Investigative & Security Professionals for Legislative Action

Current Legislative News

  • 09 Apr 2010 5:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    SENATORS HATCH AND GILLIBRAND INTRODUCE FIRST OF ITS KIND MEASURE TO BOLSTER CYBERSECURITY - Bill Fosters International Coordination, Cracks Down on Foreign Countries That Offer Cyber Criminals Havens

    Washington, D.C. March 23, 2010 – With the growing cost of cybercrime, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the International Cybercrime Reporting and Cooperation Act, new bipartisan legislation that would enhance U.S. cooperation with other countries to confront this threat and keep America safe.

    “Cybercrime is a serious threat to the security of the global economy, which is why we need to coordinate our fight worldwide. Until countries begin to take the necessary steps to fight criminals within their borders, cybercrime havens will continue to flourish,” said Senator Hatch. “We don’t have the luxury to sit back and do nothing. I believe the International Cybercrime Reporting and Cooperation Act will not only function as a deterrent of cybercrime, but will prove to be an essential tool necessary to keep the Internet open for business.”

    “Cybercrime must be a top priority for our national security,” Senator Gillibrand said. “If we’re going to protect our networks, our infrastructure, our economy and our families, we have to go after cyber criminals wherever they may be – and it must be an international effort. Our new legislation will require the president to provide a global assessment, identify threats from abroad, work with other countries to crack down on their own cyber criminals, and urge the President to cut off U.S. assistance and resources for countries that refuse to take responsibility for cybersecurity. Our legislation will make America safer by getting tough on cybercrime globally, and coordinating with our partners in the international community.”

    For more than a decade, reports have described the increasing vulnerability of the U.S. to cyberattacks. A growing array of international criminal organization are targeting American citizens, commerce, and information infrastructure, including the Internet, telecommunications networks, financial systems, embedded processors and controllers in critical industries to steal, exploit, disrupt, or destroy information.

    An estimate from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that in 2005 U.S. businesses lost $67.2 billion as a result of cyberattacks. Since then, attacks have dramatically increased. Earlier this year, hackers in China launched a large, sophisticated attack on Google and other American businesses. The global economy overall lost over $1 trillion in 2008 as a result of cyber attacks, according to studies by McAfee, Inc.

    Numerous American employers, including Cisco, HP, Microsoft, Symantec, PayPal, eBay, McAfee, American Express, Mastercard and Visa, as well as Facebook, are supporting the Senators’ legislation.
    “Microsoft strongly supports the International Cybercrime Reporting and Cooperation Act and applauds Senators Gillibrand and Hatch for their leadership in this area,” said Fred Humphries, Managing Director of US Government Affairs, Microsoft Corp. “This legislation is a great step forward toward accessing the technology capabilities and judicial remedies of foreign countries to combat cybercrime and provide a safer, more trusted and secure Internet.”

    "We support efforts to increase global awareness of cybersecurity issues, and to improve cybersecurity and investigations of cybercrime,” said Tucker Foote, Vice President & Head of U.S. Government Affairs, MasterCard Worldwide. “We believe your legislation provides useful tools to further those goals and to provide a safer environment for U.S. consumers and businesses to operate in today’s technology-driven world."

    Criminals are increasingly going after online financial data – costing businesses and individuals billions. In fact, each data breach costs American businesses an average of $6.6 million.
    Cyber exploitation activity has grown more sophisticated and targeted over the past year and is expected to increase. Relevant international cybercrime agreements have not been signed by certain key countries that host cyber criminals with apparent impunity.

    To boost America’s cybersecurity, improve our coordination with allies, and establish tough new ways to crack down on cyber threats internationally, Senators Gillibrand and Hatch today introduced the International Cybercrime Reporting and Cooperation Act.

    Annual Presidential Report
    The bill would require the President annually report to Congress on the assessment of the state of countries’ use of information and communications technologies (ICT) in critical infrastructure, the extent and nature of cybercrime based in each country, the adequacy and effectiveness of each country’s legal and law enforcement systems addressing cybercrime, and countries’ protection of consumers and commerce online. The President would also report on multilateral efforts to prevent and investigate cybercrime, including U.S. actions to promote such multilateral efforts.

    Deliver Foreign Assistance to Prevent Cybercrime Havens
    The bill would require that programs designed to combat cybercrime be prioritized to countries with low ICT penetration in order to prevent such countries from becoming future cybercrime havens. Also, U.S. or multilateral assistance designed to improve critical sectors such as finance or telecommunications would be encouraged to include programs designed to combat cybercrime in order to ensure that such assistance is not inadvertently being used to build future crime havens.

    Identify Countries of Cyber Concern
    The bill would require the President to identify countries of cyber concern – those for there is significant credible evidence that a pattern of cybercrime against the U.S. Government, private entities or persons by persons from within such countries’ borders and such countries do not sufficiently address cybercrime through investigations, prosecutions, bilateral or international cooperation, or appropriate legislation or similar measures.

    For each country of cyber concern, the President would establish an action plan with benchmarks designed to assist the government of each such country to improve its capacity to combat cybercrime. This plan would be developed and carried out in consultation with the county of concern in order to encourage them to reach the benchmarks. The President would provide an annual assessment of the country’s participation in the action plan.

    The President could waive the requirement to develop an action plan for any country if it is in the national interest, and report such waiver to Congress, in classified form if necessary.

    Failure to Meet Action Plan Benchmarks
    Countries of cyber concern that do not reach their benchmarks may have one of the following benefits suspended, restricted or prohibited: new OPIC or ExIm financing, new multilateral financing, new TDA assistance, preferential trade programs, or new foreign assistance, as long as such do not limit projects to combat cybercrime.

    Department of State International Cybercrime Policy Focus
    In order to improve the U.S. focus on addressing international cybercrime, the bill would require the Secretary of State to designate a senior official at the State Department to coordinate and focus on activities, policies and opportunities to combat cybercrime internationally, and in consultation with other Federal agencies and the relevant chiefs of mission, appoint employees at key embassies to focus on cybercrime policy.

  • 29 Mar 2010 11:32 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On March 27, 2010 at the 27th annual Intellenet Conference held in New Orleans, LA, James P. Carino, Jr. became the seventh recipient of the Julius "Buddy" Bombet Lifetime Achievement Award. Investigative & Security Professionals for Legislative Action (ISPLA) congratulates Mr. Carino for a lifetime of service and volunteerism to our profession. Mr. Carino is a founder and Executive Director of Intellenet. He is also a founder and board member of ISPLA.


    Presenting the award to Mr. Carino was Mr. John Lajoie, award committee chairman. Upon presenting the award Mr. Lajoie stated, “The Julius ‘Buddy’ Bombet Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious award within our profession for service, dedication, and benevolent and philanthropic efforts. It honors and celebrates your lifetime of immense achievement. An achievement only enjoyed by fellow recipients who have also touched our lives in much the same way. And so isn't it fitting that a man who voted in 1999 to create this award is now going to receive it. Fellow visionary Benjamin Franklin once said ‘Well done is better than well said.’  It's a concept that is simple to understand, yet difficult to execute. Mr. James Carino- your lifetime actions embody, nurture, and enhance this philosophical doctrine and for that, we are eternally
    grateful.”

     

    Previous recipients of this prestigious award include two ISPLA members, Buddy Bombet and Bruce Hulme. Other recipients are Kitty Hailey, Eddie McClain, Jack Reed, and Philip White.

     

    ISPLA Executive Committee

  • 18 Mar 2010 7:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ISPLA Represents Industry at Final FTC Roundtable in Washington, D.C.

     

    Dateline:  March 17, 2010, Washington, D.C.

     

    The Federal Trade Commission held their final roundtable on consumer privacy issues today in Washington, DC.  The roundtable is the last of three public events designed to explore the privacy challenges that are posed by technology and business practices that collect and use consumer data.  Investigative and Security Professionals for Legislative Action (ISPLA) has attended all three of the events.

     

    Nicole Bocra, ISPLA Executive Committee member, attended today’s session as the association’s representative.  Ms. Bocra provided context to the roundtable as they discussed health information, internet architecture and privacy, and “sensitive” consumer information. 

     

    The roundtable discussions centered on the risks and benefits of information collection and use in online and offline contexts, consumer expectations surrounding various information management practices, and the adequacy of existing legal and self-regulatory controls to address privacy interests. The participation of the investigation industry is critical to counter-balance the legitimate concerns of privacy advocates and other industry forces.

     

    Today’s roundtable concluded with a panel to discuss lessons that have been learned from all three roundtables and possible ways to move forward. 

     

    ISPLA is concerned with the prospect of additional regulations and laws that limit the legitimate use of consumer information.  Its participation, at the behest of the FTC, reflects on the association’s reputation among regulators and legislators as a significant and reasoned voice for the industry. 

     

    The mission of ISPLA is to monitor and identify critical legislative and regulatory issues in order to provide a forum for debate and discussion within the investigative and security professions and to serve as an advocate for these professions. To find out more about ISPLA and how you can support your profession go to www.ispla.org.

     

    ###

     

    Contact Information:

    Bruce Hulme

    Director of Government Affairs

    Investigative and Security Professionals for Legislative Action

    Telephone:  (212) 962 4054

    brucehulme@yahoo.com

  • 03 Mar 2010 1:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Rep. Charles B. Rangel [D-NY-15] has asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for a leave of absence from his position as chairman of powerful Committee on Ways and Means due to recent findings of the House Ethics Committee. Congressman Rangel, 79, a twenty term member of Congress, has long been regarded as one of its most powerful members. This committee has often had jurisdiction over issues of concern to investigative professionals and over the years the ISPLA’s director of government relations has submitted testimony in opposition to SSN ban legislation before it.  Stay tuned…

     

    And in the Senate…

     

    S. 3037, “Enhancing Oversight and Security at United States Missions Act of 2010”, a bill to increase oversight of private security contractors and establish the proper ratio of U.S. Government security personnel to private security contractors at U.S. missions where Armed Forces are engaged in conflict operations was introduced February 24th by Sen. Claire McCaskill [D-MO]. It is cosponsored by Sen. Russell D. Feingold [D-WI] and Sen. Patrick B. Leahy [D-VT] and has been referred to the Committee of Foreign Relations.

     

    S 2950, “Criminal History Background Checks Pilot Extension Act of 2009”, a bill extension sponsored by Sen. Charles E. Schumer [D-NY], was passed by the House and Senate to amend the Protect Act to extend by 14 months the Child Safety Pilot Program allowing certain volunteer organizations to obtain national and state criminal history checks on their volunteers.  It became Public Law No.: 111-143 on March 1.

     

    S 3029, “StartUp Visa Act of 2010”, was introduced on February 24th by Sen. John F.  Kerry [D-MA] and cosponsored by Sen. Richard G. Lugar [R-IN] and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. The purpose of the bill is to establish an employment-based visa for alien entrepreneurs who have received significant capital from investors to establish a business in the U.S.

     

    In the U.S. Supreme Court…

    The U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to extend the Second Amendment guarantee of a right to own a gun, according to an ABA publication reviewed today. But the high court in McDonald v. City of Chicago also seems likely to allow municipalities some authority to regulate that right. The dominant sentiment on the court may be to extend the amendment beyond the federal level, based on the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of "due process."

    The focus of the court's initial debate may be how extensively the right to keep and bear arms should be spelled out. "An attempt by an attorney for the cities of Chicago and Oak Park , Ill. , defending local bans on handguns in those communities, to prevent any application of the constitutional gun right to states, counties and cities looked forlorn and even doomed."

    ISPLA has previously commented on this case as well as the Supreme Court case of DC v Heller in which Al Cavasin, Peter Psarouthakis and Bruce Hulme, all now members of ISPLA’s Executive Committee, were instrumental in persuading several state and national investigative and security associations to join in an amicus brief on behalf of a District of Columbia security officer. The 2008 successful verdict in that litigation became the precursor to the current Supreme Court case of McDonald v. City of Chicago

     

    A Final Comment…

     

    President Obama today endorsed reconciliation, a tactic he plans to use to push his healthcare overhaul wherein passage may be accomplished by simple majority. In such a scenario the House passes the health bill passed in the Senate and the Senate then uses reconciliation to pass fixes in the bill agreeable to the House thus thereby passing Republicans and eliminating their ability to filibuster passing the changes with just a simple majority vote.

     

    Investigative & Security Professionals for Legislative Action

     

    The mission of ISPLA is to monitor and identify critical legislative and regulatory issues in order to provide a forum for debate and discussion within the investigative and security professions and to serve as an advocate for these professions. To support and join us in this mission go to www.ISPLA.org

     

    ISPLA Executive Committee

    235 N. Pine Street

    Lansing, MI 48933

    Tel: (734) 428 9663

  • 02 Mar 2010 8:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    German High Court Overturns Law on Telephone and Email Data

    March 2, 2010, Karlshruhe, Germany – The German Federal Constitutional Court, claiming that a law ordering that data on calls made on cellular and landline telephones, as well as email messages, be retained for six months for possible use by criminal investigation authorities, ruled such a law violates the constitutional right of privacy of correspondence of Germans. The law evolved from a 2006 EU anti-terrorism directive.

    The German high court ruled that the law failed to balance privacy rights against the need to provide security, thus overturning this anti-terror law.  It comes on the heels of recent  European attempts to limit Google’s Street View maps and U.S. tracking of bank transfers to investigate terror cells, as previously reported by ISPLA professional association listservs.

  • 27 Feb 2010 11:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This past week the Senate, by unanimous consent, passed S 30, the “Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009”, to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit manipulation of caller identification. This is an anti-spoofing bill making it unlawful for any person within the U.S., in connection with any telecommunication service or IP-enabled voice service (VOIP), to cause any caller identification service to knowingly transmit misleading or inaccurate caller identification information with intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value, unless such transmission is exempted pursuant to paragraph (3)(B)…”  

    This Senate bill, which has now been sent over to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is a bill with which our profession feels it can abide with the “Intent” provision as set forth above.  That House committee has an identical bill pending, HR 1238 sponsored by Rep. Eliot Engel [D-NY-17] and Ranking member Rep. Joe Barton [R-TX-6].

    Without the necessity of hyperbole since the truth is a bigger story, volunteers from ISPLA at their own expense, met with Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott [D-VA-3]  during their recent visit to Washington to participate in the Department of Justice Symposium on Indigent Defense.  In addition to our discussing with Rep. Scott his interest in addressing problems regarding the criminal justice system, we were also aware that has an anti-spoofing bill.  He sponsored HR 1110, the “Preventing Harassment through Outbound Number Enforcement Act of 2009” or “Phone Act” which passed in the House on December 16th by a vote of 418 to1.

    The “PHONE Act of 2009” would provide federal criminal penalties for certain types of caller ID spoofing, which occurs when a caller uses a false caller ID during a telephone call in order to hide the caller's true identity.  The bill would prohibit the use of false caller ID information in order to wrongfully obtain anything of value.   It would also prohibit the use of a person's caller ID without their consent and with the intent to deceive the recipient of the call. 

    The bill would not affect legitimate business or personal disguise of one's true caller ID.  Use of a single number or name for multiple callers, "Private Caller", or other disguises where there is no purpose to wrongfully obtain something of value from the person called or where it is not a knowing use of an actual person's caller ID with intent to deceive another, would continue to be legal.

    "This bill is an important means of preventing identity theft and ensuring the privacy of our citizens while allowing continued disguises of a caller's identity for privacy or other legitimate purposes," said Congressman Scott. 

    In recent years, spoofing has become more commonplace, leading to increased security vulnerabilities and identity theft.  Spoofing technology has become readily available, either through the purchase of Internet telephone equipment or through Web sites specifically set up to spoof.  Because caller ID spoofing can make a call appear to come from any phone number, it has the ability to cause fraud, damaged credit and financial ruin.  Call recipients sometimes divulge personal and private information to the spoofer, under the mistaken belief that it is a legitimate call.  However, use of such technology is a legitimate investigative tool when not used to defraud or cause harm.

  • 24 Feb 2010 7:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    At the invitation of the U.S. Department of Justice, Investigative & Security Professionals for Legislative Action board member Nicole Bocra and government affairs director Bruce Hulme participated in the National Symposium on Indigent Defense last week in Washington, D.C.  The symposium was organized to correct deficiencies presently existing in the legal representation of the indigent, which has been documented by the American Bar Association and others to be “a system that lacks fundamental fairness and places poor persons at constant risk of wrongful convictions.”

     

    More than 45 years have passed since the Gideon decision of the U.S. Supreme Court and decades since it extended to juveniles the right to counsel.  The symposium had some 140 presenters and more than 800 attendees, who took part in five plenary sessions and 37 workshops.  The event provided an overview of the advances and setbacks in implementing the Sixth Amendment right to counsel in America over the past decade.  An effort was made to find solutions to the current crisis in indigent defense through litigation and legislation.  A disparate group of concerned individuals and organizations gathered to present their views--judges, prosecutors, public defenders, defense attorneys, law school academics, forensic organizations, policy and advocacy groups, and ISPLA, representing investigative professionals.  Panelists expressed concerns with areas of criminal defense, particularly those affecting the indigent and wrongly accused.

     

    ISPLA members include some of the most experienced defense investigators in the U.S. and have assisted both national and state professional associations on federal regulatory and legislative affairs.  ISPLA welcomed the opportunity to provide input on behalf of the profession to many of the participants present, calling attention to the important role played by investigators as an integral part of the criminal justice system.

     

    Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. was the keynote speaker.  Several Assistant Attorneys General and one Associate Attorney General, all heads of important divisions, were also speakers during the symposium.  They were:

     

    • Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson – Office of Justice Programs

    • Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez - Civil Rights Division

    • Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer – Criminal Division

    • Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli – Civil Division’s Federal Programs Branch

    Other high ranking Department of Justice speakers or panelists included Duren Banks, Chief of Prosecution and Adjudication Statistics Unit; Kristina Rose, Acting Director of National Institute of Justice (NIJ); Michael G. Sheppo, Director of Investigative and Forensic Services of NIJ; and Edwin Zedlewski, Director of the International Center of NIJ.

     

    Nicole Bocra of ISPLA, an expert in her own right on aspects of investigative technologies, was afforded the opportunity to discuss the latest trends in pretrial and post conviction DNA, impression evidence, and other investigative technologies such as GPS, fingerprints, cell phones and video.  Technical presenters in various areas of expertise included attorney Barry Scheck of The Innocence Project; Lisa Kreiger-Norman, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory; Randall Murch, Associate Director, Research Program Development, Virginia Tech Center for Technology, Security, and Policy; Professor Paul C. Gianelli, Case Western Reserve University; Michael Fields, Bureau Chief, Dallas County, Texas District Attorney’s Office of Conviction Integrity; Gary Perkinson, Agent in Charge, Special Investigations Unit, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation; and Miles Brissette, an assistant criminal district attorney, Tarrant County, Texas and former Testing and Certifications Chair for the IACP Digital Video Systems Minimum Performance Specifications for In-Car Video and member of NIJ’s Sensors and Surveillance Technology Technical Working Group and Multimedia Evidence Systems Standards panel.

     

    The interaction between science, technology, law, and criminal justice has produced as many questions as advances in evidence analysis.  In reviewing the most cutting-edge investigative technologies, experts demand commensurate standards, admissibility, and other criminal case issues. 

     

    The symposium discussed the controversial 2009 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report recommendations to create an independent agency and to separate crime labs from law enforcement.  Even before the NAS report, actual innocence cases resulted in more than 240 exonerations through post-conviction DNA analysis by testing evidence either not tested at the time of trial or analyzed using less discriminating technology.  Crime scene samples once thought to be unsuitable for testing now yield DNA profiles.  Courts may weigh the probative value of DNA evidence in determining whether to grant a motion requesting post-conviction relief.

     

    Bruce Hulme, ISPLA’s director of government affairs, in his conversations with representatives of indigent defense groups, cited his personal experience as court-appointed investigator in federal capital cases and assured them that the resources of ISPLA and the other professional investigative associations working with us can be of invaluable assistance in addressing the issues associated with indigent defense. 

     

    He met with leaders of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLDA), National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, The Constitution Project, National Juvenile Defender Center, National juvenile Defender Center, National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA), The Innocence Project, Brennan Center for Justice, Southern Center for Civil Rights, Juvenile Justice Clinic of Georgetown University Law Center, Children’s Justice Clinic of Rutgers School of Law, American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), The Ford Foundation, Equal Justice Works and the Campaign for Justice.

     

    ISPLA has been hard at work forging alliances with like-minded stakeholders on specific issues affecting professional investigators and their clients.  The National Symposium on Indigent Defense brought together a wide range of organizations to address and seek solutions to an important problem.  No one organization can do it alone!  The same holds true when responding to ill-conceived federal and state regulations and legislation.  This event is but one more example of the areas of interest and work undertaken by ISPLA in the last 12 months.  We are proactive in responding to critical issues.

     

     

  • 15 Feb 2010 7:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Investigative & Security Professionals for Legislative Action continues to stay abreast of issues in Washington with regard to regulation and legislation affecting this profession. ISPLA is singularly focused to protect the interests of the investigative and security professions at the federal level, and at the state level when specifically requested by state professional associations. As part of its government affairs program, ISPLA has been monitoring the activities of the Federal Trade Commission in their workshops on privacy issues, meeting with officials of that agency having jurisdiction over certain aspects of activities conducted by professional investigators, and reviewing testimony given by the agency concerning its enforcement activities.

    The FTC advised the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that they have stepped up their efforts to protect consumers affected by the economic downtown, and that additional authority would make the agency even more effective.

    The testimony presented by FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz described the agency’s efforts to prosecute financial fraud and deception, including working with states to bring hundreds of cases against mortgage relief scams in 2009. The testimony also discussed the FTC’s rulemaking and consumer education initiatives, how additional authority will enhance the agency’s effectiveness, and the FTC’s perspective on recent proposals to create a consumer financial protection agency as part of a broader reform of the financial services regulatory system.

    As stated in the testimony, during the past five years the FTC has targeted financial services providers in more than 100 actions and, over the past decade, obtained nearly half a billion dollars in redress for consumers. As the economic downturn has taken hold, the FTC’s highest priority has become targeting frauds that prey on consumers made vulnerable by the financial crisis. The agency has shifted more of its consumer protection staff to the area of financial services, while continuing to carry out its broader consumer protection mission. In addition to prosecuting mortgage foreclosure and loan modification scams – working with state attorneys general more than 200 lawsuits were brought last year – the FTC has targeted a variety of other deceptive and fraudulent schemes, including those in mortgage servicing, debt relief services, credit repair, economic stimulus scams, debt collection, advance-fee loans, payday lending, and credit card marketing, as well as fake get-rich-quick schemes, work-at-home offers, and job-hunting ads.

    Describing other FTC efforts in the financial area, the testimony noted that it is in the process of formulating new rules to address unfair or deceptive practices in: 1) mortgage relief services, 2) mortgage advertising and servicing, 3) debt relief services. Also, in conjunction with the federal banking agencies, the FTC is considering additional rules to protect the privacy of consumers’ sensitive financial information. The testimony also recounted the FTC’s many education campaigns to help consumers manage their resources and avoid scams, including a major effort on mortgage relief services scams.

    According to the testimony, new enforcement and regulatory tools would strengthen the FTC’s ability to anticipate and respond to financial fraud. The agency encourages Congress to give it explicit authority to act against those who assist others they know, or consciously avoid knowing, are engaged in unfair or deceptive practices under the FTC Act. The FTC has asked Congress for authority to use more efficient rulemaking procedures to address consumer protection issues and enhance the agency’s ability to stop financial fraud. In addition, the FTC would like the authority to seek civil penalties for violations of the FTC Act, and to prosecute civil penalty cases in federal court in its own name so that it can bring cases more quickly and more effectively.

    Regarding President Obama’s proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency, the testimony expressed FTC support for the goal of making consumer financial protection more effective while ensuring that the FTC’s authority and ability to protect consumers remains uneroded and clear. It states they should remain active and effective in policing financial and nonfinancial products and services.

    The Commission vote authorizing the testimony was 4-0. Commissioner Kovacic dissents from that portion of the testimony that seeks across-the-board authority for the Commission to use, for promulgating all rules respecting unfair or deceptive acts or practices under the Federal Trade Commission Act, the notice and comment procedures of the Administrative Procedure Act, although he would be willing to consider whether all the procedures currently required to issue, repeal, or amend these rules are necessary. Commissioner Kovacic also dissents from the Commission's endorsement of across-the-board civil penalty authority.

    Bruce Hulme

    Director of Government Affairs

  • 11 Feb 2010 8:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) seems to be near dead in the water, now that the Democrats lost their 60-vote majority in the Senate.  In addition, the loss of a potential appointee to the National Labor Relations Board this week occurred when Republicans blocked the appointment of President Obama’s nominee Craig Becker.

    The Senate's inability to pass EFCA is a blow to unions, particularly the SEIU. Democratic senators had worked up a compromise proposal that would have scrapped the "card check" process, allowing unions to organize without a secret ballot, but expediting the election process - thus eliminating employers’ ability to delay the unionizing process and increasing the penalties for violating the rules that govern election conduct.

    This compromise had the potential of gaining all 60 Democratic votes, but the special Senate election in Massachusetts changed the political landscape overnight.  Unions expended over $300 million during the 2008 elections on Democrats' behalf, only to see their requests for a 2009 vote on the EFCA and confirmation votes on NLRB appointees delayed by the President and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who opted for health reform to be passed first.  Now labor appears to lack the votes for EFCA passage – a fortuitous result for contract security companies and large corporate clients of investigative and security professionals.

    Bruce Hulme, Director of Government Affairs

    Investigative & Security Professionals for Legislative Action

    www.ISPLA.org

     

  • 05 Feb 2010 2:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    FEC Statement on the Supreme Court’s Decision in Citizens United v. FEC

    Washington, DC – Feb. 5, 2010 - The Federal Election Commission announced that, due to the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, it will no longer enforce statutory and regulatory provisions prohibiting corporations and labor unions from making either independent expenditures or electioneering communications. The Commission also listed several actions it is taking to fully implement the Citizens United decision.

    In Citizens United v. FEC, issued on January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court held that the prohibitions in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) against corporate spending on independent expenditures or electioneering communications are unconstitutional.  The Supreme Court upheld statutory provisions that require political ads to contain disclaimers and be reported to the Commission.  Provisions addressed by the decision are described below.

    • The Court struck down 2 U.S.C. 441b, which prohibits, in part, corporations and labor organizations from making electioneering communications and from making independent expendituresundefinedcommunications to the general public that expressly advocate the election or defeat of clearly identified federal candidates.
    • The Court upheld 2 U.S.C. 441d, which requires that political advertising consisting of independent expenditures or electioneering communications contain a disclaimer clearly stating who paid for such communication.
    • The Court upheld 2 U.S.C. 434, which requires certain information about electioneering communications and independent expenditures, and the contributions received for such spending, to be disclosed to the Commission and to be made public.

    The Commission is taking the following steps to conform to the Supreme Court's decision.

    • The Commission will no longer enforce the statutory provisions or its regulations prohibiting corporations and labor organizations from making independent expenditures and electioneering communications.
    • The Commission is reviewing all pending enforcement matters to determine which matters may be affected by the Citizens United decision and will no longer pursue claims involving violations of the invalidated provisions.  In addition, the Commission will no longer pursue information requests or audit issues with respect to the invalidated provisions. 
    • The Commission is considering the effect of the Citizens United decision on its ongoing litigation.
    • The Commission intends to initiate a rulemaking to implement the Citizens United opinion.  It is reviewing the regulations affected by the invalidated provisions, including but not necessarily limited to the following:
      1. 11CFR114.2(b)(2) and (3), which implement the FECA’s prohibition on corporate and labor organization independent expenditures and electioneering communications;
      2. 11 CFR 114.4, which restricts the types of communications corporations and labor organizations may make to those not within their restricted class;
      3. 11 CFR 114.10, which permits certain qualified nonprofit corporations to use their treasury funds to make independent expenditures and electioneering communications under certain conditions;
      4. 11 CFR 114.14, which places restrictions on the use of corporate and labor union funds for electioneering communications; and
      5. 11 CFR 114.15, which the Commission adopted to implement the Supreme Court's decision in Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. v. FEC
    • The Commission is also considering the effect of Citizens United on the ongoing Coordinated Communications rulemaking. 74 FR 53893 (Oct. 21, 2009). The Commission is issuing a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking so that interested persons may submit comments regarding issues presented by Citizens United. The additional comment period will close on February 24, 2010. The Commission intends to hold a hearing on the Coordinated Communications rulemaking on March 2 and 3, 2010.
    • Revisions to Commission reporting requirements, forms, instructions, and electronic software, may be required. 

    Corporations and labor organizations that intend to finance independent expenditures or electioneering communications should:

    • Include disclaimers on their communications, consistent with FEC regulations at 11 CFR 110.11;
    • Disclose independent expenditures on FEC Form 5, consistent with FEC regulations at 11 CFR 109.10; and
    • Disclose electioneering communications on FEC Form 9, consistent with FEC regulations at 11 CFR 104.20.

    The Commission notes that the prohibitions on corporations or labor organizations making contributions contained in 2 U.S.C. 441b remain in effect. 

    The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent regulatory agency that administers and enforces federal campaign finance laws. The FEC has jurisdiction over the financing of campaigns for the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. Established in 1975, the FEC is composed of six Commissioners who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

                                                         ISPLA

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