October 21, 2021

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Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Delivers Remarks Announcing Lawsuit Against the State of Georgia to Stop Racially Discriminatory Provisions of New Voting Law

14 min read
<div>Good morning, I’m pleased to be joined by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, and Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke.</div>
Good morning, I’m pleased to be joined by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, and Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke.

More from: June 25, 2021

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  • Defense Budget: Fiscal Year 2018 Obligations of Operation and Maintenance Funding for Overseas Contingency Operations
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found In fiscal year 2018, Congress authorized $48.6 billion and appropriated $50.7 billion for operation and maintenance (O&M) overseas contingency operations (OCO), and the Department of Defense (DOD) reported obligating $46.5 billion. DOD reported obligating these funds for war-related activities, including security forces training missions, in-theater base support operations (dining facilities, laundry, security, and housing), ship operations, flying hours, equipment maintenance and repair, and transportation. The amounts reported as obligated in some sub-activity groups exceed the congressionally directed amounts for those same groups as a result of transfers and reprogrammings. Why GAO Did This Study According to DOD, since September 2001, Congress has appropriated approximately $1.8 trillion to DOD for OCO, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 included a provision for GAO to report on how funds authorized to be appropriated for fiscal year 2018 for OCO were obligated. In fiscal year 2018, O&M OCO amounts comprised approximately 76 percent of DOD's OCO appropriations total of $66.8 billion. This report describes how amounts authorized and appropriated for O&M OCO activities were obligated by DOD for fiscal year 2018. To determine how DOD obligated the amounts authorized and appropriated for O&M OCO activities in fiscal year 2018, GAO first compared authorized and appropriated O&M OCO amounts by sub-activity group. GAO then analyzed obligation data provided by DOD related to the same sub-activity groups. For more information, contact Elizabeth A. Field at (202) 512-2775 or fielde1@gao.gov.
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  • Young Giant Planet Offers Clues to Formation of Exotic Worlds
    In Space
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  • Keeping America Great
    In U.S GAO News
    This speech was given by the Comptroller General before the John F. Kennedy Forum--Leadership Symposium at the JFK School of Government at Harvard University, on March 6, 2006. In my view, the greatest threat to America's future isn't hiding in a cave somewhere in Afghanistan or Pakistan; it's right here at home, in our governments, in our businesses, on our campuses, and in our neighborhoods. What I'm talking about is declining values and comity combined with continuing ignorance, apathy, and inaction on a range of issues that are rapidly reshaping our nation and our world. These issues include changing demographics, global economic trends, new security threats, and serious challenges in such areas as education, energy, health care, and the environment. Several of these challenges are unprecedented in their size, scope, complexity, and potential impact. Unfortunately, these issues are getting too little attention, provoking too little concern, and prompting too little action. Tonight, I'm going to talk about some of our challenges to give you a better sense of where we're headed and why it's so urgent that we transform government, and do it very soon. I'm then going to talk about the need for real leadership and what each of us can do to help keep America great. What are these known changes and challenges? Let me start with one of the most sweeping agents of change, and that's demographics. Demographics will decisively shape the American and global landscape in the future. Beyond demographics, the United States confronts a range of other challenges. Globalization is affecting our international competitiveness, our trade posture, our capital markets, our jobs, and our approach to environmental and public health issues. For example, globalization is a key reason public health experts are so concerned about the rapid spread of viruses like avian flu. Other challenges come from technology. In recent decades, spectacular advances in technology have transformed everything from how we do business to how we communicate to how we treat and cure diseases. But because of technology, we're also struggling with privacy, security, and other concerns. Perhaps the most urgent challenge we face is our nation's deteriorating financial condition and growing fiscal imbalance. The United States now confronts four interrelated deficits with serious implications for our role in the world, our economic growth, our standard of living, and even our national security. The first deficit is the federal budget deficit, which in 2005 was around $319 billion on a cash basis. The second deficit is our savings deficit. Too many Americans--from individual consumers to elected officials--are spending today as if there's no tomorrow. So, if we aren't saving at home, who's been underwriting America's recent spending spree? The answer is foreign investors. And that brings me to America's third deficit--our overall balance-of-payments deficit. Finally, there's our fourth deficit, and it's probably the most sobering deficit of all. What I'm talking about is America's leadership deficit.Our population is aging. At the same time, U.S. workforce growth is slowing. This means that just when increasing numbers of baby boomers are starting to retire and draw benefits, there will be fewer workers paying taxes and contributing to social insurance programs. Importantly, retirees are living longer but wanting to retire earlier. These developments are going to put huge strains on our pension and health care systems. With the end of the Cold War, we face new security threats, including transnational terrorist networks and rogue states armed with nuclear weapons. On an accrual basis, our fiscal 2005 deficit was $760 billion, up $144 billion in the last year alone. Even more troubling, the federal government's long-term liabilities and unfunded commitments for things like Social Security and Medicare benefits have risen to more than $46 trillion. That's up from about $20 trillion just five years ago. The new Medicare prescription drug benefit, which may be one of the most poorly designed, inefficiently implemented, and fiscally irresponsible government programs of all time, has added more than $8 trillion to this sea of red ink. And these numbers don't even take into account the bills that are coming from rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast or future costs associated with Iraq and Afghanistan. Our quality of life in many ways has never been better. But America also faces a growing and unhealthy gap between the haves and the have-nots. And as some of you may know firsthand, we're also facing a range of quality-of-life concerns in our personal lives, including underachieving public schools, gridlocked city streets, and the stresses of caring for aging parents and growing children all at once. At the same time, our nation's health care system is in critical condition, plagued by growing gaps in insurance coverage, soaring costs, and below-average results on basic measures like medical error rates, infant mortality, and life expectancy. America is simply spending more than it's producing. In 2005, the U.S. trade deficit hit about $726 billion, up more than $100 billion from the prior year. While our own saving rates have plummeted, savings rates abroad have not, and overseas money has been pouring into the United States. Thanks to the high savings rates in China, Japan, and elsewhere, it's been relatively cheap for Americans to borrow. But there's a catch, and it's a big one. Increasingly, we are mortgaging our collective future, and some of our leading lenders may not share our long-term national interests. Not enough key policymakers are concerned about America's growing fiscal imbalance and the other long-term challenges that I've mentioned. As a result, there have been pitifully few calls for making tough choices or fundamental reform. If our nation is to be prepared for the challenges and changes that are coming, government transformation is essential. The challenges I've discussed aren't partisan issues, and the solutions won't be either. Nothing less than a top-to-bottom review of federal programs and policies is needed to determine if they are meeting their objectives. This will also help free up resources for other needs. Congress and the President need to decide which policies and programs remain priorities, which should be overhauled, and which have simply outlived their usefulness.
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  • Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Defraud the IRS
    In Crime News
    A Maryland tax return preparer pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to defraud the United States and aiding in the preparation of a false tax return. According to court documents and statements made in court, Anita Fortune, 56, of Upper Marlboro, provided return preparation services under multiple business names, including Tax Terminatorz Inc. Fortune prepared and filed returns using co-conspirators’ electronic filing identification numbers and identifiers, which they provided in exchange for fees and office space. For the tax years 2011 to 2018, Fortune and her associates fraudulently reduced their clients’ tax liabilities and increased their refunds by adding fictitious or inflated itemized deductions and business losses to the clients’ returns. In total, Fortune caused a tax loss to the IRS of $189,748.
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  • Follow-up on 2011 Report: Status of Actions Taken to Reduce Duplication, Overlap, and Fragmentation, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found GAO’s specific assessment of progress as of February 10, 2012, showed that 4 (or 5 percent) of the 81 areas GAO identified were addressed; 60 (or 74 percent) were partially addressed; and 17 (or 21 percent) were not addressed. Enclosure I presents GAO’s assessment of the overall progress made in each area. GAO applied the following criteria in making these overall assessments for the 81 areas. We determined that an area was: “addressed” if all actions needed in that area were addressed; “partially addressed” if at least one action needed in that area showed some progress toward implementation, but not all actions were addressed; and “not addressed” if none of the actions needed in that area were addressed. As of February 10, 2012, the majority of 176 actions needed within the 81 areas identified by GAO have been partially addressed. Specifically, 23 (or 13 percent) were addressed; 99 (or 56 percent) were partially addressed; 54 (or 31 percent) were not addressed. Streamlining federal efforts, reducing government costs, and enhancing revenue collections can offer financial and other benefits. Today, and concurrently with this report, GAO issued its second annual report to Congress in response to the statutory requirement that GAO identify federal programs, agencies, offices, and initiatives with duplicative goals or activities. That report identifies 51 additional issue areas and numerous actions within those issue areas that, if implemented, may further improve programs’ effectiveness and efficiency, achieve cost savings, and enhance revenues. Opportunities exist for the Congress and federal agencies to continue to address the identified actions needed in our March 2011 and February 2012 reports. Collectively, these reports show that, if the actions are implemented, the government could save tens of billions of dollars annually. A number of the issues are difficult to address and implementing many of the actions identified will take time and sustained leadership. Why GAO Did This Study In March 2011, GAO issued its first annual report to the Congress on potential duplication, overlap, and fragmentation in the federal government. The report also identified opportunities to achieve cost savings and enhance revenues. We identified 81 areas—which span a wide range of government missions—with a total of 176 actions that the Congress and the executive branch could take to reduce or eliminate unnecessary duplication, overlap, and fragmentation or achieve other potential financial benefits. We also presented areas where programs may be able to achieve greater efficiencies or become more effective in providing government services. In many areas, we suggested actions— identifying some new options, as well as underscoring numerous existing GAO recommendations—that policymakers could consider. This status report provides an overall assessment of progress in implementing actions for the 81 areas, as well as an assessment of each of the 176 suggested actions. As of February 10, 2012, the Congress and the executive branch had made some progress in addressing the majority of the 81 areas that we identified, including the implementation of all actions in 4 areas; however, additional steps are needed to fully implement the remaining actions to achieve associated benefits. GAO suggested a wide range of actions for the Congress and the executive branch to consider, such as developing strategies to better coordinate fragmented efforts, implementing executive initiatives to improve oversight and evaluation of overlapping programs, considering enactment of legislation to facilitate revenue collection, and examining opportunities to eliminate potential duplication through streamlining, collocating, or consolidating program efforts or administrative services. For more information, contact Janet St. Laurent at (202) 512-4300, or stlaurentj@gao.gov and Zina Merritt, at (202) 512-4300 or merrittz@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • United States Returns to Iraq Rare Tablet Bearing Portion of the Epic of Gilgamesh
    In Crime News
    The United States has returned to the Republic of Iraq a rare cuneiform tablet bearing a portion of the epic of Gilgamesh, a Sumerian poem considered one of the world’s oldest works of literature.
    [Read More…]
  • Artificial Intelligence: An Accountability Framework for Federal Agencies and Other Entities
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found To help managers ensure accountability and responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI) in government programs and processes, GAO developed an AI accountability framework. This framework is organized around four complementary principles, which address governance, data, performance, and monitoring. For each principle, the framework describes key practices for federal agencies and other entities that are considering, selecting, and implementing AI systems. Each practice includes a set of questions for entities, auditors, and third-party assessors to consider, as well as procedures for auditors and third- party assessors. Why GAO Developed This Framework AI is a transformative technology with applications in medicine, agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, defense, and many other areas. It also holds substantial promise for improving government operations. Federal guidance has focused on ensuring AI is responsible, equitable, traceable, reliable, and governable. Third-party assessments and audits are important to achieving these goals. However, AI systems pose unique challenges to such oversight because their inputs and operations are not always visible. GAO's objective was to identify key practices to help ensure accountability and responsible AI use by federal agencies and other entities involved in the design, development, deployment, and continuous monitoring of AI systems. To develop this framework, GAO convened a Comptroller General Forum with AI experts from across the federal government, industry, and nonprofit sectors. It also conducted an extensive literature review and obtained independent validation of key practices from program officials and subject matter experts. In addition, GAO interviewed AI subject matter experts representing industry, state audit associations, nonprofit entities, and other organizations, as well as officials from federal agencies and Offices of Inspector General. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Accountability Framework For more information, contact Taka Ariga at (202) 512-6888 or ArigaT@gao.gov.
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  • Elder Justice: HHS Could Do More to Encourage State Reporting on the Costs of Financial Exploitation
    In U.S GAO News
    Most state Adult Protective Services (APS) agencies have been providing data on reports of abuse to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including data on financial exploitation, although some faced challenges collecting and submitting these data. Since states began providing data to HHS's National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System (NAMRS) in 2017, they have been voluntarily submitting more detailed data on financial exploitation and perpetrators each year (see figure). However, some APS officials GAO interviewed in selected states said collecting data is difficult, in part, because victims are reluctant to implicate others, especially family members or other caregivers. APS officials also said submitting data to NAMRS was challenging initially because their data systems often did not align with NAMRS, and caseworkers may not have entered data in the system correctly. HHS has provided technical assistance and grant funding to help states address some of these challenges and help provide a better picture of the prevalence of the various types of financial exploitation and its perpetrators nationwide. Number of States That Provide Data on Financial Exploitation and Perpetrators to NAMRS Studies estimate some of the costs of financial exploitation to be in the billions, but comprehensive data on total costs do not exist and NAMRS does not currently collect cost data from APS agencies. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found actual losses and attempts at elder financial exploitation reported by financial institutions nationwide were $1.7 billion in 2017. Also, studies published from 2016 to 2020 from three states—New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—estimated the costs of financial exploitation could be more than $1 billion in each state alone. HHS does not currently ask states to submit cost data from APS casefiles to NAMRS, though officials said they have begun to reevaluate NAMRS with state APS agencies and other interested parties, including researchers, and may consider asking states to submit cost data moving forward. Adding cost data to NAMRS could make a valuable contribution to the national picture of the cost of financial exploitation. Recognizing the importance of these data, some APS officials GAO interviewed said their states have developed new data fields or other tools to help caseworkers collect and track cost data more systematically. HHS officials said they plan to share this information with other states to make them aware of practices that could help them collect cost data, but they have not established a timeframe for doing so. Elder financial exploitation—the fraudulent or illegal use of an older adult's funds or property—has far-reaching effects on victims and society. Understanding the scope of the problem has thus far been hindered by a lack of nationwide data. In 2013, HHS worked with states to create NAMRS, a voluntary system for collecting APS data on elder abuse, including financial exploitation. GAO was asked to study the extent to which NAMRS provides information on elder financial exploitation. This report examines (1) the status of HHS's efforts to compile nationwide data through NAMRS on the extent of financial exploitation and the challenges involved, and (2) what is known about the costs of financial exploitation to victims and others. GAO analyzed NAMRS data from fiscal year 2016 through 2019 (the most recent available); reviewed relevant federal laws; and interviewed officials from HHS, other federal agencies, elder abuse prevention organizations, and researchers. GAO also reviewed APS documents and spoke with officials in eight states, selected based on their efforts to study, collect, and report cost data; and reviewed studies on financial exploitation. GAO recommends that HHS (1) work with state APS agencies to collect and submit cost data to NAMRS, and (2) develop a timeframe to share states' tools to help collect cost data. HHS did not agree with the first recommendation, but GAO maintains that it is warranted, as discussed in the report. HHS agreed with the second recommendation. For more information, contact Kathryn A. Larin at (202) 512-7215 or larink@gao.gov.
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  • Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard A. Powers of the Antitrust Division Delivers Remarks at Fordham’s 48th Annual Conference on International Antitrust Law and Policy
    In Crime News
    Good morning. Thank you, James, for that introduction. And thank you to the conference organizers for continuing this wonderful tradition of gathering antitrust enforcers from around the world for a discussion about the enforcement and policy issues of the moment.
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  • Afghanistan Travel Advisory
    In Travel
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  • Deputy Secretary Biegun’s Travel to the Republic of Korea
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Department Press Briefing – October 15, 2021
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Broiler Chicken Producer Indicted for Price Fixing and Bid Rigging
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in Denver, Colorado, returned an indictment charging Norman W. Fries Inc., dba Claxton Poultry Farms (Claxton), headquartered in Claxton, Georgia, with participating in a nationwide conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chicken products.
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  • Texas woman admits to smuggling cocaine
    In Justice News
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  • J&F Investimentos S.A. Pleads Guilty and Agrees to Pay Over $256 Million to Resolve Criminal Foreign Bribery Case
    In Crime News
    J&F Investimentos S.A. (J&F), a Brazil-based investment company that owns and controls companies involved in multiple industries, including the meat and agriculture industry, has agreed to pay a criminal monetary penalty of $256,497,026 to resolve the department’s investigation into violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).  The resolution arises out of J&F’s scheme to pay millions of dollars in bribes to government officials in Brazil in exchange for obtaining financing and other benefits for J&F and J&F-owned entities.
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  • Texas Wedding Planner Sentenced in COVID-19 Fraud Scheme
    In Crime News
    A Texas man was sentenced today in the Eastern District of Texas to 31 months in prison and three years of supervised release for perpetrating a scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $3.3 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
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  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at a Joint Press Availability
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • WWII Nazi Concentration Camp Guard Removed to Germany
    In Crime News
    Today a Tennessee resident with German citizenship was removed to Germany for participating in Nazi-sponsored acts of persecution while serving as an armed guard at a Nazi concentration camp in 1945.
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  • Two Quebec Men Extradited to North Dakota from Canada as Part of ‘Operation Denial’
    In Crime News
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  • Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Request: U.S. Government Accountability Office
    In U.S GAO News
    This testimony discusses the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2013. GAO very much appreciates the confidence Congress has shown in the efforts to help support the Congress in carrying out its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve government performance and accountability for the benefit of the American people.GAO is requesting an appropriation of $526.2 million for FY 2013 to support a staffing level of 3,100. This funding level represents a modest increase of 2.9 percent over FY 2012, and is 5.4 percent below our FY 2010 level. The majority of the requested increase represents the first step in rebuilding our staff capacity to a level that will enable us to optimize the benefits we yield for the Congress and the nation.We have carefully reviewed every aspect of our operations from a zero base to identify opportunities to reduce costs without sacrificing the quality of our work and preserving our ability to assist the Congress in addressing the most important priorities facing the nation. However, given that staff costs now represent about 81 percent of our budget and the deep reductions already taken in our infrastructure programs, reducing the size of our workforce could not be avoided. By the end of FY 2012, for the first time in over 75 years, GAO’s staffing level will drop below 3,000 staff, resulting in a net reduction of 11 percent in our staff capacity, or 365 people, in only a 2-year period.GAO’s work directly contributes to improvements in a broad array of federal programs affecting Americans everywhere and remains one of the best investments across the federal government. With this committee’s support, in FY 2011, GAO provided assistance to every standing congressional committee and about 70 percent of their subcommittees. GAO issues hundreds of products annually in response to congressional requests and mandates. Our work yielded significant results across the government, including financial benefits of $45.7 billion—a return on investment of $81 for every dollar invested in GAO. Our findings and recommendations produce measurable financial benefits for the federal government, enabled through the actions of Congress and Executive Branch agencies, ultimately making funds available to reduce government expenditures, reallocate funds to more productive areas, or increase revenues.
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