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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Executive Director of Bronx Not-for-Profit Found Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court of Fraud and Obstruction of Justice


Executive Director of Bronx Not-for-Profit Found Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court of Fraud and Obstruction of Justice 

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMay 31, 2012
  • Southern District of New York(212) 637-2600
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that David Griffiths, the executive director of the Neighborhood Enhancement for Training Services Inc. (NETS), a now non-operating not-for-profit corporation in the Bronx, New York that provided programs and services for young people and for senior citizens, was found guilty yesterday in Manhattan federal court on all three counts contained in an information charging him with making false statements to the government, obstruction of justice, and mail fraud. Griffiths was convicted after a four-week jury trial before U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “In just two hours, a jury of 12 men and women convicted David Griffiths of lying to cover up the fact that he had taken taxpayer dollars from a not-for-profit organization that provided services to Bronx residents in need. Their swift verdict demonstrates that there is no tolerance for this illegal conduct and that those who engage in it will be punished.”
According to the evidence introduced at trial, other proceedings in this case, and documents previously filed in Manhattan federal court:
Griffiths began serving as the executive director of NETS in November 2003. NETS received almost all of its funding from government grants sponsored by a Bronx Assemblyman. In 2008, the FBI began investigating the not-for-profit and how it had used those government funds.
In June 2009, Griffiths made materially false statements and representations in documents he provided to the FBI in response to a Southern District of New York grand jury subpoena. The documents were purported minutes of meetings of the board of directors of NETS that related to, among other things, alleged authorizations he had obtained from the board to take certain payments from the not-for-profit. Griffiths gave the minutes to the FBI in an attempt to mislead them and obstruct their investigation of NETS. Specifically, Griffiths attempted to cover up tens of thousands of dollars he had taken from NETS with no authorization and his scheme to take almost $200,000 more from the not-for-profit.
In September 2010, Griffiths, on behalf of NETS, attempted to obtain additional grant money from a New York State agency under false pretenses. Specifically, Griffiths misrepresented to the agency that the not-for-profit and its officers and directors had not been the subject of a criminal investigation, a civil investigation, and/or unsatisfied tax liens and judgments for the past five years. At the time Griffiths made these misrepresentations, he knew that both he and the not-for-profit were under investigation by the FBI as well as by the State Attorney General’s Office and that NETS had unsatisfied tax liens and judgments against it.
***
Griffiths, 66, of White Plains, New York, faces a maximum penalty of 45 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 in addition to the proceeds of the crime. He is scheduled to be sentenced after post-trial briefing.
Mr. Bharara praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the investigation of this case.
This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Carrie H. Cohen and Justin Anderson are in charge of the prosecutions.

Congressional Campaign Finance Director Charged with Conspiring to Conceal Origin of Contributions


Congressional Campaign Finance Director Charged with Conspiring to Conceal Origin of Contributions 

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMay 31, 2012
  • District of Connecticut(203) 821-3700
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that Robert Braddock, Jr., 33, of Meriden, was arrested yesterday and charged in a federal criminal complaint with conspiracy to conceal the source of contributions to the campaign of a candidate for the United States House of Representatives.
The complaint alleges that Braddock, who is the finance director for the campaign of a candidate for the United States House of Representatives, conspired with others to accept conduit campaign contributions, which are contributions made by one person in the name of another person. It is a violation of federal campaign finance law for any person to knowingly accept a contribution made by one person in the name of another person.
The purpose of the conduit contributions alleged in the complaint was to conceal the fact that the individuals who were actually financing the payments had an interest in legislation that was introduced in the Connecticut General Assembly during the 2012 legislative session. The candidate is also a current member of the Connecticut General Assembly.
The legislation introduced would have deemed Roll-Your-Own smoke shop owners to be tobacco manufacturers under Connecticut law, a designation that would have subjected these shop owners to a substantial licensing fee and tax increase. The Connecticut General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Finance, Revenue, and Bonding voted in favor of the bill, Senate Bill 357, on April 3, 2012. The criminal complaint alleges that the potential enactment of that bill prompted Braddock and his co-conspirators to arrange a payment of $10,000 to the campaign, which consisted of four $2,500 checks in the names of conduit contributors.
In early May 2012, the complaint alleges that a co-conspirator who had helped to arrange the initial $10,000 in campaign contributions stated in a series of recorded telephone calls with another co-conspirator, who was an aide to the campaign, that he and others were prepared to make an additional $10,000 payment following the defeat of the Roll-Your-Own legislation. On May 9, 2012, the legislative session ended, and the legislation had not been called for a vote by either chamber of the General Assembly.
Several days later, on May 14, 2012, the complaint alleges that the co-conspirator delivered a $10,000 payment to the campaign in the form of three $2,500 conduit contributions made payable to the campaign and one $2,500 conduit contribution made payable to a political party. After Braddock was informed by the co-conspirator the next day that one of the contributions was in the form of a bank check provided by one of the Roll-Your-Own shop owners, Braddock arranged for the check not to be deposited into the campaign’s bank account. On May 16, 2012, the co-conspirator and an aide to the campaign met at a restaurant in Southington. At that meeting, the co-conspirator provided the aide with a replacement $2,500 check in the name of a different conduit contributor who was not affiliated with any Roll-Your-Own shops.
“In his role as campaign finance director, it is alleged that this defendant conspired to conceal the source of campaign contributions to the campaign of a candidate for Congress,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI are committed to investigating and prosecuting illegal behavior that corrupts our political process. This investigation is ongoing.”
“This arrest represents the FBI’s commitment to the citizens of Connecticut that we will thoroughly investigate allegations of public corruption,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Mertz. “Combating corruption at all levels is the FBI’s top criminal priority.”
The investigation of this matter has included numerous recorded conversations, as well as an FBI special agents acting in an undercover capacity.
The charge of conspiracy to conceal campaign contributions carries a maximum term of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher M. Mattei and Eric J. Glover.

Redby Woman Sentenced for Being an Accessory to Violent Red Lake Crime


Redby Woman Sentenced for Being an Accessory to Violent Red Lake Crime 

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMay 31, 2012
  • District of Minnesota(612) 664-5600
MINNEAPOLIS—Yesterday in federal court in Duluth, a 22-year-old Redby woman was sentenced for attempting to hide a suspect from federal agents. United States District Court Judge Richard H. Kyle sentenced Jerilee Jane Head to 24 months in prison on one count of being an accessory after the fact. Head was indicted on March 8, 2011, and was convicted on January 24, 2012. She was ordered to remain in custody.
According to the indictment and the evidence presented at trial, Head assisted her boyfriend, Donald Leigh Clark, Jr., in his attempt to elude authorities. Clark was hiding from law enforcement after being charged with the November 3, 2010 killing of one man and the wounding of two others on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. Clark was ultimately found hiding under a blanket in the back seat of Head’s vehicle on January 15, 2011, after Head had tried but failed to lure federal agents away from the car.
On February 7, 2012, Clark, age 23, also of Redby, was sentenced to 120 months in prison on one count of discharging a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, specifically during the shooting of Julian Keith DeMarrias.
This case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Red Lake Tribal Police Department, with assistance from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Headwaters Safe Trails Task Force; and the U.S. Marshals Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Clifford B. Wardlaw.
Because the Red Lake Indian Reservation is a federal-jurisdiction reservation, some of the crimes that occur there are investigated by the FBI in conjunction with the Red Lake Tribal Police Department. Those cases are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Hogsett Announces 115-Year Sentence for Evansville Man Guilty of Production, Distribution of Child Pornography


Hogsett Announces 115-Year Sentence for Evansville Man Guilty of Production, Distribution of Child Pornography 

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMay 31, 2012
  • Southern District of Indiana(317) 226-6333
INDIANAPOLIS—Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced today that Larry Everett Hodge, age 47, of Evansville, was sentenced to 115 years in prison this afternoon by Chief U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young. This follows Hodge’s December 8, 2011 guilty plea to the following charges: seven counts of production of sexually explicit material involving minors; two counts of conspiracy to produce sexually explicit material involving minors; and two counts of distribution of sexually explicit material involving minors.
“Although these horrible acts can never be undone, today we can at least say with certainty that this man will never walk the streets of Evansville again,” Hogsett said. “In handing down one of the stiffest sentences in this district’s history, I believe the court has made clear how seriously federal criminal justice treats such abhorrent behavior.”
“Federal sentencing rules mandate a minimum of 85 percent of all time must be served, meaning Mr. Hodge will be 145 years old when he becomes eligible for release,” Hogsett added.
In November 2010, the Evansville Police Department responded to a report of child abuse from a concerned individual who had been sent images depicting sexual abuse of a minor on her cell phone. That individual indicated that she had received the images from Hodge. Child abuse detectives were contacted to initiate an investigation.
Detectives went to Larry Everett Hodge’s residence to speak with him, at which point it was immediately apparent that Hodge knew about the abuse of the child, later identified as an 8-year-old female. Hodge admitted in an interview with law enforcement that he had engaged in oral sex with the victim and was arrested on charges of child molestation.
The full extent of the abuse was later established during an examination of a Memorex data storage disc taken during a search of Hodge’s residence. Agents identified at least seven separate digital photography sessions and two videos that were saved on the disc by Hodge, all of which depicted sexual abuse of the minor. Some of the videos depicted sexual abuse by Hodge himself, while others allegedly depicted sexual abuse by Hodge’s wife, co-defendant Emma Dell Hodge.
Further investigation revealed that Hodge had gained access to the child by volunteering to assist the child’s parents by caring for the child after school and at various other times. Hodge has also admitted to distributing the images and videos of the victim to a co-defendant, George K. Jackson.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd S. Shellenbarger, who prosecuted the case for the government, Chief Judge Young also imposed lifetime supervision following Hodge’s release from prison. During the period of supervised release, Hodge must comply with all sex offender registration laws, must not have unsupervised contact with minors, and must submit to an examination of any computer devices he uses. Hodge was also ordered to forfeit the computer equipment he used in the offense to the United States.
A sentencing hearing in the matter of Emma Dell Hodge is currently scheduled before Judge Young June 19, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. A sentencing hearing in the matter of George K. Jackson is currently scheduled before Judge Young June 19, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.
This case was the result of an investigation by the Evansville Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was brought as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.
Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Wyoming Man Sentenced for Sexual Abuse of a Minor


Wyoming Man Sentenced for Sexual Abuse of a Minor

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMay 31, 2012
  • District of Wyoming(307) 772-2124
U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming Christopher A. Crofts announced today that on May 29, 2012, Perry Verdell Gould, a 32-year-old Northern Arapaho Tribal Member, was sentenced for sexually abusing two minor victims over a two-year period on the Wind River Indian Reservation beginning in April 2006 and ending in April 2008. Mr. Gould was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson to 300 months’ imprisonment, a lifetime of supervised release, and a $200 special assessment. This case was investigated by the FBI.

Colombo Family Street Boss Pleads Guilty to Racketeering and Firearms Charges


Colombo Family Street Boss Pleads Guilty to Racketeering and Firearms Charges 

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMay 31, 2012
  • District of Massachusetts(617) 748-3100
BOSTON—A Somerville, Massachusetts man agreed to plead guilty today in federal court to conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute and possessing firearms and ammunition.
At today’s hearing, Ralph F. DeLeo, 69, agreed to plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy and being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.
DeLeo was “street boss” of the Colombo Family of La Cosa Nostra and the head of the DeLeo Crew, a criminal enterprise based in Somerville, which engaged in the importation, trafficking, and distribution of narcotics and controlled substances, including cocaine and marijuana; extortion; loan sharking; and interstate and foreign travel in aid of racketeering. The DeLeo Crew operated principally in Massachusetts, Arkansas, Florida, and New York.
In particular, had the case gone to trial, the government would have proven that DeLeo:
  • arranged and paid for a two kilogram cocaine deal;
  • traveled to Florida, New York, and Connecticut on Colombo family business on various occasions;
  • attempted to collect an extension of credit by extortionate means in Canton, Massaschusetts, on March 11, 2009;
  • conspired with other members of the DeLeo Crew and a businessman to administer a beating to the financial advisor of the businessman’s brother, with whom he had a dispute;
  • conspired with other members of the DeLeo Crew and other members and associates of the Colombo family to import marijuana from Canada; and
  • maintained in a hidden location a cache of at least 11 firearms, together with a silencer, ammunition, police uniforms, patches from at least three different police departments, wigs, masks, and zip ties.
La Cosa Nostra is a criminal organization that operates in various parts of the United States and Canada through entities known as “families.” The five most powerful LCN families, of which the Colombo family is one, are based in New York. The DeLeo Crew was a separate entity from the Colombo family. DeLeo used the criminal activities of the DeLeo Crew to increase and maintain his status in the Colombo family.
U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodock scheduled sentencing for September 6, 2012. DeLeo faces a sentence of 210 to 235 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and a $50,000 fine. Judge Woodlock deferred acceptance of DeLeo’s guilty plea until the imposition of sentence.
U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI-Boston Field Office made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy E. Moran and Laura Kaplan of Ortiz’s Organized Crime Strike Force Unit.

Leader of Drug Trafficking Organization Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison


Leader of Drug Trafficking Organization Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison 

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMay 31, 2012
  • Southern District of Georgia(912) 652-4422
BRUNSWICK, GA—Brian Keith Glover, 38, from Brunswick, Georgia, was sentenced on May 24, 2012 by Chief Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to 20 years in prison following his conviction on drug trafficking charges. Glover was one of 17 defendants charged and convicted in an indictment involving a major drug trafficking organization operating in Brunswick, Jacksonville, and elsewhere. All but one of the 17 defendants have been sentenced.
United States Attorney Edward Tarver said, “The persons indicted in this case were members of the largest cocaine trafficking organization in the Brunswick area. Federal and local law enforcement cooperation has resulted in a complete disruption of the organization and the incarceration of a number of dangerous criminals. An essential ingredient in this successful investigation and prosecution was the high degree of cooperation between federal and local investigative agencies operating as part of the district’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program.”
According to the evidence presented during several guilty plea and sentencing hearings, Glover led an organization that was responsible for distributing marijuana, ecstasy, and cocaine in the Brunswick and Jacksonville areas over several years. Most of the cocaine that the organization procured was obtained in South Florida, although Glover also had a source of supply in Central Georgia. Investigators relied heavily on wiretap surveillance to further their investigation.
In addition to Glover, the other defendants convicted and sentenced as part of this prosecution included:
  • Andrey Lamar James, 29, Jacksonville, Florida, was sentenced to 65 months in prison
  • Bassil James Rhoden, 31, Jamaica, was sentenced to 94 months in prison
  • Alberto R. Andujar, 35, Jacksonville, Florida, was sentenced to 24 months in prison
  • Dan Wendell Mangram, 38, Brunswick, Georgia, was sentenced to 151 months in prison
  • Oscar Ramon Woods, 35, Brunswick, Georgia, was sentenced to 12 months in prison
  • Joel Christopher Jordan, 42, Jacksonville, Florida, was sentenced to six months in prison
  • Ian Kyle Baker, Brunswick, 39, Georgia, was sentenced to 130 months in prison
  • Benjamin Dunham, Jr., 45, Darien, Georgia, was sentenced to 57 months in prison
  • Damian Julian, 40, Jacksonville, Florida, was sentenced to 60 months in prison
  • George Edward Brennon, 47, Brunswick, Georgia, was sentenced to eight months in prison
  • William Cortez Smith, 30, Kingsland, Georgia, was sentenced to 22 months in prison
  • Jermaine Donte Hardee, 28, Brunswick, Georgia, was sentenced to 22 months in prison
  • Roderick D. Thomas, 23, Brunswick, Georgia, was sentenced to 21 months in prison
  • Xontavious Deotne Hawkins, 26, Brunswick, Georgia, was sentenced to 27 months in prison
  • Rashuana Denay Battle, 24, Jacksonville, Florida, was sentenced to 21 months in prison
Reginald Leon Stevens, 35, from Brunswick, Georgia, has not yet been sentenced.
The Glover prosecution resulted from a lengthy investigation conducted by members of the DEA, the Glynn-Brunswick Narcotics Enforcement Team, the United States Marshals Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karl Knoche. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.

Obama, Romney Running Even in Swing States

Obama, Romney Running Even in Swing States

Portman Highlights Lima's Capabilities to Israelis

Press release:


May 31, 2012

Portman Highlights Lima's Capabilities to Israelis

Follows Up Fight Against Administration's Plan To Defund JSMC By Advocating For Lima With Defense Minister Ehud Barak

Tel Aviv, Israel – Today, in a meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, pitched the unique capabilities of Lima, Ohio’s Joint Systems Manufacturing Center (JSMC). While the discussions focused on broad regional security issues, as Ranking Member on the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, Portman specifically discussed current and planned U.S. security partnership programs with Minister Barak and the important role the U.S. defense industrial base has in supplying Israel with necessary equipment, with Portman highlighting the tremendous manufacturing capabilities at JSMC in Lima.   The two reviewed the status of current and future work on the Israel’s Namer fighting vehicle. 
"When it comes to manufacturing combat vehicles, the skills and expertise at Lima are unparalleled anywhere in the world," Portman said. "The Israelis are getting a sense of that as the first Namer components are starting production.  I had a very good discussion with Minister Barak about building on this initial work to develop a deeper relationship.  We agreed to continue looking at ways we can further leverage the capabilities at Lima to meet their vehicle production needs."
JSMC has recently begun work on the chassis for the Namer, which is modeled after Israel's Merkava main battle tank. This and other foreign sales will be key to sustaining adequate production at the facility during the current period of reduced U.S. vehicle production.
Portman fought efforts to defund work done at JSMC in last week’s Senate Armed Services Committee markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2013, saying “I will continue to work with the Army, the contractor, and my colleagues to ensure that production rates at Lima are achieved to sustain this facility through FY 2014 and beyond.  Continuing minimum production will retain this national capability and be less expensive than mothballing JSMC as the Pentagon proposes.”
The Senate Armed Services Committee Authorization bill ultimately adds $91 million for the advanced procurement of long-lead materials that will be needed to continue Abrams upgrades into 2015.  JSMC will be manufacturing upgraded Abrams tanks through mid-2014 under current Pentagon plans.

Portman Statement on Meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak

Press release:


Tel Aviv, Israel – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Ranking Member on the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, met today with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to discuss the United States’ long-term security commitment to Israel and emerging threats within the region.
“Defense Minister Barak and I discussed the many security issues facing Israel. We spoke about the threat that Iran poses to Israel and the United States, and the need to keep up international pressure,” said Portman following the meeting.  "The international community can't allow the Iranians to stall further multilateral pressure through hollow talks."
“We also spoke about my visit earlier in the day to a battery of the Iron Dome anti-rocket air defense system, and how U.S. support for this technology is a win-win proposal for both of our nations.  Having fought for the program in the National Defense Authorization Act, I was glad to hear more about its highly successful track record and the Israelis’ commitment to the program, as well as see it in action firsthand,” he continued.  “The Iron Dome system is a proven way for Israel to defend its citizens from hostile threats and will advance missile defense technology for us and other allies.” 
In the last decade, Israelis in the north and south have suffered bombardment by terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas.  In response, the Iron Dome system was developed in 2007 to defend against short-range rocket and artillery attacks.  This cost-effective system was initially funded solely by Israel, but funding for the production and deployment of additional Iron Dome batteries was later approved by the United States.
Last week, the Senate Armed Services Committee awarded $210 million for joint U.S.-Israeli cooperative missile defense programs and procurement of additional Iron Dome batteries as part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.  As of now, there are three operational Iron Dome batteries, with another on its way.  However, Israel estimates it will need 10-15 to cover its population centers.
“U.S.-Israeli security cooperation is one of our most valued and important arrangements, and given the volatility in the region, one of our most significant. I look forward to continuing that relationship through projects like the Iron Dome,” Portman concluded.

Portman Tours Iron Dome Battery Protecting Israel From Rockets And Short-Range Missiles

Press release:


Jerusalem, Israel – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today toured an Iron Dome battery in southern Israel, after fighting for additional funding for the program during the markup of the National Defense Authorization Act. 
“The Iron Dome system is a proven way for Israel to defend its people from hostile threats,” stated Portman.  “This cooperative effort between our two governments will also help enhance U.S. missile defense capabilities.” 
As the result of Hezbollah rocket launches into northern Israel during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, 44 Israeli civilians were killed, 250,000 others had no choice but to leave their homes behind and approximately a million more were confined to shelters.  Similarly, for years Israelis in the south have been bombarded by rockets fired by Hamas in Gaza.  In response, the Iron Dome system was developed in 2007 to defend against short-range rocket and artillery attacks.  It integrates vertically launched interceptor missiles with a mobile control center as well as an advanced radar component.  This cost-effective air defense system was initially funded solely by Israel, but funding for the production and deployment of additional Iron Dome batteries was later approved by the United States.
"It was encouraging to see firsthand how this innovative technology is protecting lives and  significantly diminishing the effectiveness of a tool terrorists use to inflict harm and escalate violence," Portman continued.
Last week, the Senate Armed Services Committee awarded $210 million for joint U.S.-Israeli cooperative missile defense programs and procurement of additional Iron Dome batteries as part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.  As of now, there are three operational Iron Dome batteries, with another on its way.  However, Israel estimates it will need 10-15 to cover its population centers. 

Portman Statement on Meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Press release:


Tel Aviv, Israel – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and former U.S. Trade Representative, issued the following statement following his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
“This past year has been very turbulent for the Middle East, and my conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu strengthened my belief that we need to remain vigilant in our support of our critical ally.
“We discussed the threat that Iran poses to Israel and the United States, and ways our two nations can work together to enhance our mutual security.
“As the crisis in Syria grows and the humanitarian tragedy becomes more clear, I appreciated Prime Minister Netanyahu’s perspective on the changes and volatility in the region.
“I also enjoyed hearing from Prime Minister Netanyahu on the state of the Israeli economy, which grew 4.8 percent in 2011. It was instructive to learn how  the Israeli government and the private sector are working hard to develop newly discovered natural gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean, as we are doing in Ohio with shale oil and gas.”

Grassley requests independent review of a program for foreign students to work in the U.S.


For Immediate Release
May 31, 2012

Grassley requests independent review of a program for foreign students to work in the U.S.

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley has asked the Government Accountability Office to assess the federal government’s management of the Optional Practical Training program, which allows foreign students to temporarily work in the United States in their major area of study for 12 to 29 months after completing their studies.

In a request made today, Grassley said an upward trend in use and little oversight of the program makes necessary an independent review of its effectiveness and security.

Grassley conducts congressional oversight of immigration programs from his position as Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over immigration policy.  The Government Accountability Office is the investigative arm of Congress.

Click here to see a pdf copy of Grassley's letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro.

Congressman Boehner: Our Focus Is on Creating Jobs for the American People

For news release from Speaker Boehner's Office, click the link below:

http://boehner.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=297765

GOP Leaders Press President Obama on Preventing Student Loan Rate Hike

Press release:

GOP Leaders Press President Obama on Preventing Student Loan Rate Hike 


May 31, 2012

Washington
-
House and Senate Republican leaders today invited President Obama to work with Congress to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1. 

In a letter to the president, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), and Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) wrote that “there is no reason we cannot quickly and in a bipartisan manner enact fiscally responsible legislation” to prevent the coming rate hike.  In addition to noting that they have already outlined a responsible approach to accomplishing this goal, the leaders listed additional options based on the president’s own budget and expressed an interest in discussing these proposals at his earliest convenience.

Following is the text of the letter to President Obama.  A printable PDF version is available here.

Dear Mr. President:
Earlier this year you asked Congress to extend for another year the reduced interest rate for subsidized Stafford student loans. Last month the House of Representatives passed a bill to do just that and to pay for the cost with a repeal of the Prevention and Public Health Fund created as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Despite the fact that you have previously signed into law legislation reducing this fund by $5 billion to offset the cost of preventing a reduction in Medicare physician payments, your Administration indicated that you would veto a bill that would use additional savings from the fund to offset the cost of extending lower student loan interest rates.
More recently, Senate Majority Leader Reid and his conference have put forward a proposal to pay for extending the reduced interest rate by raising taxes on small businesses. As you know, this proposal cannot pass the Senate and is unacceptable to the House of Representatives.
We believe our alternative is reasonable and responsible, but in the interest of finding common ground on a way to pay for a one year extension of the current student loan interest rate we are open to other solutions that we have all supported in the past.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that a one-year extension will increase the deficit by $5.985 billion over the 2012 to 2017 budget window. We have reviewed your Fiscal Year 2013 budget request, and based on areas of common agreement we believe it is possible to fully offset this cost by 2018 with additional savings in the ten year window and beyond dedicated to much-needed deficit reduction.
We have attached two options for fully offsetting the cost of extending the student interest rate reduction. The policies in both options are either policies that you recommended in their entirety or a subset of a policy you recommended. We are prepared to support either option.
There is no reason we cannot quickly and in a bipartisan manner enact fiscally responsible legislation.
Sincerely,
House Speaker John Boehner
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor
Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl

Option 1:
Student Loan Interest Rate: Extend for one year (July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013) the 3.40 percent interest rate for new subsidized Stafford student loans. (CBO estimates this proposal will increase the deficit by $5.985 billion over the 2012 to 2017 period and $5.985 billion over the 2012 to 2022 period.)
Increase Federal Employee Retirement Contributions: As part of the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget, the Administration proposes to increase current employee contributions to the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) by 0.4% in each of the next three calendar years—2013, 2014, and 2015—for a cumulative increase of 1.2% of pay over current contributions. The House of Representatives has passed a substantially larger increase in contributions (5% over current law levels phased-in over five years for regular CSRS and FERS employees) as part of the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act. (CBO estimates that the Administration’s proposal would reduce the deficit by $8 billion over the 2012 to 2017 period and $18 billion over the 2012 to 2022 period. Note: This estimate reflects that contribution levels have already been increased for new hires as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, Public Law 112-96.)
Option 2:
Student Loan Interest Rate: Extend for one year (July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013) the 3.40 percent interest rate for new subsidized Stafford student loans. (CBO estimates this proposal will increase the deficit by $5.985 billion over the 2012 to 2017 period and $5.985 billion over the 2012 to 2022 period.)
Limit Length of In-School Interest Subsidy: As part of the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget, the Administration proposes to limit the duration of borrowers’ in-school interest subsidy for subsidized Stafford loans to 150 percent of the normal time required to complete their educational programs. According to the Department of Education, “The Budget request eliminates the in-school interest subsidy for borrowers who do not complete their program within 150 percent of their program length. Beyond that point, these borrowers no longer receive the interest subsidy for the Subsidized Stafford loans they have taken out, and interest will immediately begin to accrue on these loans. As with the 12 semester Pell limitation enacted this fall, students who attend school half-time would have their benefits adjusted accordingly.” (CBO estimates that the Administration’s proposal would reduce the deficit by $475 million over the 2012 to 2017 period and $1.055 billion over the 2012 to 2022 period.)
Revise Medicaid Provider Tax Threshold: Under current law, states may not tax health care providers and return the tax revenues to those same providers through higher Medicaid payment rates or through other offsets and guarantees (known as a “hold harmless” arrangement). An exception to this provision is that the federal government will not deem a hold harmless arrangement to exist if the provider taxes collected from given providers are less than 6 percent of the providers’ revenues. As part of the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget, the Administration proposes to phase down the Medicaid provider tax threshold to 3.5% from Fiscal Year 2015 to Fiscal Year 2017. The House-passed Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act would lower the allowable percentage threshold to 5.5 percent starting in 2013. (CBO estimates that the House-passed proposal would reduce the deficit by $4.65 billion over the 2012 to 2017 period and $11.3 billion over the 2012 to 2022 period.)
Improve Collection of Pension Information from States and Localities: Both the Administration’s Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2013 and the House-passed Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act (December 2011) include a proposal to prevent Social Security overpayments by improving coordination with States and local governments.  By requiring State and local government pension payers to identify whether a worker’s pension is based on government employment, the Social Security Administration (SSA) can improve enforcement of two benefit offset provisions affecting certain government workers. (CBO estimates that the Administration’s proposal would reduce the deficit by $358 million over the 2012 to 2017 period and $2 billion over the 2012 to 2022 period.)
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Raytheon releases Corporate Responsibility Report

News release:


WALTHAM, Mass., May 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) released its 2011 Corporate Responsibility Report this month, highlighting the company's latest efforts in the areas of governance; ethics; engineering, technology and Mission Assurance; diversity; safety and wellness; sustainability; and community support. The report is available to view and download on Raytheon's website at http://www.raytheon.com/responsibility.
"Raytheon strives to be the best in all that we do, which is why we are proud to once again highlight our accomplishments benefiting shareholders, customers, employees and communities in our annual Corporate Responsibility Report," said Raytheon Chairman and CEO William H. Swanson. "In 2011, we achieved our safest year in company history and continued our strong focus on sustainability, ethics and diversity – a focus that we'll sharpen in 2012 as we set our sights even higher for achieving excellence in corporate responsibility practices."
Among numerous efforts outlined in the new report, Raytheon continues to be an environmental leader by setting measurable, absolute reduction goals. Raytheon now has 15 long-term sustainability goals in operations, supply chain, engineering, environmental, health and safety, and information technology -- all targeted for completion in 2015. Details of the 15 measurable sustainability goals are in the report and depicted in this infographic.
Other highlights of the company's commitment to corporate responsibility include:
  • Governance: As the company continues to grow its international presence, Raytheon has brought a keen focus to key international policies, including those on due diligence for international suppliers, business travel and entertainment, and offset arrangements.
  • Ethics: In 2011, employees completed more than 150,000 online compliance education modules covering many topics, including laws and regulations that impact government contractors.
  • Engineering, Technology and Mission Assurance: Among many examples of how Raytheon is leveraging its defense technology in applications focused on sustainability and safety, the company provided its Common Ground System to manage nearly a terabyte of information daily to support enhanced environmental data records used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Air Force Weather Agency to fulfill their critical weather forecasting responsibilities.
  • Diversity: In 2011, regional Diversity Summits were held across the company to engage 800 middle managers in experiential learning focused on building critical diversity competencies.
  • Safety and Wellness: Through 2011, 22 Raytheon locations have been recognized as Voluntary Protection Program "Star" certified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Approximately half of Raytheon's employees work in these locations.
  • Supporting Our Communities: Since 2005, Raytheon has invested $72 million in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) initiatives through MathMovesU® the company's flagship STEM program. In 2011, the company launched MathAlive!™, a traveling interactive exhibit that brings to life the real math behind activities young students love most.
About Raytheon
Raytheon Company, with 2011 sales of $25 billion and 71,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 90 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. For more about Raytheon, visit us at www.raytheon.com and follow us on Twitter @raytheon.

Northrop Grumman Hosts U.S. Military at LITENING Users' Conference


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Northrop Grumman Hosts U.S. Military at LITENING Users' Conference


ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., May 31, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) recently hosted the U.S. military at its 11th LITENING Users' Conference to share operational experiences with the targeting pod and identify priorities for capability upgrades.
The Northrop Grumman LITENING family of targeting pods is a self-contained, multisensor system with built-in connectivity to land forces. It enables pilots to detect, acquire, auto-track and identify targets for highly accurate delivery of both conventional and precision-guided weapons.
More than 100 aviators, maintainers, logisticians and program managers from the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command, Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard participated in the two-day conference, which took place at Northrop Grumman's Rolling Meadows facility. The conference included briefings on all aspects of LITENING operations and support, including new capabilities currently under development.
Several users highlighted the LITENING G4's distinctive and game changing capabilities, which are fully operational in active deployments.
"We rely on the performance and capability of the LITENING pod," said Gen. William B. Binger, Commander, 10th Air Force and keynote speaker for the conference. "Agility is key. We must find relevant cost-effective capabilities that can be fielded now and which are compatible across multiple platforms."
"The Northrop Grumman LITENING Users' Conference is a great forum for the exchange of ideas between our technologists and the men and women in the military who count on LITENING to help accomplish their missions," said Jim Mocarski, vice president of Northrop Grumman's electro-optical/infrared business unit. "The feedback we receive is invaluable, enabling us to continually introduce new technical capabilities and other system enhancements to better serve our warfighters. We've learned much from each other."
More than 630 LITENING pods have been delivered to date, continuing to prove their combat capabilities and inherent flexibility to adapt to changing operational requirements. Integrated on a wide variety of aircraft including AV-8B, A-10A/C, B-52H, EA-6Bs, F-15E, F-16 and F/A-18, LITENING is in operation with the Air Force, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve Command and Marine Corps, as well as the Italian and Spanish navies, the Israeli air force, the Royal Netherlands air force, the Finnish air force, the Portuguese air force, and the Royal Australian air force.
Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

Northrop Grumman Awards $50,000 in School Grants to Promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education


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Northrop Grumman Awards $50,000 in School Grants to Promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education


BALTIMORE, May 31, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) awarded a total of $50,000 in grants to 165 K-12 schools to promote education in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
The Engineers Week STEM Grants seek to provide teachers with funding for projects that increase student awareness of the excitement and opportunity to be found in the fields of STEM. Each grant of $300 was given to a school for use by a specific teacher, based on grant proposals submitted by each school. Projects must be STEM related. Grants may be used to purchase equipment, supplies, publications or transportation related to the project.
The 165 schools are located in 14 different states and in the communities near 20 separate Northrop Grumman campuses. 
"Northrop Grumman is deeply committed to promoting STEM education to better ensure long-term economic development in this country," said Ted Imes, director of corporate citizenship for Northrop Grumman's Baltimore-based Electronic Systems sector. "These grants will allow students across the nation to become more familiar with the virtues of pursuing a technical education."
The program was kicked off in February during National Engineers Week, which is a nationwide event dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers. 
Any public or charter school with an open enrollment policy was eligible to apply. The winners include elementary, middle and high schools, as well as charter and magnet schools. Grant applications were reviewed by employees at each Northrop Grumman campus.
The National Engineers Week STEM Grants is one of several Northrop Grumman community service programs designed to promote STEM education in the United States. Other programs include Discover"E," Teachers and Engineers for Academic Achievement (TEAACH), and Worthwhile to Help High School Youth (WORTHY), a High School Involvement Partnership. 
Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

Microsoft Strengthens Commitment to Addressing Youth Unemployment in Latin America and the Caribbean

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Microsoft Strengthens Commitment to Addressing Youth Unemployment in Latin America and the Caribbean
May 31, 2012
$5 million commitment supports program to train 1 million youth in next 10 years.
WASHINGTON  May 31, 2012  At its annual Government Leaders Forum – Americas, Microsoft Corp. today strengthened its commitment to creating opportunities for young people in Latin America and the Caribbean in an effort to reduce youth unemployment in the region. The company detailed its participation in the recent launch of a new initiative, New Employment Opportunities (NEO), which aims to train 1 million youth throughout the Latin American and Caribbean region and place at least 50 percent of those youth in jobs during the next 10 years.
Led by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) Multilateral Investment Fund and the International Youth Foundation (IYF), the NEO initiative is supported by a variety of corporate partners. As part of its participation in NEO, over a three-year period, Microsoft is providing $5 million worth of financial, software and in-kind commitments to provide training curriculum, internships, on-the-job training and mentors.
Microsoft is also launching the regional chapter of Innovate4Good@Microsoft, a global community of young people who have benefitted from Microsoft’s youth programs. Members of the Latin America chapter will gather for the first time during an event in Mexico City, June 14–15, to identify opportunities to serve in their communities, and build and share innovative solutions that are supported by Microsoft’s technology and resources, enabling them to achieve their dreams and envision a better future for themselves.
Nearly one-third of the region’s population will be between the ages of 15 and 34 by 2015, yet one in every five youths, ages 15 to 29, is currently neither working nor in school. (1) Furthermore, according to the IYF’s recent report, “Opportunity for Action,” although the skills that young people need to find decent work and avoid poverty are generally imparted during secondary education, less than half of the secondary school students in the region complete their education.
“Young people across the Latin American and Caribbean region increasingly face an opportunity divide because they lack access to the education, skills or job opportunities they need to succeed in today’s world,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft executive vice president. “We are committed to working in partnership with public- and private-sector partners in the region to help bridge this divide and empower young people to imagine and realize a better future for themselves, their family and their communities.”
The company has been operating in the region for more than 25 years and supports a number of programs, in addition to NEO, that are focused on creating opportunities for youth through technology, training and experiences that empower them to imagine and realize their full potential and create real impact for a better tomorrow. 
  • The Microsoft Shape the Future program has helped more than 5 million students in the Latin American region receive digital access over the past two years.
  • Partners in Learning, a global initiative aimed at improving teaching and learning by helping educators and school leaders connect, collaborate, create and share, has reached 158 million students in Latin America.
  • The annual Imagine Cup competition challenges students to address some of the world’s toughest challenges with their technology skills. The Imagine Cup Grants program provides teams with the funding and support to transform their projects into businesses or nonprofits. Thirteen teams from the Latin American and Caribbean region will be competing at the worldwide finals in Sydney July 6–10.
  • POETA, a partnership between Microsoft and the Organization of American States’ not-for-profit affiliate Trust for the Americas, provides technology and job skills training for those with disabilities and at-risk youth. Since inception, the program has reached 680,000 people across 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • The Microsoft BizSpark program has helped 24,000 software startups in Latin America and the Caribbean, including those led by young people, by giving them access to Microsoft software development tools, connecting them with key industry players, including investors, and helping them market their products and services.
“Sometimes you need a little help to bring your dreams to life and to create a better future. By participating in the Imagine Cup, and with the support I am receiving from the Microsoft BizSpark program, I am able make my dream of owning my own business and selling our SkillBox solution to schools around Ecuador a reality,” said Henry Javier Paca Quinaluiza of Team Falcon Dev, one of four 2011 Imagine Cup Grant recipients. The team’s SkillBox solution helps children who are hearing impaired by translating audio received from a teacher in a classroom into sign language.
In the coming months, Microsoft will announce additional programs and commitments designed to create opportunities for youths throughout the Latin America and Caribbean region. More information about Microsoft’s commitment to helping create opportunity for youths can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/citizenship.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.