|TLJ News from June 11-15, 2012|
Strickling Addresses Internet Governance
6/15. Lawrence Strickling, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), gave a speech in Washington DC in which he discussed the upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), proposals to give the United Nations (UN) or International Telecommunications Union (ITU) governmental authority over the internet, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) accountability and transparency, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions contract, and consumer data privacy.
Strickling (at right) stated that the goal of the "Obama Administration is to the preserve an open, interconnected global Internet that supports continued innovation, economic growth and the free flow of information" and "preserve and enhance the multistakeholder model as the preferred tool for dealing with Internet policy issues".
He said that "NTIA continues to be a strong supporter of ICANN's multistakeholder approach" and "we oppose the extension of intergovernmental controls over the Internet".
He also stated that "it is critical that ICANN complete three work streams that will further enhance the tools available to law enforcement and consumer protection officials as the new gTLD program unfolds. The first of these is a strengthened Registrar Accreditation Agreement that takes into account the proposals of law enforcement agencies as endorsed by ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). Second is the need for ICANN to address a range of deficiencies in the implementation of WHOIS policy. Third is the need for ICANN to fully staff and enhance ICANN’s contract compliance division."
House Judiciary Committee Takes Up Bill To Extend FISA Outside the US Warrantless Wiretap Authority
6/15. The House Judiciary Committee (HJC) announced that on Tuesday, June 19, it will meet to mark up HR __ [PDF], the "FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012". See, notice.
This bill, like S 3276 [LOC | WW], would extend for five years government authority to conduct surveillance related to persons outside the US, without individualized court approval. This authority was enacted by the 110th Congress in HR 6304 [LOC | WW], the "FISA Amendments Act of 2008". For a description of this surveillance authority, see related story in this issue titled "Senate Considers Bill To Extend FISA Outside the US Warrantless Wiretap Authority".
While the Senate is proceeding in a closed and secretive manner, the House is considering this bill in a more open process.
On May 31, the HJC's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security held a hearing on the 2008 Act.
The most important set of issues concern the implementation of this Act. However, the government agencies involved have not provided reports or other public disclosure regarding implementation. For example, they have disclosed no data regarding how many US citizens have had their voice communications intercepted, or their e-mail seized, without a court warrant, under this provision.
Hence, the only persons in a position to provide useful testimony are persons responsible for implementation. Yet, none appeared as witnesses.
No one testified regarding the usefulness of the 2008 Act. No one to testify regarding whether the government is complying with the 2008 Act. No one testified regarding how many US citizens' conversations have been intercepted.
The subcommittee heard from three persons without personal knowledge of relevant information: Kenneth Wainstein (Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft), Marc Rotenberg (EPIC) and Jameel Jaffer (ACLU).
Wainstein was the Assistant Attorney General (AAG) in charge of Department of Justice's (DOJ) National Security Division (NSD), and then assistant to President Bush, late in the Bush administration. He testified in support of the 2008 Act. However, he has been out of office for over three years. See also, story titled "Wainstein Joins Cadwalader" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,358, March 27, 2012.
He urged the Congress to extend this authority. He wrote in his prepared testimony that "A critical component of our counterterrorism effort -- and, for that matter, any investigative effort -- is the capability to intercept our adversaries’ communications. ... That is particularly true in relation to foreign terrorist groups, where leaders and foot soldiers in different parts of the world have to rely on electronic communication for operational coordination."
Rotenberg said that "we don't know the circumstances under which FISA authority is used". He urged the Congress not to extend this authority until more information is made available regarding surveillance conducted under the 2008 Act.
Rotenberg praised the annual reports on use of wiretap authority under Title 18, the criminal code, and urged the Congress to require similar reports for FISA surveillance. See also, prepared testimony.
Jaffer similarly argued that the Congress should not extend the 2008 Act until the intelligence agencies provide information. See also, prepared testimony.
No one from the DOJ, intelligence agencies, or Obama administration testified at the hearing. However, Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) disclosed there will be a closed "briefing" for the members of the HJC.
More People and Appointments
6/15. Sharon Gillett, Chief of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB), will leave the FCC. Julie Veach, who is currently Deputy General Counsel in the FCC's Office of General Counsel, will become Chief of the FCC's WCB on June 30, 2012. See, FCC release. Veach has worked at the FCC since 2001. Before that she worked at a predecessor firm to Wilmer Hale.
6/15. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Ajit Pai named Nicholas Degani to be his Legal Advisor for wireline issues. See, FCC release. Degani was previously a Republican counsel to the House Commerce Committee's (HCC) Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. Before that, he worked in various positions at the FCC, which he joined in 2007, following completion of law school and a judicial clerkship.
6/15. Bret Taylor, Facebook's Chief Technology Office, will leave the company.
6/15. Thomas Butler was named Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Office of Credit Ratings. See, SEC release.
6/15. Eileen Rominger, Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Division of Investment Management will retire in July. See, SEC release.
6/15. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) introduced HR 5950 [LOC | WW], the "No Armed Drones Act of 2012" or "NADA Act". This bill would amend the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 to provide that the "Secretary of Transportation may not authorize a person ... to operate an unmanned aircraft system in the national airspace system for the purpose, in whole or in part, of using the unmanned aircraft system as a weapon or to deliver a weapon against a person or property". It was referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (HTIC). There are no original cosponsors of this bill.
6/15. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) published a notice in the Federal Register (FR) announcing that its Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee (CSMAC) will meet on July 24, 2012, in Boulder, Colorado. The agenda includes discussion of identifying radio spectrum for reallocation for wireless broadband, repurposing the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1850 MHz bands for wireless broadband, sharing spectrum, managing spectrum, and unlicensed spectrum. See, FR, Vol. 77, No. 116, Friday, June 15, 2012, at Pages 35941-35942. On July 25-26, the DOC/NTIA/ITS will host a two day conference titled "International Symposium on Advanced Radio Technologies" or "ISART", in Boulder, Colorado. See, notice.
6/15. Lawrence Strickling, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) wrote a short piece titled "Putting the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights into Practice". He wrote that "On July 12, NTIA will convene the first meeting for stakeholders to begin developing a code of conduct that applies the Transparency principle in the Consumer Bill of Rights to mobile apps. We proposed this as an initial topic because it is a privacy challenge that affects many consumers yet is discrete enough to be addressed in a reasonable period of time." See also, meeting notice.
6/15. Rachel Brandenburger, Special Advisor in the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division, gave a speech in Madrid, Spain, titled "The Many Facets of International Cooperation at the Antitrust Division".
Copyright Office Issues Proposed STELA Rules Regarding Auditing Statements of Account
6/14. The Copyright Office (CO) published a notice in the Federal Register (FR) that announces, recites, describes, and sets the comment deadlines for, its proposed rules that implement the provision of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 (STELA) that allows copyright owners to audit certain Statements of Account filed with the CO.
This notice explains that "Cable operators and satellite carriers pay royalties to and file Statements of Account with the Copyright Office every six months as required by law for the use of the statutory licenses that allow for the retransmission of programming carried on over-the-air broadcast signals. However, until the passage of STELA the licenses did not authorize the copyright owners, who are the beneficiaries of the royalties collected, to audit the information on Statements of Account and the amounts paid for use of the statutory licenses."
The STELA, which was S 3333 [LOC | WW] in the 111th Congress, is now Public Law No. 111-175. See, story titled "Obama Signs Satellite TV Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,089, May 28, 2010.
The deadline to submit initial comments is 5:00 PM on August 13, 2012. The deadline to submit reply comments is 5:00 PM on September 12, 2012. See, FR, Vol. 77, No. 115, Thursday, June 14, 2012, at Pages 35643-35652.
Obama Issues Order Regarding Broadband Access on Federal Lands and Buildings
6/14. President Obama signed an executive order regarding "broadband deployment on Federal lands, buildings, and rights of way, federally assisted highways, and tribal and individual Indian trust lands".
This order states that broadband access is "essential". This order creates a "Broadband Deployment on Federal Property Working Group". It requires this body to write a report. It requires seven enumerated federal agencies (Defense, Agriculture, Interior, Transportation, Commerce, Veterans Affairs, and Post Office) to each develop a plan to "develop and implement a strategy to facilitate the timely and efficient deployment of broadband facilities on Federal lands, buildings, and rights of way, federally assisted highways, and tribal lands".
It also requires the Department of Transportation (DOT) to "review dig once requirements in its existing programs and implement a flexible set of best practices that can accommodate changes in broadband technology and minimize excavations consistent with competitive broadband deployment".
A White House news office release explains that this order "will ensure that agencies charged with managing Federal properties and roads take specific steps to adopt a uniform approach for allowing broadband carriers to build networks on and through those assets and speed the delivery of connectivity to communities, businesses, and schools". See also, second White House news office release [14 pages in PDF].
This order only affects federal property. It does nothing to facilitate access to state and local rights of way, or buildings.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) stated in a release that "Efficient use of federal lands and facilities along with prudent planning of new infrastructure projects will promote the expansion of broadband with significant cost savings to the American taxpayer. In particular, the Executive Order's 'dig once' provision draws from a recommendation in the National Broadband Plan and legislation introduced by Congresswoman Eshoo that I co-sponsored, and I am pleased to support it."
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) stated in a release that "Much like my 'dig once' proposal, this Executive Order will help bring broadband to underserved communities nationwide and with limited federal investment."
Rep. Eshoo (at left) introduced HR 1695 [LOC | WW], the "Broadband Conduit Deployment Act of 2011" on May 4, 2011. See, story titled "Rep. Eshoo Reintroduces Broadband Conduit Bill" in TLJ Daily e-Mail Alert No. 2,232, May 4, 2011. Her bill would affect only federal highway construction projects.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced a related bill in the Senate, S 1939 [LOC | WW], also titled the "Broadband Conduit Deployment Act of 2011", on December 1, 2011. Neither the House, the Senate, nor the committees of jurisdiction, have taken any action on either of these bills.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski stated in a speech on June 14 that "This is a big deal."
The National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) praised this order in a release. The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) also praised this order in a release.
People and Appointments
6/14. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) held an executive business meeting at which it held over consideration of the nomination of Brian Davis to be a Judge of the U.S. District Court (MDFl). This nomination is again on the agenda for the SJC meeting on June 21. See, notice.
6/14. The House Commerce Committee (HCC) announced that its Subcommittee on Communications and Technology (SCT) will hold a hearing titled "The Future of Video" on June 27, and an oversight hearing on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on July 10. See, notice.
FDA Monitors E-Mail With Congress
6/13. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), issued a release in which he reiterated his concerns about the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) monitoring of e-mail communications of FDA personnel with members of Congress, including his staff.
Sen. Grassley is seeking information, and the FDA is stonewalling.
Sen. Grassley is asking the FDA to disclose not only the extent of its monitoring of communications between his office and a group of FDA whistleblowers, but also the nature and extent of all FDA monitoring of email of FDA personnel, both that involving FDA computers and accounts, and that involving personal computers and accounts.
Sen. Grassley (at right) stated in a release that he has not yet received a response to his January 31, 2012 letter, that the FDA has informed him "to expect further delays because the response is under review by an Administration official".
He wrote that this is "not a good development from an Administration that was supposed to be the most transparent in history".
Sen. Grassley asked ten questions in his January 31 letter. He asked, "Who authorized the monitoring of all of the whistleblowers email accounts of communications with Congress?". He also asked "Did he FDA monitor all employee email accounts, including personal accounts, or was the monitoring targeted only at the nine whistleblowers?"
He also enquired about personal computers and accounts. He asked, "Did FDA obtain the passwords to the employees' personal email accounts, which would allow emails to be intercepted even when not sent or received from a government computer?"
In his letter, Sen. Grassley quoted from 18 U.S.C. § 1505, which imposes a criminal ban on interfering with a Congressional investigation.
He did not quote from 18 U.S.C. § 2511, which criminalizes warrantless intercepts. However, he used variations of the word "intercept" in his letter. Section 2511 provides in part that "any person who ... intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, oral, or electronic communication ... shall be punished". Sen. Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC), is familiar with intercept law.
Nor did he reference 18 U.S.C. § 1030, which criminalizes, and provides a civil remedy for, unauthorized access to a protected computer system. However, his letter seeks information relevant to whether a Section 1030 violation has occurred.
That is, if the FDA monitored the use of FDA computers, such as with a keystroke logger, to obtain the passwords used to access personal email or social network accounts, and then used those passwords to access those accounts, and thereby obtained the contents of communications sent or received on personally owned computers with private accounts, there have been violations of Section 1030.
FTC and DOJ Release Annual HSR Report
6/13. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division released a report [46 pages in PDF] titled "Hart Scott Rodino Annual Report Fiscal Year 2011". See also, FTC release.
This report covers the time period of October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011.
The total number of covered transactions rose for the second straight year in FY2011, after declining from a peak in FY2007. There were 1,450 transactions in FY2011, up from 1,166 in FY2010, and 716 in FY2009. (See, Table 1, below.)
The percentage of transactions in which either the DOJ or FTC made a second request has been steady at about 4 percent during the Obama administration. This is higher than during the Bush administration.
The FTC made 17 challenges in FY2011, and the DOJ made 20, for a total of 37, or about 2.6%. There were 41 challenges in FY2010, or about 3.5%, and 31 challenges in FY2009. The percentage of transactions that are challenged is way up from the Bush Administration.
There were 1,157 early termination requests (ETRs) in FY2011. 888 were granted, or about 76.8% of all transactions involving ETRs. This is up from 73.9% in FY2010.
The 2011 report also discloses that in 8.1% of transactions in FY2011 the acquired entity was in the information technology sector. IT accounted for 9.0% in FY2010. IT accounted for 8.2% in FY2009.
This article also examines the granular industry sector data contained in the tables attached to these annual report to display HSR trends in information and communications technology (ICT) sectors. Unforetunately, the reporting categories used in these annual reports has changed. For example, while these reports long had a category titled "Communications", these report did not begin to break down data by internet sectors until FY2003. Also, while these reports long had a huge category titled "Industrial and Commercial Machinery and Computer Equipment", these reports did not add a category for "Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing" until FY2007.
See, full story and tables.
6/13. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a notice in the Federal Register (FR) that sets comment deadlines for its May 25, 2012 Public Notice [MS Word], DA 12-818, regarding the privacy and data security practices of mobile wireless services providers with respect to customer information stored on their users' mobile communications devices. The deadline to submit initial comments is July 13, 2012. The deadline to submit reply comments is July 30, 2012. See, FR, Vol. 77, No. 114, Wednesday, June 13, 2012, at Pages 35336-35338.
Rep. Rogers and Rep. Ruppersburger Write Huawei and ZTE and About Ties to PRC Government
6/12. Rep. Mike Rogers (R_MI) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), the Chairman and ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee (HIC) sent letters to the ZTE and Huawei regarding the HIC's investigation into "the threat posed to our critical infrastructure and the United States' counterintelligence posture by companies with ties" to the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC).
The two Representatives just returned from a trip to Hong Kong where they met with representatives of the two companies.
These letters numerous interrogatories. For example, they ask for descriptions of the companies' interactions with the PRC's Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of State Security, and other governmental agencies.
They also ask if the companies would disobey orders from the government of the PRC to use their "equipment or access for purposes of economic or foreign espionage or other action against networks or other assets within the United States"?
They also ask about use of the companies' networks to steal intellectual property.
See, letter to ZTE USA CEO Lixin Chen, and similar letter to ZTE Chairman Weigui Hu. See also, letter to Huawei Technologies Co., LTD. SVP Charles Ding, and similar letter to Chairman Ren Zhengfei.
Rep. Rogers and Rep. Ruppersburger also issued a joint release that states that the HIC has "stepped up the Committee’s investigation into the Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE".
Rep. Ruppersburger (at right) stated that "While I appreciate the need for international competition, it is my responsibility to look critically at foreign companies, especially those whose government continues to conduct cyber espionage against US enterprises".
Rep. Rogers stated that "I remain concerned about the national security threat posed by the potential expansion of Huawei and ZTE into our telecommunications infrastructure".
He added that "I appreciate the cooperation from Huawei and ZTE thus far" but "We must get to the bottom of these issues before the companies have further access to our market."
Senators Introduce Bill to Establish PNTR with Russia
6/12. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and others introduced S 3285 [LOC | WW], a bill that establishes permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia and repeals the 1974 Jackson Vanik amendment.
The original cosponsors of the bill are Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
Sen. Baucus stated in a release "Jackson-Vanik served its purpose during the Cold War, but it’s a relic of another era that now stands in the way of our farmers, ranchers and businesses pursuing opportunities to grow and create jobs. We owe it to American workers and businesses to enable them to take advantage of the doors opening in Russia."
This release adds that "Russia is expected to join the WTO formally this summer, regardless of any action Congress does or does not take. As part of the accession process, Russia will lower tariffs and increase market access for foreign businesses from countries that have permanent normal trade relations with it. Congress must pass legislation establishing PNTR by the time Russia joins the WTO for the United States to enjoy the full economic benefits."
The bill does not address protection of intellectual property rights in Russia.
However, Sen. Baucus's release adds that "Unlike a free trade agreement, the United States will not provide any market access benefits, lower any U.S. tariffs, or make other changes to our trade laws as a result of Russia’s WTO accession. PNTR simply allows American businesses to take advantage of Russia’s concessions. These will include: additional market access for U.S. service providers; intellectual property enforcement ... and dispute settlement to enforce WTO rules".
Rebecca Blank, the acting Secretary of Commerce, stated in a release that "We welcome the Senate's introduction of this legislation. Now that Russia is entering the WTO, the benefits of PNTR with Russia are clear and compelling for American companies. This Senate bill will help American manufacturers, farmers, and service firms compete on a level playing field in the growing Russian market, increase exports, and support well-paying American jobs. We look forward to working with Congress on the successful and timely passage of these necessary measures."
The House Ways and Means Committee (HWMC) will hold a hearing titled "Russia's Accession to the World Trade Organization and Granting Russia Permanent Normal Trade Relations" on Wednesday, June 20, at 9:30 AM. See, notice.
The Senate Finance Committee (SFC) will hold a hearing titled "Russia's WTO Accession -- Administration's Views on the Implications for the United States" on Thursday, June 21. See, notice.
People and Appointments
6/12. The Senate confirmed Andrew Hurwitz to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir).
6/12. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced S 3287 [LOC | WW], the "Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2012", a bill to limit the use of drones in the US by the federal government. It provides that the federal government "shall not use a drone to gather evidence or other information pertaining to criminal conduct or conduct in violation of a statute or regulation except to the extent authorized in a warrant". The bill allows the use of drones "to patrol national borders to prevent or deter illegal entry of any persons or illegal substances", "by a law enforcement party when exigent circumstances exist", and "to counter a high risk of a terrorist attack". This bill is similar, but not identical, to HR 5925 [LOC | WW], also titled the "Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2012". See, story titled "Rep. Scott Introduces Drones Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,395, June 13, 2012. S 3287 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC). There are no original cosponsors of this bill.
Commentary: Warrantless Wiretaps and Senate Secrecy
6/11. The Senate is engaged in the process of enacting legislation that would extend for five years a key provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that enables the government to conduct warrantless wiretaps and seizures of e-mail of some US citizens. It is doing so in a secret manner that deprives the public of information regarding the process, or a meaningful opportunity to communicate their views to the Congress in a timely manner.
The Senate Intelligence Committee (SIC) disclosed in June that it secretly passed a bill extending the "outside of the United States" surveillance authority enacted by the 110th Congress in 2008 in HR 6304 [LOC | WW], the "Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008. For an explanation of this bill, see related story in this issue titled "Senate Considers Bill To Extend FISA Outside the US Warrantless Wiretap Authority".
The Congress enacted this sweeping authority to surveil persons "located outside of the United States" following protracted and heated debate in 2008.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-CA) process for moving the extension bill, S 3276 [LOC | WW], through the Senate appears to intended to circumvent public input and legislative debate.
The SIC vote on the act of passage occurred on May 22. That meeting was closed to the public. Moreover, the SIC did not announce in advance of that meeting that it would vote on extending the 2008 Act. Nor did the SIC disclose after the meeting that it had voted.
The SIC did not disclose its action until June 11. Moreover, the SIC passed a bill that had not even been introduced. Sen. Feinstein introduced this bill on June 7, 2012.
Sen. Feinstein gave the bill the deceptive title of "FAA Sunsets Extension Act of 2012". The FAA is commonly understood to be an acronym for the Federal Aviation Administration.
The SIC issued a release on June 11, backdated with the date of May 22, as if it had been issued on that date.
Two members of the SIC, Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), voted against the bill in committee on May 22, but did not disclose any information at that time.
Sen. Udall wrote in a release, dated and released on June 8, 2012, that "Udall and Wyden's actions in the mark-up of the FAA Sunsets Extension Act were confidential under Senate Select Intelligence Committee protocols until today, when the committee published its report on the bill."
Sen. Feinstein's office has not responded to calls and requests for information from TLJ made on June 8 and June 11.
A pattern has emerged in recent years in the extension of sunsets of provisions in the 2001 surveillance act (Title II of the USA PATRIOT Act) and the 2008 Act. The HJC and SJC, which have long traditions of safeguarding Constitutional rights, attempt to conduct oversight of the government's implementation of its surveillance powers; they seek information, hold public hearings, and consider bills. The executive branch does not cooperate, and boycotts these public hearings. Meanwhile, the SIC, which operates in secret, passes bills which are ultimately approved by the Congress in a non-transparent process.
Obama Nominates Two for USDC Northern District of California
6/11. President Obama nominated Jon Tigar and William Orrick III to be Judges of the U.S. District Court (NDCal), which includes Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and other areas. See, White House release and release.
Tigar has been a California state trial court judge since 2002 (Alameda County Superior Court). Before that, he worked for the law firm of Keker & Van Nest.
Orrick is a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Civil Division, a political appointment. He has served in the Obama DOJ since 2010. Before that, he worked at the San Francisco law firm of Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass for 25 years.
His father, William Orrick Jr., was also a Judge of the U.S. District Court (NDCal), appointed by former President Nixon. His grandfather, William Orrick, was one of the founders of Orrick Herrington Sutcliffe.
People and Appointments
6/11. The Department of Commerce (DOC) announced in a release that Commerce Secretary John Bryson is "taking a medical leave of absence", effective immediately. Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank will be the acting Secretary of Commerce.
6/11. The Federal Election Commission (FEC), back on June 11, 2012, approved an Advisory Opinion [20 pages in PDF] regarding making federal campaign contributions via text messaging. Red Blue T LLC, ArmourMedia, Inc., and m-Qube, Inc. requested the AO. This AO concludes that "the proposal satisfies the recordkeeping and reporting requirements of 2 U.S.C. 432(c); conforms to the prohibition on corporate contributions at 2 U.S.C. 441b; does not implicate the forwarding requirements of U.S.C. 432(b), when factored payments are made; and satisfies the segregation requirements for commercial vendors that process political contributions." A group of 15 members of the House of Representatives submitted a letter urging the FEC to allow text message campaign contributions. They wrote that "we must find ways to enhance the role of small donors".
to News from June 6-10, 2012.