U.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell, must be clairvoyant.
He had just introduced legislation in late February that would prohibit IRS officers and employees from using personal email accounts to conduct official business when suddenly it became one of the hottest issues on Capitol Hill.
Not because of the IRS but because a New York Times story revealed that as secretary of state Hillary Clinton had used only private email accounts far from the prying eyes of archivists.
Marchant, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, was motivated by reports that former IRS official Lois Lerner had targeted conservative fund-raising groups over their tax-exempt status.
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“The Ways and Means Committee investigation into IRS political targeting revealed that, among other abuses, one of the agency’s top officials used her personal email address for official business,” Marchant said. “She put confidential taxpayer information at direct risk of falling into the wrong hands. This is a breach of IRS protocol and betrays the trust of the American people. It should be against the law.”
Question about Texas taxes during this 84th Legislature?
Look it up. There’s a newly published Field Guide to the Taxes of Texas that the comptroller’s office hopes Texans will use.
The new publication details the “rates of taxes that generate $50 billion in annual receipts, estimates of future revenue and allocations.” It also details various exemptions and discounts.
Matt Leffingwell, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, and a longtime staffer in her office, has moved on.
He is now senior director of government relations for the One Campaign, an anti-poverty advocacy group co-founded by the singer Bono. Granger, who chairs a funding subcommittee that oversees State Department and foreign agencies, had done a lot of work with the group, which focuses attention on Africa.
Shannon Meade moves up from being Granger’s deputy chief of staff to chief of staff.
U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan, had a hard-fought battle in November to get elected chairman of the Republican Study Group, an unofficial organization of the most conservative House GOP members.
But it turns out that he — and the group of about 170 — are still not conservative enough for a smaller band of House conservatives who in January formed another group and are having some early successes.
The Freedom Caucus, with about 40 to 50 members, is now a player on the House floor, although it is unclear exactly how many members it has. Its chairman is Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and the only Texan known to be in on its creation is U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, who failed to win the RSC chairmanship and who also unsuccessfully challenged House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio for the speaker’s gavel.
Most Freedom Caucus members are still in the RSC, but it is the rowdy smaller group that is forcing the hand of leadership.
Boehner’s humiliating defeat Feb. 27 over a three-week extension of funding for the Department of Homeland Security came down to Freedom Caucus members who wanted to hang tough on removing the administration’s executive actions on immigration. There were 52 GOP votes, including U.S. Reps. Joe Barton of Ennis and Roger Williams of Austin. In the face of a stalemate with the Senate, Boehner, working with Democrats, eventually got DHS funded for the year.
Maria Recio, 202-383-6103
Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610