NEW FOIA Reforms: A Chance to Shine Some Light on Scientology's IRS Tax Exemption

Discussion in 'Leaks & Legal' started by AnonLover, Dec 4, 2014.

  1. AnonLover Member

    Recap of the crucial points:

    The speaker named Mr. Blum covers the important issues. He's a well known open government advocate from @SunshineInGov

    Most of the questions asked by congress critters were dumb and uninformed, except for Elijah Cummings (black dude who is a co-sponsor of the bill). The chairman (Meadows) was painfully clueless most of the time.

    The woman speaker (Nisbet) drug a bunch of high-level administrative issues into the discussion that weren't even targeted in the legislation for readdress. This was a major disappointment because her input seems likely to derail things if she submits additional recommendations.

    The congressional record is open for five more days for other congress critters to submit written remarks or questions.
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  2. AnonLover Member

    The House Bill HR653 for FOIA Reforms has picked up three new cosponsors, all Republican, since the hearing on Friday:

    DesJarlais, Scott [R-TN4]
    Farenthold, Blake [R-TX27]
    Guinta, Frank [R-NH1]
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  3. AnonLover Member

    Ruh roh. Opposition to the best part of the proposed FOIA reforms (the 25yr sunset rule on certain exemptions) has reared its ugly head.

    FEDERAL AGENCIES: Subtle push against FOIA bill begins in administrative branch
    This is the same bullshit excuse Sen. Rockefeller tried to use in his 11th hour cock block last year, but got shot down as a non-issue.

    Fortunately, the Senate has already passed their version of 2015 bill. But as noted upstream, the House of Reps is still stewing on their version. For US citizens that care to harpoon this, the relevant subcommittee members that still have control of the House's bill are listed here:

    They hail from these states: NC, SC, GA, MI, WI, OH, MA, CO, KY, VA, NY, DC, MO and Virgin Islands.
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  4. Disambiguation Global Moderator

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  5. AnonLover Member

    Despite what seemed like a lot of useless chatter and wheel spinning in the House subcommittee hearing, the HR653 bill picked up 6 more sponsors as of the most recent congressional record update (March 4th), so that's a real good sign. Here's the full list of current sponsors of the House bill (11 GOP, 4 Dem):

    Rep Issa, Darrell E. [R-CA49] - introduced 2/2/2015
    Rep Allen, Rick W. [R-GA12] - 3/4/2015
    Rep Bucshon, Larry [R-IN8] - 3/4/2015
    Rep Byrne, Bradley [R-AL1] - 3/4/2015
    Rep Carter, Earl L. "Buddy" [R-GA1] - 3/4/2015
    Rep Connolly, Gerald E. [D-VA11] - 2/24/2015
    Rep Cummings, Elijah E. [D-MD7] - introduced 2/2/2015
    Rep DesJarlais, Scott [R-TN4] - 2/27/2015
    Rep Farenthold, Blake [R-TX27] - 2/27/2015
    Rep Franks, Trent [R-AZ8] - 3/4/2015
    Rep Guinta, Frank C. [R-NH1] - 2/27/2015
    Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [D-DC] - 2/24/2015
    Rep Quigley, Mike [D-IL5] - 2/2/2015
    Rep Sessions, Pete [R-TX32] - 3/4/2015
    Rep Tipton, Scott R. [R-CO3] - 3/4/2015

    For the time being, only selective harpoons can be effectively launched *IF* your Reps are in the right places: primarily the relevant subcommittee members need urged to move HR653 forward. Or secondarily, urge reps on the Oversight committee to do whatever they can make sure the bill comes to the House floor for a vote.

    Unlike Senators who tend to have a contact form on their website open to everyone, House Reps require your address and only respond to their constituents. So check these lists of committee / subcommittee members to see if you have someone in the right place:

    Full committee:
    Relevant subcommittee:

    Got a congress critter on one of the above lists? Click thru to their website, find their "contact me" form and fire away. Alternatively, if your Reps aren't in the right places the congress critters who matter can be hit with soft 'poons via their twitter accounts. The key ones to hit are @RepMarkMeadows (subcommittee chairman), @jasoninthehouse (committee chairman), @GOPoversight and @OversightDems (committee groups). If I get a chance, I'll pull a full list of Oversight Committee twitter handles for easier twitfag pooning in bulk.
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  6. AuntAnonymous Member

    If I was a citizen of there, I would go thru these lists and harpoon away.
    You've done a lot of work in this thread and are obviously a smarty-pants.
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  7. AnonLover Member

    It's the first day of Sunshine Week, a celebration of the FOIA legislation. And House Republicans continue to jump on the FOIA Reform bill like flies on shit!

    From H.R. 653: FOIA Act:

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Michael McCaul [R-TX10]
    New Cosponsor: Rep. Tim Walberg [R-MI7]
    New Cosponsor: Rep. Paul Gosar [R-AZ4]
    New Cosponsor: Rep. Dennis Ross [R-FL15]
    New Cosponsor: Rep. Robert Hurt [R-VA5]
    New Cosponsor: Rep. Doug Collins [R-GA9]
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  8. A.O.T.F Member

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  9. AnonLover Member

    Bump for updates on House bill HR 653. Following the subcommittee hearing a couple weeks ago, these are the major events that happened.

    A short list of opengov and FOIA advocates submitted the following letter supporting the House's proposed bill and boldly inserting their own response the subcommittee's chairman remark to one of the key speakers asking for further suggestion on improvements if she had anything else to offer them. These suggestions are quite brazen, damn near epic, but way beyond the mild mannered nature of the tweaks in the currently proposed bills. Unfortunately, they were ignored. But I give these folks 8/10 congressional trolling points for the awesome effort that went into this response:

    The one big group missing from the above letter was Sunshine In Gov folks, but they had their top guy on the panel of speakers at the hearing. So it's understandable their written letter of support for the legislation had to play nice and support the current bill rather than go the route of politely pissing in the subcommittee's cornflakes like the above letter does:

    There was also two amendments proposed, one a trivial play on words by Malone that seemed like hair splitting. The other was a nice twist by Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (who stuck his 2cents worth into a subcommittee he doesn't sit on!) that broaden the court fees government agencies have to pay if they get proven wrong.

    Fast forward to today: the subcommittee had an agenda item to review the bill and the proposed amendments then markup the pending HR653 legislation for final changes. The discussion was much faster paced than the hearing and the congress critters volleyed various issues around in circles. Cummings ranted a few times when stupid points were made and pretty much railroaded the bill to a vote. The Maloney amendment was withdrawn, while Chaffetz' "Manager's Amendment" stuck. And the proposed bill with Chaffetz amendment markup applied was voted on and passed the subcommittee stage. Next stop, House Floor vote.

    Major highlights from social media buzz while the subcommittee meeting was being live streamed:
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  10. AnonLover Member

    Oversight Committee Dems did a good job summarizing HR 653 in this press release:

    Also this...

    3 things to know about a key FOIA reform bill making its way through Congress

    And it has 13 new cosponsors (amended text not online yet):

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Jeb Hensarling [R-TX5]
    New Cosponsor: Rep. Michael “Mike” Honda [D-CA17]
    New Cosponsor: Rep. Charles “Charlie” Rangel [D-NY13]
    New Cosponsor: Rep. Henry “Hank” Johnson [D-GA4]
    New Cosponsor: Rep. Peter Welch [D-VT0]
    New Cosponsor: Rep. Bill Foster [D-IL11]
    New Cosponsor: Commish. Pedro Pierluisi [D-PR0]
    New Cosponsor: Rep. Marlin Stutzman [R-IN3]
    New Cosponsor: Rep. Ann Kuster [D-NH2]
    New Cosponsor: Rep. Mike Bishop [R-MI8]
    New Cosponsor: Rep. Brenda Lawrence [D-MI14]
    New Cosponsor: Rep. Tom Emmer [R-MN6]
    New Cosponsor: Rep. Brad Ashford [D-NE2]

    That makes 33 cosponsors overall. I do believe The House being the potential bottleneck is no longer a valid concern. :cool:
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  11. BigBeard Member

    So when does it look like this thing may actually get passed??

  12. AnonLover Member

    Bump for a sign that the congressional constipation on the FOIA reform bills has possibly been treated with some sort of legislative laxative in the House!

    GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy has put it on this week's agenda for the "Items that may be considered under suspension of the rules" schedule. (which seems odd, it went stale nearly a year ago under this quickie-vote status and I expected that if it ever made it back to the floor it would be full-rules apply status. Erego - laxative assumption!)

    Current House Floor Agenda:

    This billing seemingly has good support, so the quickie vote status is probably a good thing. It currently has 55 co-sponsors (29R, 26D) and was the rebirthed baby of Rep. Issa.

    I recommend folks interested in seeing this pass check the list of cosponsors for their Representative, and if your congress critter in the House hasn't signed on then give 'em a gentle nudge to support it:
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  13. AnonLover Member

    Govtrack now reporting that the FOIA Reform bill was indeed aired out on the floor on Jan 11th, received a last minute "Technical Correction" amendment and then passed the House with a voice vote (so no tracking of who yay'd and nay'd for accountability, but at least they jumped right on it at the start of the week)

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  14. AnonLover Member

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  15. AnonLover Member

    More infos...

    Fixing FOIA: Senate-passed bill is a good start, but more is needed | EFF

    Why we need to increase government transparency in 2016 | AL

    Major take-aways: It's Sunshine Week, so suddenly congress decided to shake a leg. The House bill that passed last December was strategically better for more openness, while the Senate bill that passed yesterday was better technologically. Next step is to settle differences between both bills while attempting to avoid a joint conference committee before getting a merged bill sent to President.
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  16. AnonLover Member

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  17. AnonLover Member

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  18. DeathHamster Member

    LOL! Scientology is taking credit for this bill.
    It's true that they're in favor of freer access to other people's information.
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  19. peterstorm Member

    Where is it now?

    Does Trump have an opinion on this?
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  20. DeathHamster Member
    Enacted — Signed by the President on Jun 30, 2016
    This bill was enacted after being signed by the President on June 30, 2016.

    Trump's opinion doesn't matter, and since the bill was sponsored by a Republican, I doubt they'll be rolling it back any time soon.
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  21. peterstorm Member

    So we have to wait until 2018 to ask for dox?
  22. DeathHamster Member

    No. Why?
  23. peterstorm Member

    If I get this right, the limit is now down to 25 years? That makes the 1993 dox available in 2018?
  24. AnonLover Member

    No. We're not there yet because the IRS has it's own FOIA exemption that wasn't rolled back or even adjusted when the recent reforms finally passed.

    But there's hope, it's small and slim. And it was entirely dependent on two things:
    1. Republicans holding onto to Congress and getting the opportunity to completely rewrite the tax code like they have been wanting to do since the last Busch took office.
    2. Republicans winning the war with IRS over the Lois Lerner fiasco and having their obsession with having John Koskinen's sacrificial demise ending with a dead head on a pike. I was told by multiple congress critters on the appropriate subcommittees this absolutely had to come first, and then they'd be open to considering IRS FOIA restrictions being adjusted.
    Now I hate to admit this, but Trump was probably the best chance to expand the teeny tiny ray of hope that #1 would happen and include IRS FOIA changes, because of one his more bizarre conflicts of interests - his longtime connection to Koskinen:

    So with the GOP's hard-on for IRS retaliation via Koskinen's head on pike out of the way, and a huge surge of promised tax cuts coming for the 1%, #1 has graduated from a slim chance "IF" to a moderately certain "WHEN."

    Hardcore offensive harpoons will be in order, come January, and ideally done as s repetitive monthly thing for a year or two. This should start by relevant constituents as soon as we know exactly WHO is on these subcommittees:

    US Senate Finance Committee's Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight:

    US House of Reps Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Tax Policy:

    By dumb luck, both of my state's Senators are on the first and hold the minority leader seat, plus there is one Rep from my state on the second albeit in a different district. So I've already got well over a year of casual harpoons working those guys along with Sen. Wyden and every GOP'r who dares mention "when we finally rewrite tax code" to make them aware of the massive FOIA blackhole in existing IRS federal law, and explaining how that blackhole was essentially the bedrock that enabled the Lois Lerner -> Koskinen parade of epic fail to happen.

    And while response was somewhat positive, it was always prefaced with KILL-KOSKINEN effort being the singular focus and the only priority that mattered.

    Now that they cannot kill off Trump's buddy Koskinen like planned, it's time they start seriously considering how to fix Koskinen so that it's impossible for something like the Lois Lerner mess to ever happen again. And opening up IRS FOIA exemptions is a simple, effective, and elegant solution to fix that mess the right way.
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  25. peterstorm Member

    lol @ American politics

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