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Federal Employees News Digest : May 27, 2013
Kristi Dougherty General Manager Phil Piemonte Managing Editor Sherkiya Wedgeworth Online Managing Editor Becky Fenton Circulation Manager Nathan Abse Writer Mike Causey Columnist Edward Zurndorfer Columnist Published by 1105 Government Information Group, Anne Armstrong, President. 1105 Government Information Group is part of 1105 Media, Inc. Neal Vitale, CEO. Corporate Headquarters: 1105 Media, Inc. 9201 Oakdale Ave., Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 www.1105media.com Office: 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500 Vienna, VA 22182-2215 Phone: Editorial: (703) 891-8554 Subscriptions: (800) 989-3363 Fax: (703) 876-5130 Internet: www.FederalDaily.com Subscription Rates: 1 year---$39 Site Licenses are available: E-mail: FENDsitelicense@ FederalDaily.com For single article reprints (in minimum quantities of 250-500), e-prints, plaques and posters contact: PARS International Phone: (212) 221-9595 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.magreprints.com/QuickQuote.asp The Comptroller General has ruled that federal agen- cies and departments may buy Federal Employees News Digest publications with government funds. This decision is No. B-185591. Federal Tax ID 20-4583700. DUNS #612031414. FEDERAL EMPLOYEES NEWS DIGEST (ISSN 1065-0970) is published weekly except first week in January and last week in December by 1105 Media, Inc., 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Annual subscription rate is: US $39. Subscription inquiries and customer service: Mail to: Federal Employees News Digest, PO Box 15428, N. Hollywood, CA 91615-5428, customerservice@feder- aldaily.com or call (800) 989-3363, fax (818) 487-4550. © Copyright 2013 by 1105 Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproductions or distribution in whole or part prohibited except by site license or reprint purchase. The information in this newsletter has not undergone any formal testing by 1105 Media, Inc. and is dis- tributed without any warranty expressed or implied. Implementation or use of any information contained herein is the reader's sole responsibility. While the information has been reviewed for accuracy, there is no guarantee that the same or similar results may be achieved in all environments. Technical inaccuracies may result from printing errors and/or new develop- ments in the industry. This publication's subscriber list, as well as other lists from 1105 Media, Inc., is available for rental. For more information, please contact our list manager, Merit Direct. Phone: (914) 368-1000; E-mail: 1105media@ meritdirect.com; Web: www.meritdirect.com/1105. May 27, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 43 2 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com anti-sexual harassment program. Then there was the story about the Foreign Service officer based in Moscow. The Post reported he had been kicked out by the Russian version of the CIA because he, they said, works for the U.S. version of the CIA. The Russians say he tried to con- vince a Russian spy to spy for us. Since the fellow had diplomatic immunity, he was expelled rather than imprisoned or shot. But not before the Russians released a photo of him wearing a very bad wig that looked like it was from a Marx (Groucho, not Karl) Brothers movie. The U.S. government had no comment on his status. But off the record, officials said no self-respecting fed would be caught dead wearing a wig. They said it was a Russian effort to make us look bad. I happened to be doing a radio show that day and a brought the newspaper with me. The co-host and I were talking about gov- ernment in general, furloughs in particular, and about how little the average American knows about the operations of the govern- ment. And how people tend to confuse state and local government workers---the people who license your dog, or license you to drive---with federal workers. So I held up the newspaper and said that the front page would be a good teaching tool for ordinary, tax-paying citizens for whom the government (most of the time) consists of the Postal Service and the IRS. John and Jane Q. Public would see good news---they would see that federal workers are everywhere, part of every community and doing all manner of things we mostly don't consider. It's important to know that the air is clean, drugs are safe, that that interstate commerce is doing well because well-paid (maybe you don't think so) profes- sionals are in charge. Most Americans take it for granted, or don't even realize that Uncle Sam is watching the borders, hunting bad guys and doing near miraculous things---in outer space, as well as down here on Earth in laboratories from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The sometimes bad news is that when things go wrong, or politicians and the media claim wrongdoing, the people in the spotlight may be career Justice Department attorneys in Washington, or IRS workers in Cincinnati. Feds who often complain that they are misunderstood, unknown or under-appre- ciated are now, through no fault of their own, in the spotlight. And not a very good spotlight, at that. In one TV food fight one weekend, syn- dicated talking heads got into a dispute as to whether the current IRS flap is the same as, or worse than President Richard Nixon's enemies list. Or the Kennedys' use of the IRS (as detailed in a former commissioner's memoir). The conservative commentator said he suspects this will lead to the top (meaning the White House), and that the White House and the Justice Department were attempting to "intimidate" people politically, and to scare reporters and government sources from being seen in the same city. The liberal responded that the IRS problem didn't originate at the White House level, or even in Washington. He attributed the effort to a "small bunch of IRS employees sitting on the banks of the Ohio River," not the Potomac. As one IRS advisor told FEND: "Who did it hurt? Did someone go bankrupt? If it was politically motivated, get rid of those respon- sible and let's move on. It is no wonder the country is going broke. Nobody wants to pay taxes. Think I'll apply for tax-exempt status when I retire---pension cuts and rising prices means less dollars. Congress, remember, cre- ated the laws we (the IRS) enforce. There must be a loophole for some old beaten- down imperial storm-trooper who feels unappreciated." However long this new-found interest in government operations lasts, it will be too long for hard-working feds who just want to do their jobs. Many of them say that in the IRS case in particular, this is a situation where Congress writes bad or fuzzy law, and leaves it up to the "bureaucrats" to interpret it. When those bureaucrats get it right---as in nobody yells---the pols take credit for reforming or streamlining whatever it is. But when it fails---or gets bad publicity---the representatives and senators (and presidents) who write, approve and sign the law blame bureaucrats for botching it. That's nothing new, of course. But most feds would agree: It is getting awfully old. INSIGHT by Mike Causey continued from page 1
May 20, 2013
June 3, 2013