In the News

Watchdog Post Featured in Drudge Report: “The Grossest Incompetence”

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

By: Paul Brennan

druge hit 8.14

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Jason Dinesen smiled politely and shook his head when asked about a new bill in the U.S. Senate that aims to improve how the IRS handles cases of identity theft by assigning one agent to deal with each individual case.

“I’m skeptical about the bill. Having an assigned contact person is a good idea in theory, but it’s not going to do much unless there are some other major changes at the IRS,” Dinesen told Iowa Watchdog.

Dinesen, an accountant, knows firsthand about what changes need to be made. One of his clients had a refund delayed by identity theft, and it took Dinesen 850 days to resolve the problem.

Wendy Boka wasn’t just any client. She was a close friend and had been married to Dinesen’s college roommate, Brian Boka. Wendy and Brian were Dinesen’s first clients when he opened his accounting firm in Indianola.

Brian Boka died in early 2010, leaving Wendy a widow at age 29. She moved to Texas in December 2010 to start a new chapter in her life.

Read the full article at Watchdog.org

Ken Cuccinelli posts story on Greentech lawsuit

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Ken Cuccinelli FB GreenTech Dismissal

Be sure to read the entire editorial discussing the GreenTech lawsuit here.

Judge dismisses Greentech Lawsuit in Win for First Amendment

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

A federal judge in Mississippi last week threw out an $85 million defamation lawsuit brought by a politically connected corporation against a Virginia journalism non-profit. The procedural ruling drew little attention, and it could still be appealed. Even so, the dismissal represents a nice first-round victory for a news organization whose real crime was probably that it looked too closely at the business dealings of Virginia’s new Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Before he ran for governor, McAuliffe was co-founder and chairman of GreenTech, a maker of “neighborhood electric vehicles” — golf-cart-sized two-seaters that max out at 35 miles per hour and sell for about $16,000. While campaigning for governor of Virginia in 2013, McAuliffe cited the company frequently as evidence of his business acumen.

Read the full article at the Washington Examiner

 

Texas Is Now Taking a Full Set of Fingerprints for Driver’s Licenses, but Is This Legal? (Plus, the Other States That Do It)

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Privacy advocates last month jumped on a story out of Texas when they learned that the state’s Department of Public Safety was taking full sets of fingerprints as citizens renewed their driver’s licenses.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

“Really. Quietly, earlier this year, the Texas Department of Public Safety began requiring full sets of fingerprints from everyone who obtains a new driver’s license or photo identification card. This applies to those who come in as required for periodic renewals, but it doesn’t apply to mail-in renewals,” Dave Lieber wrote for the Dallas Morning News.

“Until now, if a person never got arrested, most likely his or her fingerprints would never get recorded and placed in a government database,” Lieber continued in his “Watchdog” column.

Read the full story on The Blaze

Who’s Watching Your Statehouse? No One

Monday, July 21st, 2014

The number of full-time journalists on the Capitol beat is down 40 percent since 2003. Why even politicians are saying weak newspaper economics is a disaster for democracy.

For generations of journalists, covering the statehouse has been a prestigious beat. It typically came with a desk in the building, and ample access to lawmakers. It was not an assignment for a novice. You worked your way up to it, and you had to be good. Bringing down a governor, exposing corruption—all in a day’s work. The statehouse is where reputations were made and politicians ran scared, knowing multiple news organizations could be on their case.

But that era is ending, a casualty of newspaper economics and a changing society. On a good day, state news is under-covered, especially compared to its importance. While multitudes of reporters in Washington chronicle the gridlocked Congress, the number of full-time reporters covering 50 statehouses has fallen to roughly 300, down from 500 in 2003, according to the Pew Research Center.

Read the full article at The Daily Beast

Steve Wilson Discusses the Mississippi Primary Runoff on National Radio Show

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Steve Wilson appeared last week on the Conservative Commandos Radio Show to discuss his recent article on the Mississippi primary runoff.

You can hear the entire interview here.

Steve Wilson Speaks with the “Gary Nolan Show” on the Mississippi Primary Race

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Steve Wilson appeared on the Gary Nolan Show to discuss his recent article about the recent runoff primary in Mississippi.

You can hear it all below.

VA Bureaucracy Stonewalls Florida Health Agency

By
Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Ailing veterans apparently aren’t the only ones waiting to receive services from Veterans Affairs hospitals.

So is the state of Florida.

Inspectors from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration tried to conduct an onsite review at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville this week, but were denied access to requested documents.

It’s the second time in five weeks state health officials visited the Gainesville VA. The recent attempt was prompted by the “discovery of a secret waiting list.”

Read the entire article here.

Virginia city official defends boosting worker’s pension by $400,000

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Richmond’s top city official defended a decision to transfer one employee’s 800 hours of unused sick leave from her previous city job so she could receive $400,0000 more in pension compensation.

It’s “not a unique transaction,” Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall said, according to a recent city audit.

That only raises more unanswered questions about what other transactions happen in Richmond’s senior-level offices as the state drowns in nearly $2 billion of debt, according to the city’s most recent comprehensive annual financial report.

Read the entire article here.

NPR: How do newspapers affect voting and community participation

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Jason Stverak, president of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity spoke with NPR about the impact of local newspapers on community participation.

Listen to the entire interview here.

Be sure to read the entire story from NPR here.