Greenwald Blasts Critics, Dodd-Frank Under Attack, and More
The Sky’s the Limit:
Chalk up another victory for big business. House Republicans, aided by some Wall Street-friendly Democrats, voted last week to repeal a provision in Dodd-Frank meant to limit the supersized salaries of corporate CEOs. The vote was 36 to 21, with 31 Republicans joined by five Democrats. The specific provision they voted to repeal—section 953(b)—forced corporations to disclose their CEOs’ pay as a ratio of what their average employee earns. It next heads to the floor for a full House vote. More from The Contributor: “How can lawmakers who carry Corporate America’s water possibly defend repealing a measure as publicly popular as pay ratio disclosure? Easy. They simply paint corporations as the victims of overzealous government bureaucrats who want to drown them in burdensome — and meaningless — paperwork.” (Read more)
Hot Pursuit: With Edward Snowden’s exact whereabouts currently unknown, President Obama said the U.S. is “following all of the appropriate legal channels” to get the NSA whistle-blower back into the country. Snowden flew to Moscow from Hong Kong on Sunday after he was charged with espionage for his role in revealing National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. He’s reportedly seeking asylum in another country—possibly Cuba or Ecuador. Obama says he’s working with other nations to ensure “the rule of law is observed.” Although Obama didn’t specify which countries, the White House earlier in the day said officials believe Snowden is still in Russia. (Read more)
A Wider Net: It might have not just been conservative groups that the Internal Revenue Service was targeting. According to newly appointed acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel, screeners were using a “wide-ranging set of categories and cases that spanned a broad spectrum” and their lists contained “inappropriate criteria that was in use.” The Associated Press obtained internal IRS documents and discovered that in addition to “Tea Party,” screeners were giving stricter scrutiny to other groups seeking tax-exempt status that included terms such as “Israel,” ”Progressive” and “Occupy.” (Question: Will overzealous House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa investigate the targeting of liberal groups too?) Werfel also told reporters that there hasn’t been any evidence yet to suggest that the improper targeting went beyond the IRS office involved in granting groups tax-exempt status. “We have not found evidence of intentional wrongdoing by anyone in the IRS or involvement in these matters by anyone outside the IRS,” he said. (Read more)
Prime Crime: Silvio Berlusconi, the controversial former prime minister of Italy, was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison for paying to have sex with an underage girl and abusing his power. The 76-year-old was also barred from ever holding public office again. Berlusconi’s attorney says he will appeal his client’s conviction on the grounds that he wasn’t given a fair trial. The sentencing is just the latest in a string of legal troubles for Berlusconi, who was also convicted of tax evasion in October. More from Reuters: “The former prime minister will not have to serve any jail time before he has exhausted an appeals process that could take years, but the conviction angered members of his centre-right party who questioned whether he should continue to support the coalition.” (Read more)
Video of the Day: Glenn Greenwald responded to his critics a day after his Sunday morning appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in which host David Gregory asked whether he should be prosecuted for “aiding and abetting” Edward Snowden. “If you’re a journalist and you work with your source and cooperate with them in obtaining documents that you think ought to be released to the public … I call that investigative journalism,” Greenwald told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Monday. He added: “Anybody who wants to raise this insinuation against me, that we somehow aided and abetted Mr. Snowden, anyone who wants to raise that, let alone claim it, ought to be compelled to point to specifics or evidence to support that accusation because there is none. Otherwise it’s reckless insinuation and shouldn’t be tolerated.”Wait, before you go…
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