuses of power to remain unchecked.  Americans for Limited Government strongly urges the passage of this legislation through the Rules Committee, the House of Representatives and Congress as a whole.

“The legislation should be strengthened even further by inclusion of an amendment by U.S. Rep. John Katko that prevents the IRS from violating the privacy rights of taxpayers by stopping the agency from hiring outside counsel to lead investigations.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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ALG supports Katko amendment to stop IRS intimidation

June 13, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement in support of an amendment to the Department of Treasury appropriations bill that prohibits the Internal Revenue Service from hiring outside individuals or firms to take sworn testimony, or to conduct examination work involving confidential taxpayer information:

“Representative John Katko’s proposed amendment to the Department of Treasury appropriations bill rolls back an IRS regulation that further weaponizes that agency’s ability to intimidate companies or individuals, and must be included into the bill.

“President Obama’s Internal Revenue Service’s abuse of taxpayer privacy and the politicization of the Agency has been on-going for years. Representative Katko’s amendment would prohibit the IRS from hiring outside individuals or firms to take sworn testimony, or to conduct examination work involving confidential taxpayer information.

“Taxpayer records are supposed to be confidential under penalty of a federal felony for releasing them for a reason, as even the hint of an IRS investigation can cause stock prices to plummet and do heavy damage to a company’s reputation. Yet, the IRS has skated this prohibition by allowing outside law firms to conduct investigations on their behalf targeting corporations, and Katko’s amendment would stop this new Obama Administration practice.

“Very few things can have the same chilling and intimidating effect on a corporation as an IRS investigation.  Americans for Limited Government strongly urges the House Rules Committee to allow the Katko amendment to be voted on by the full House of Representatives.  It is a common sense rollback of an Obama Administration regulation that threatens the legal prohibitions against IRS disclosure of investigation targets, and would end one area where IRS intimidation has a real impact.”

Attachments:

“Letters of marque and reprisal granted by IRS,” By Americans for Limited Government Foundation President and Counsel Nathan Mehrens, May 21, 2015 at http://netrightdaily.com/2015/05/letters-of-marque-and-reprisal-granted-by-irs/

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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U.S. Reps. Sean Duffy, Rob Bishop and Raul Labrador protect taxpayers from bailing out Puerto Rico creditors

Legislation guarantees there will be no taxpayer-funded bailout

June 10, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement praising U.S. Reps. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), and Rob Bishop (R-Utah) for their work on legislation restructuring Puerto Rico’s $72 billion debt:

“Often times members of Congress don’t get praised when they do the hard work on behalf of the American people to protect their interests. On the legislation restructuring Puerto Rico’s unsustainable $72 billion debt, U.S. Reps. Sean Duffy, Rob Bishop and Raul Labrador deserve a great deal of credit for protecting taxpayers from bailing out creditors who bet poorly on Puerto Rican debt. If the House had not acted with legislation, defaults would have mounted and pressure would have built for a taxpayer-funded bailout.

“Thanks to the House’s hard work and due diligence, led by Duffy, Bishop and Labrador, the legislation guarantees unsecured bondholders cannot cut in line in any debt restructuring and that restructuring will be mandatory when there are no other funds to pay debts, and when no other voluntary arrangement can be reached. The thoughtful process put in place by the House legislation shows how Congress has matured since 2008, and now is an institution that stands against taxpayer bailouts. We urge the House to carry that same temperament into other areas when investors make bad bets on securities of any kind, and that members will continue to protect taxpayers from socializing investor losses.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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U.S. Rep. John Culberson to Commerce Secretary on Internet giveaway: Not so fast

June 9, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement praising House Commerce, Science and Justice Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) for a letter he wrote today to the Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker stating “Section 539 of the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus prohibits funds provided in the Act from being used to relinquish the NTIA’s responsibility for the authoritative root zone file and the IANA functions, and I will ensure this section is fully enforced. As we have previously discussed, I continue to oppose the use of any funds to plan for, prepare for, work on [the] transition [of] the Internet Domain Name System functions”:

“Chairman Culberson’s leadership in protecting the Internet has been instrumental in the stopping the transition to date, and his letter to Secretary Pritzker sends a clear message that he’s not backing down now. Culberson is defending the constitutional power of the purse from the Obama administration’s illegal Internet giveaway. Culberson is standing against a rogue agency that thinks it can do whatever it wants.

“Not only can the Commerce Department not transition the Internet domain name system functions to ICANN, it cannot even plan to or prepare for the transition. That is because it is not only illegal to violate a federal statute, it is also illegal to plan to or prepare to violate a federal statute.

“We applaud Culberson for standing up for the free and open Internet, for protecting the constitutional power of the purse and the rule of law.”

Attachments:

U.S. Rep. John Culberson Acts to Protect Internet Freedom, press release, June 9, 2016 at http://culberson.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=398501

Letter to Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker from U.S. Rep. John Culberson, June 9, 2016 at http://culberson.house.gov/uploadedfiles/2016.06.09_doc_letter_on_iana.pdf

Section 539(a), Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 at https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2029/text: “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to relinquish the responsibility of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration … with respect to Internet domain name system functions, including responsibility with respect to the authoritative root zone file and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority functions.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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NTIA has no authority to transition IANA functions, let alone review such a proposal

June 9, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement in response to the “IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal Assessment Report” released today by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration:

“The Obama Administration’s Commerce Department has engaged in an evaluation of ICANN’s report on their suitability to take over Internet functions that are the property of the people of the United States. The problem is that, in doing so, the Obama Administration has clearly ignored the legal prohibition on expending funds to facilitate this Internet transition.

“NTIA has no authority to transition the IANA functions, let alone to review any such proposal. That is why Americans for Limited Government Foundation submitted a complaint to the Commerce Department Inspector General in regards to these clear violations to the Antideficiency Act that bars expenditures of funds for prohibited activities. NTIA administrator Lawrence Strickling has bound himself to the defund, saying in January 2015 that ‘The act does restrict NTIA from using appropriated dollars to relinquish our stewardship … with respect to Internet domain name system functions,’ but now instead he’s facilitating the transition for which there are no funds to consider.

“This clear slap in the face of Congress’ power of the purse transcends the important issue of whether the U.S. should divest their oversight over Internet governance and cuts to the heart of whether the power of the purse rests with Congress at all. As the author of the defund, Representative Sean Duffy, noted in a letter in January to ICANN, ‘The Commerce Department has no money to consider your proposal and I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that it never does.’ If anyone can speak to the legislative intent of the defund, it is Duffy, who wrote it.

“Speaker Ryan has made reasserting Congress’ Article I powers a major talking point of his first year leading the House of Representatives, now he needs to prove it. Rather than wait for the giveaway to occur when there is little recourse, Speaker Ryan should join Representative Sean Duffy in putting language in must pass legislation that explicitly prohibits the transfer, and directs the Administration to extend the ICANN contract for two more years.

“This is no longer just about the foolhardy Obama plan to remove the U.S. from the role of protector of the Internet, and now is a plain Constitutional issue.  If Congress doesn’t stand up for their own power of the purse, then they might as well be disbanded to save the public treasury.”

Attachments:

  • Section 539(a), Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 at https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2029/text: “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to relinquish the responsibility of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration … with respect to Internet domain name system functions, including responsibility with respect to the authoritative root zone file and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority functions.”
  • The Antideficiency Act at 31 U.S.C. § 1341(a)(1)(A) states that the federal government cannot, “make or authorize an expenditure or obligation exceeding an amount available in an appropriation fund for the expenditure or obligation.” An agency official violates the Antideficiency Act when they expend appropriated funds in violation of prohibitions in the appropriations act, “as the agency’s appropriations were not available for these prohibited purposes.” Federal officials who “knowingly and willfully” violate this prohibition commit a criminal offense and are subject to punishment of a fine of not more than $5,000 and a maximum jail term of two years.
  • Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) letter to ICANN then-CEO Fadi Chehade, Jan. 13, 2016 at https://getliberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/16.01.13-ICANN-Transfer-Letter-to-Fadi-Chehad%C3%A9.pdf : “The Commerce Department has no money to consider your proposal and I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that it never does.”
  • Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Lawrence Strickling, State of the Net Conference, Jan. 27, 2015 at https://www.ntia.doc.gov/speechtestimony/2015/remarks-assistant-secretary-strickling-state-net-conference-1272015 : “The act does restrict NTIA from using appropriated dollars to relinquish our stewardship during fiscal year 2015 with respect to Internet domain name system functions. We take that seriously.  Accordingly, we will not use appropriated funds to terminate the IANA functions contract with ICANN prior to the contract’s current expiration date of September 30, 2015.  Nor will we use appropriated dollars to amend the cooperative agreement with Verisign to eliminate NTIA’s role in approving changes to the authoritative root zone file prior to September 30.  On these points, there is no ambiguity.”
  • Americans for Limited Government Foundation complaint to Commerce Department Inspector General, Feb. 1, 2016 at https://getliberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/NPM-Complaint-to-DOC-IG-Re-NTIA-Antideficiency-Act_02.01.16.pdf: “Despite the explicit prohibition, the NTIA is clearly engaged in activities that are designed to lead to the relinquishment of its responsibilities regarding Internet domain name system functions, including responsibility with respect to the authoritative root zone fine and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority functions. The NTIA personnel have traveled to numerous conferences on internet governance and speeches from NTIA personnel clearly indicate that they are moving ahead as if Congress had not acted to prohibit their very actions.”
  • “Why is NTIA still implementing Internet giveaway in the face of an explicit Congressional prohibition?” by Robert Romano, March 25, 2016 at http://netrightdaily.com/2016/03/ntia-still-implementing-internet-giveaway-face-explicit-congressional-prohibition/

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy and Sen. Ted Cruz legislation to stop Internet giveaway, ALG urges cosponsors

June 8, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement urging House Members and Senators to cosponsor legislation by U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that would require an up or down vote in Congress before the National Telecommunications and Information Administration would ever be allowed to transition the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) function to any entity outside the U.S. government:

“Rep. Duffy and Sen. Cruz have the right idea with the Internet transition, which is that it should not happen at all, but if it were to happen, that it should have to go through Congress. The Internet’s naming conventions and top level domains are too important to be left singularly to executive action alone to govern or relinquish oversight. The executive branch should have to ask permission to do so, and Congress should guard this function jealously to ensure that it not be captured by foreign powers.

“The fact is, the Internet in its current state under U.S. government oversight has promoted free speech all over the world and facilitated commerce. To paraphrase Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson at a recent hearing on the issue by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Attachments:

Protecting Internet Freedom Act, Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, June 8, 2016 at  https://getliberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Protecting-Internet-Freedom-Act.pdf

Testimony of Richard Manning, President, Americans for Limited Government, Before the Committee On Commerce, Science, & Transportation United States Senate Hearing entitled Examining the Multistakeholder Plan for Transitioning the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, May 24, 2016 at https://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/e2b9855d-9c78-496f-95e9-d0b10fef3ca7/055FA6ABD5BA4A0E6C69B1FB8841333C.manning-testimony.pdf

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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