Tim Griffin on Government Reform
Congressional Summary:Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK Act): Amends the Securities Exchange Act and the Commodity Exchange Act to prohibit purchase or sale of either securities or commodities by a person in possession of material nonpublic information regarding pending or prospective legislative action.
Bill explanation (ProCon.org, "Insider Trading by Congress", Feb. 3, 2012):
Congressional Summary: Resolution Disapproving of the President's appointment of four officers during a period when no recess of the Congress for a period of more than three days and expressing that those appointments were made in violation of the Constitution.
Text of Resolution:
OnTheIssues Notes:Pres. Obama attempted to appoint Elizabeth Warren to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in May 2011; House Republicans disapproved of Ms. Warren. House Speaker John Boehner disallowed the Senate's adjournment resolution, which meant the Senate was legally not adjourned and Pres. Obama could not make a "recess appointment" which would otherwise be allowed. This Resolution brings the issue to the fore again, for another set of Obama appointments for which House Republicans disapprove.
Congressional summary:: Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act: Requires the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standards and definitions in effect on January 1, 2010, for determining whether an organization qualifies for tax-exempt status as an organization operated exclusively for social welfare to apply to such determinations after enactment of this Act. Prohibits any regulation, or other ruling, not limited to a particular taxpayer relating to such standards and definitions.
Proponent's argument in favor (Heritage Action, Feb. 26, 2014): H.R. 3865 comes in the wake of an attack on the Tea Party and other conservative organizations. The current IRS regulation is so broad and ill-defined that the IRS applies a "facts and circumstances" test to determine what constitutes "political activity" by an organization. This test can vary greatly depending on the subjective views of the particular IRS bureaucrat applying the test. IRS employees took advantage of this vague and subjective standard to unfairly delay granting tax-exempt status to Tea Party organizations and subject them to unreasonable scrutiny.
Text of sample IRS letter to Tea Party organizations:We need more information before we can complete our consideration of your application for exemption. Please provide the information requested on the enclosed Information Request by the response due date. Your response must be signed by an authorized person or officer whose name is listed on your application.
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