October 26, 2021

News

News Network

Former police officer gets 30 years for violating the civil rights of two men

9 min read
A 26-year-old former local police officer has been ordered to federal prison after sexually assaulting two men while in his custody

Read full article at: https://www.justice.gov July 20, 2021

News Network

  • Voters with Disabilities: State and Local Actions and Federal Resources to Address Accessibility of Early Voting
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Selected states and localities have taken steps to make voting prior to Election Day accessible for people with disabilities, but election officials and advocacy officials reported that challenges persist. Election officials reported taking steps to make in-person early voting accessible such as addressing barriers to physical access and providing accessible voting equipment (see figure), but election and advocacy officials reported challenges including physical obstacles such as gravel parking lots and voting equipment not being set up properly. Voting by mail may be an accessible option and has been used more frequently by those with disabilities than others. However, election and advocacy officials also noted that some voters with disabilities have difficulty marking paper mail ballots; six of seven states GAO contacted offer them electronic delivery and marking options. Steps Taken by Selected States and Localities to Make Early In-Person Voting Accessible Selected states and localities have taken steps to make voting information available and accessible, but voters with disabilities may encounter challenges with both. States and some localities have provided information about accessible voting options on their websites, but advocacy officials reported challenges, such as one state not providing information about the accessibility features of its voting equipment. States have also taken steps to make websites accessible, such as ensuring compatibility with screen readers used by people with visual disabilities. However, election and advocacy officials reported, among other things, that some website content such as digital materials, lacks accessibility features and some content is not written in plain language. Federal agencies have assisted state and local election officials in their efforts to ensure accessible voting. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has provided guidance and educational resources on voting accessibility, such as a checklist for assessing polling places, which some selected states and localities have found useful. The Election Assistance Commission (EAC)—a national clearinghouse of information about election administration—has also provided resources on topics such as accessible voting equipment and partnering with disability advocates. However, selected states and localities GAO contacted reported mixed feedback on the usefulness of EAC resources. Although the EAC communicates regularly with election officials, it does not have a mechanism for collecting and using feedback from these officials about the usefulness of its existing accessibility resources or additional resource needs. Implementing such a mechanism would better positon the EAC to meet election officials' needs. Why GAO Did This Study An estimated 38 million Americans with disabilities were eligible to vote in the November 2020 election, according to a Rutgers University study. Federal law generally requires that all aspects of voting be accessible to people with disabilities. Recent increases in voting in person and by mail prior to Election Day have focused attention on these voting modes. GAO was asked to examine the accessibility of voting prior to Election Day and voting information. This report addresses steps taken by selected states and localities to (1) make voting prior to Election Day accessible, and the challenges in doing so; and (2) make voting information available and accessible, and the challenges in doing so. It also addresses (3) DOJ and EAC efforts to assist states and localities with voting accessibility. GAO interviewed state election and advocacy officials in seven states, and local officials in six of the states and reviewed associated documentation. These states were selected to provide variation in turnout between voters with and without disabilities, and election policies, among other factors. The results from these states and localities are not generalizable, but provide perspectives on accessibility. GAO also analyzed 2016 and 2020 data from a nationwide survey of voters, reviewed DOJ and EAC guidance and resources, and interviewed federal officials.
    [Read More…]
  • The President’s Emergency Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2021
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • FY 2020 Request for Concept Notes for NGO Programs Benefiting Refugees, Displaced Iraqis, and Other Vulnerable Populations in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey
    In Human Health, Resources and Services
    Bureau of Population, [Read More…]
  • Global Entry for UK Citizens
    In Travel
    How to Apply for Global [Read More…]
  • The Justice Department’s Hate Crimes Enforcement and Prevention Initiative Announces Newly Translated Online Hate Crimes Resources
    In Crime News
    Today, marking the 40th Anniversary of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW), the Justice Department’s Hate Crimes Enforcement and Prevention Initiative announced newly translated hate crimes resources in eight languages for the department’s hate crimes website, www.justice.gov/hatecrimes.
    [Read More…]
  • Warfighter Support: DOD Needs to Improve Its Planning for Using Contractors to Support Future Military Operations
    In U.S GAO News
    Contractors provide a broad range of support to U.S. forces deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, with the number of contractors at times exceeding the number of military personnel in each country. The Department of Defense (DOD) has acknowledged shortcomings in how the role of contractors was addressed in its planning for Iraq and Afghanistan. In its report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009, the Senate Armed Services Committee directed GAO to assess DOD's development of contract support plans. This report examines (1) what progress DOD has made in developing operational contract support annexes for its operation plans, (2) the extent to which contract requirements are included in other sections of operation plans, and (3) DOD's progress in establishing a long-term capability to include operational contract support requirements in operation plans. GAO reviewed DOD policies, selected operation plans and annexes, and interviewed officials at the combatant commands, the Joint Staff, and Office of the Secretary of Defense.Although DOD guidance has called for combatant commanders to include an operational contract support annex--Annex W--in their operation plans since February 2006, we found only four operation plans with Annex Ws have been approved and planners have drafted Annex Ws for an additional 30 plans. According to combatant command officials, most of the annexes drafted to date restated broad language from existing DOD guidance on the use of contractors to support deployed forces. Several factors help explain the difficulties planners face in identifying specific contract support requirements in Annex Ws. For example, most operation plans contained limited information on matters such as the size and capabilities of the military force involved, hindering the ability of planners to identify detailed contract support requirements. In addition, shortcomings in guidance on how and when to develop contract support annexes complicate DOD's efforts to consistently address contract requirements in operation plans and resulted in a mismatch in expectations between senior DOD leadership and combatant command planners regarding the degree to which Annex Ws will contain specific information on contract support requirements. Senior decision makers may incorrectly assume that operation plans have adequately addressed contractor requirements. As a result, they risk not fully understanding the extent to which the combatant command will be relying on contractors to support combat operations and being unprepared to provide the necessary management and oversight of deployed contractor personnel. According to combatant command officials, detailed information on operational contract support requirements is generally not included in other sections or annexes of the operation plans. Although DOD guidance underscores the importance of addressing contractor requirements throughout an operation plan, including the base plan and other annexes as appropriate, GAO found that nonlogistics personnel tend to assume that the logistics community will address the need to incorporate operational contract support throughout operation plans. For example, combatant command officials told GAO that they were not aware of any assumptions specifically addressing the potential use or role of operational contract support in their base plans. Similarly, according to DOD planners, there is a lack of details on contract support in other parts of most base plans or in the nonlogistics (e.g., communication or intelligence) annexes of operation plans. DOD has launched two initiatives to improve its capability to address operational contract support requirements in its operation plans, but these initiatives are being refined and their future is uncertain. DOD has placed joint operational contract support planners at each combatant command to assist with the drafting of Annex Ws. In addition, the department has created the Joint Contingency Acquisition Support Office to help ensure that contract support planning is consistent across the department. For both initiatives, a lack of institutionalization in guidance and funding and staffing uncertainties have created challenges in how they execute their responsibilities.
    [Read More…]
  • The Third Anniversary of the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Prescription Drugs: Department of Veterans Affairs Paid About Half as Much as Medicare Part D for Selected Drugs in 2017
    In U.S GAO News
    GAO found that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) paid, on average, 54 percent less per unit for a sample of 399 brand-name and generic prescription drugs in 2017 as did Medicare Part D, even after accounting for applicable rebates and price concessions in the Part D program. GAO also found that 233 of the 399 drugs in the sample were at least 50 percent cheaper in VA than in Medicare, and 106 drugs were at least 75 percent cheaper. Only 43 drugs were cheaper in Medicare than in VA. The percent difference in price between the two programs was greater on average for generic drugs. Specifically, VA's prices were 68 percent lower than Medicare prices for the 203 generic drugs (an average difference of $0.19 per unit) and 49 percent lower for the 196 brand-name drugs (an average difference of $4.11 per unit). Average Per-Unit Net Prices Paid by Department of Veterans Affairs and Medicare Part D for Selected Drugs, 2017 Note: GAO's sample of 399 drugs included the top 100 brand-name and generic drugs in Medicare Part D in 2017, by: (1) highest expenditures; (2) highest utilization (by quantities dispensed); and (3) highest cost-per use. Per-unit prices are weighted to reflect differences in utilization in the two programs. Medicare prices reflect expenditures after accounting for rebates and other price concessions. While there are many factors that impact prices in the complex drug market, GAO identified several key program features that may contribute to the consistent price differential between VA and Medicare Part D. For example, Medicare's beneficiaries are divided among numerous prescription drug plans, which each negotiate drug prices with manufacturers. In contrast, VA is a single integrated health system with a unified list of covered drugs—thereby possibly strengthening its bargaining position when negotiating. In addition, VA has access to significant discounts defined by law, and can then negotiate further for lower prices. These discount prices are not available to Medicare Part D plans. GAO provided a draft of this product to HHS and VA for comment. Both agencies provided technical comments, which GAO incorporated as appropriate. In 2017, combined, Medicare Part D and VA accounted for approximately $105 billion in prescription drug sales—nearly one-third of total U.S. expenditures—and covered nearly 52 million individuals. The two programs use different methods to pay for prescription drugs. Medicare reimburses Part D plan sponsors, which in turn pay pharmacies to dispense drugs. VA primarily uses a direct purchase approach to acquire drugs from manufacturers. GAO was asked to examine differences in the amounts major federal programs paid for prescription drugs. This report: (1) compares average unit prices for prescription drugs in Medicare Part D to those in the VA; and (2) describes factors affecting prices in the two programs. GAO analyzed (1) CMS data for Medicare Part D payments to retail pharmacies as well as rebates and other price concessions Part D plans received and (2) VA drug purchasing data. These data were from 2017, the most recent data available at the time of GAO's analysis. To select a sample of drugs GAO identified the top 100 brand-name and 100 generic drugs in Medicare Part D in 2017 for three categories: (1) highest expenditure, (2) highest utilization, and (3) highest cost-per use. In total, this yielded 399 non-duplicate drugs (203 generic and 196 brand-name), which represented 44 percent of Medicare Part D spending in 2017. GAO compared weighted average unit prices for these drugs. GAO interviewed CMS and VA officials, and reviewed academic and government reports to understand factors that may affect prices in the two programs. For more information, contact John Dicken at (202) 512-7114 or dickenj@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Announces $1.2 Million Dollar Settlement of Title VII Intentional Race Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuit Involving Law Enforcement Victims in Maryland
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a settlement with the Worcester County Sheriff, in his official capacity (currently Matthew Crisafulli, formerly Reggie Mason), and the state of Maryland, resolving allegations that a former staff member was subjected to a racially hostile work environment and that he and others who supported him were retaliated against after he complained about the racial discrimination. The Justice Department also announced the settlement of related retaliation claims filed against Pocomoke City, Maryland that were resolved on Dec. 4, 2019.
    [Read More…]
  • Imposing Sanctions on Russia for the Poisoning and Imprisonment of Aleksey Navalny
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Seeks to Shut Down Louisiana Tax Return Preparers
    In Crime News
    The United States has filed a complaint seeking to bar Louisiana tax return preparers from owning or operating a tax return preparation business and preparing tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. The civil complaint against Leroi Gorman Jackson and Mario Alexander, both individually and doing business as The Taxman Financial Services LLC, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
    [Read More…]
  • New U.S. Embassy in London Receives Award of Excellence from Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Georgia CPA Indicted for Promoting Syndicated Conservation Easement Tax Scheme Involving Fraudulent Charitable Deductions
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury sitting in Atlanta, Georgia, returned an indictment today charging an Atlanta certified public accountant with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States; 24 counts of wire fraud; 32 counts of aiding or assisting in the preparation of false federal tax returns; and five counts of filing false federal tax returns relating to a wide-ranging, abusive tax shelter scheme. 
    [Read More…]
  • Military Pay: Hundreds of Battle-Injured GWOT Soldiers Have Struggled to Resolve Military Debts
    In U.S GAO News
    As part of the Committee on Government Reform's continuing focus on pay and financial issues affecting Army soldiers deployed in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), the requesters were concerned that battle-injured soldiers were not only battling the broken military pay system, but faced blemishes on their credit reports and pursuit by collection agencies from referrals of their Army debts. GAO was asked to determine (1) the extent of debt of separated battle-injured soldiers and deceased Army soldiers who served in the GWOT, (2) the impact of DOD debt collection action on separated battle-injured and deceased soldiers and their families, and (3) ways that Congress could make the process for collecting these debts more soldier friendly.Pay problems rooted in the complex, cumbersome processes used to pay Army soldiers from their initial mobilization through active duty deployment to demobilization have generated military debts. As of September 30, 2005, nearly 1,300 separated Army GWOT soldiers who were injured or killed during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan had incurred over $1.5 million in military debt, including almost 900 battle-injured soldiers with debts of $1.2 million and about 400 soldiers who died in combat with debts of $300,000. As a policy, DOD does not pursue collection of debts of soldiers who were killed in combat. However, hundreds of battle-injured soldiers experienced collection action on their debts. The extent of these debts may be greater due to incomplete reporting. GAO's case studies of 19 battle-injured soldiers showed that collection action on military debts resulted in significant hardships to these soldiers and their families. For example, 16 of the 19 soldiers were unable to pay their basic household expenses; 4 soldiers were unable to obtain loans to purchase a car or house or meet other needs; and 8 soldiers' debts were offset against their income tax refunds. In addition, 16 of the 19 case study soldiers had their debts reported to credit bureaus and 9 soldiers were contacted by private collection agencies. Due to concerns about soldier indebtedness resulting from pay-related problems during deployments, Congress recently gave the Service Secretaries authority to cancel some GWOT soldier debts. Because of restrictions in the law, debts of injured soldiers who separated at different times can be treated differently. For example, soldiers who separated more than 1 year ago are not eligible for debt relief and soldiers who paid their debts are not eligible for refunds. Further, because this authority expires in December 2007, injured soldiers and their families could face bad credit reports, visits from collection agents, and tax refund offsets in the future.
    [Read More…]
  • Ohio Man Charged with Hate Crime Related to Plot to Conduct Mass Shooting of Women, Illegal Possession of Machine Gun
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury has charged a self-identified “incel” with attempting to conduct a mass shooting of women and with illegally possessing a machine gun.
    [Read More…]
  • Federal Research: Agency Actions Needed to Address Foreign Influence
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found U.S. research may be subject to undue foreign influence in cases where a researcher has a foreign conflict of interest (COI). Federal grant-making agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) can address this threat through COI policies and requiring the disclosure of information that may indicate conflicts. In a December 2020 report, GAO reviewed five agencies, including NSF, which together accounted for almost 90 percent of all federal research and development expenditures at universities in fiscal year 2018. GAO found that three of the agencies it reviewed have agency-wide COI policies and two do not (see figure). The three agencies with existing COI policies focus on financial interests and do not specifically address or define non-financial interests, which may include multiple professional appointments. In the absence of agency-wide COI policies and definitions for non-financial interests, researchers may not fully understand what they need to report on their grant proposals, leaving agencies with incomplete information to assess the risk of foreign influence. Elements of Conflict of Interest (COI) Policies at Selected Agencies In the report, GAO found that agencies were working with the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on efforts to protect federally funded research and were waiting for OSTP to issue guidance on addressing foreign influence before updating their policies. In January 2021, the White House and OSTP issued documents for agencies and research organizations, respectively, on actions to strengthen protections for federally funded research against foreign influence. As of September 2021, OSTP is working on implementation guidance for agencies, due to be issued in November 2021. All five agencies have mechanisms to monitor and enforce COI policies and requirements. While most agencies collect non-financial information, such as details of foreign collaborations, agencies rely on universities to monitor financial conflicts. All five agencies have enforcement mechanisms for responding to an alleged failure to disclose required information, however, only NSF and the National Institutes of Health have written procedures for such allegations. In addition, agencies have referred cases for criminal investigation, among other enforcement actions, where they identified researchers who failed to disclose required information. Why GAO Did This Study The federal government reported expending about $44.5 billion on university science and engineering research in fiscal year 2019. Safeguarding the U.S. research enterprise from threats of foreign influence is of critical importance. Recent reports by GAO and others have noted challenges the research community faces in combatting undue foreign influence while also maintaining an open research environment that fosters collaboration, transparency, and the free exchange of ideas. This testimony discusses, among other things, (1) COI policies and disclosure requirements at selected agencies and universities that address potential foreign threats, and (2) mechanisms to monitor and enforce policies and requirements. It is based on a report that GAO issued in December 2020 (GAO-21-130).
    [Read More…]
  • NASA’s TESS, Spitzer Missions Discover a World Orbiting a Unique Young Star
    In Space
    The newly discovered [Read More…]
  • Finalists Announced for 2021 P3 Impact Award
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Jonathan Karl of This Week with George Stephanopoulos on ABC
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Navy and Marine Corps: Services Continue Efforts to Rebuild Readiness, but Recovery Will Take Years and Sustained Management Attention
    In U.S GAO News
    The Navy and Marine Corps continue to face significant readiness challenges that have developed over more than a decade of conflict, budget uncertainty, and reductions in force structure. These challenges prevent the services from reaping the full benefit of their existing forces and attaining the level of readiness called for by the 2018 National Defense Strategy. Both services have made encouraging progress identifying the causes of their readiness decline and have begun efforts to arrest and reverse it (see figure). However, GAO's work shows that addressing these challenges will require years of sustained management attention and resources. Recent events, such as the ongoing pandemic and the fire aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard affect both current and future readiness and are likely to compound and delay the services' readiness rebuilding efforts. Selected Navy and Marine Corps Readiness Challenges Continued progress implementing GAO's prior recommendations will bolster ongoing Navy and Marine Corps efforts to address these readiness challenges. The 2018 National Defense Strategy emphasizes that restoring and retaining readiness is critical to success in the emerging security environment. The Navy and Marine Corps are working to rebuild the readiness of their forces while also growing and modernizing their aging fleets of ships and aircraft. Readiness recovery will take years as the Navy and Marine Corps address their multiple challenges and continue to meet operational demands. This statement provides information on readiness challenges facing (1) the Navy ship and submarine fleet and (2) Navy and Marine Corps aviation. GAO also discusses its prior recommendations on Navy and Marine Corps readiness and the progress that has been made in addressing them. This statement is based on previous work published from 2016 to November 2020—on Navy and Marine Corps readiness challenges, including ship maintenance, sailor training, and aircraft sustainment. GAO also analyzed data updated as of November 2020, as appropriate, and drew from its ongoing work focused on Navy and Marine Corps readiness. GAO made more than 90 recommendations in prior work cited in this statement. The Department of Defense generally concurred with most of GAO's recommendations. Continued attention to these recommendations can assist the Navy and the Marine Corps as they seek to rebuild the readiness of their forces. For more information, contact Diana Maurer at (202) 512-9627 or maurerd@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.