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 Virginia Senator

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PostSubject: Virginia Senator   May 21st 2013, 8:49 am

Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 5.20.13

Monday, May 20, 2013 –

The Tone is Set at the Top

Some scandals currently engulfing Washington – such as the Administration’s
actions surrounding the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, the Department of
Justice (DOJ) having subpoenaed two months of the Associated Press’ phone
records, and investigations into the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) improperly
handling applications submitted by “Tea Party” or “Patriot” groups – have
received quite a bit of media attention.

Another brewing scandal hasn’t yet received similar attention. Not only
has the IRS admitted to improperly handling applications from conservative
groups, but the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) recently released a
report claiming that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) waives the
access fees through the Freedom of Information Act for public records for
left-leaning environmental groups more than 90 percent of the time, but refuses
more than 90 percent of the time to waive those fees for conservative
groups. That means CEI’s data indicates that nine times out of ten, the
EPA is giving records to the first group for free, and that nine times out of
ten they are charging groups that disagree with their policies.

Testifying recently before the Energy and Commerce Committee, EPA Acting
Administrator Bob Perciasepe was asked about CEI’s claims. Mr. Perciasepe
indicated that he has asked the independent office of the Inspector General to
conduct a “programmatic audit” of these fee decisions.

Attorney General Eric Holder is the head of the DOJ, the agency that secretly
obtained two months of logs for phone lines used by more than 100 Associated
Press reporters without a court order. While legal, subpoenas of this
nature are supposed to be authorized by the Attorney General, but this action
was authorized by his deputy. On Wednesday, May 15, the Attorney General
testified before the House Judiciary Committee, where he was asked about
this. I watched large portions of the hearing, and was shocked as the
Attorney General repeatedly replied to questions with statements along the lines
of “I don’t know” or “I don’t have a factual basis to answer the questions you
have asked because I recused myself.”

On Friday, May 17, ousted Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller testified
before the House Ways and Means Committee. Mr. Miller stated “I don’t
think targeting is wrong.”* Furthermore, the publication Politico
reported that Mr. Miller “spent most of the hearing saying he didn’t remember
things – like the details of how he first learned of the targeting – and
insisting he didn’t mislead Congress by not telling lawmakers” when asked at a
hearing in July 2012 if Tea Party and other conservative groups were being
targeted by the IRS. Mr. Miller seemed to believe that asking the
conservative groups questions not asked of other ideological groups did not
qualify as harassment. Really?

I ask again – really? The attorney in me thinks that maybe Mr. Miller
should have asked about the Fifth Amendment, and the right to remain
silent. At least he should have respected the old Abraham Lincoln adage,
“better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all

These scandals have a similar tone – one having to do with abuses of
power. Investigations must continue, because there are lots of unanswered

Who is responsible?

John F. Savarese and Jonathan M. Moses write in the Bank and Corporate
Governance Law Reporter
, “the voice that carries farthest within any
company comes from the top – so consider having your CEO speak periodically
about the importance of maintaining an effective compliance culture. …”

American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) executive director Anthony Romero sums
up that principle perfectly when he says “The tone is set at the top.” He
also says “the [P]resident bears responsibility for what his government
officials can and should do.”

I don’t often quote the ACLU in agreement, but if the shoe fits…

An ineffective compliance culture in federal offices is a product of
leadership, of those in management roles. Ultimately, that is the President.
If the tone at the top is divisive and “it’s us versus them,” it serves as a
signal through rhetoric and actions that the sort of behavior that led to these
scandals – that led to the IRS asking the Coalition for Life of Iowa to “detail
the content of the members of your organization’s prayers”** – is acceptable.

Whether you call it the tone at the top or where the buck stops, it is like the
motto of Democratic President Harry Truman, who had a placard on his desk that
said “the buck stops here.”

Mr. President, you have set the tone. The buck stops at your desk in the
Oval Office.

Thoughts and Prayers

My family and I are continuing to keep the people of Damascus in our thoughts
and prayers following the Appalachian Trail Days accident on Saturday, May 18.

As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to call my
Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at
540-381-5671. To reach my office by email, please visit my website at
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PostSubject: Re: Virginia Senator   May 21st 2013, 9:21 am

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Number of posts : 2037
Age : 69
Location : Kenna, WV
Registration date : 2009-07-13

PostSubject: Re: Virginia Senator   May 21st 2013, 10:32 am

Government is so large that no one could know what all's going on. But, letting these department tyrants continue to go unprosecuted is inexcuseable. If Obama's not driving the train, who is? Ever hear of the "Manchurian Candidate"?
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Number of posts : 1609
Age : 64
Location : Christiansburg, Virginia
Registration date : 2012-11-25

PostSubject: Re: Virginia Senator   May 21st 2013, 2:34 pm

I went to high school with Morgan. He is a stand up guy. I hope he don't get corrupted by money.
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