Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sheriff Explains Operation C.A.S.T.

Video from WMOH:

Sheriff Richard K. Jones explains Operation C.A.S.T. (Criminal Auto Sales and Titles) which targeted used car dealerships providing fake ID's to illegal immigrants, who would in turn use the phoney documents to buy a vehicle.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Boehner Column: Congress Should Work in Bipartisan Manner to Find Solutions

Over the next eight weeks, Congress will have an opportunity to show the American people that it can work in a bipartisan manner rather than engaging in partisan sniping and political games. There are real challenges facing our nation, and it’s my hope that we can work together to solve these challenges. I’ve outlined in this column some of the critical issues we will face in the coming weeks.

The Economy and the Housing Market: The housing market is slumping as costs of living – gas prices, food, tuition for example – continue to rise. What we’ve seen from the Democrat-controlled Congress so far have been budget gimmicks, attempts to raise your taxes and plans to make government bigger and more intrusive than it already is. Congress must enact responsible reforms that will empower individuals to make the best choices for themselves. We need to create an environment in which businesses can grow, thereby creating jobs, and working families can afford their living costs while saving for the future.

Project Lifelife, an outreach program to seriously delinquent homeowners who want to remain in their homes but currently face the greatest risk of losing the house, is available through an agreement among the major home-lending companies. This is an effort to “pause” foreclosure through a single phone call. If you have received a letter from your mortgage lender indicating that you may qualify for relief, please call the number in the letter. If you would like to talk with a mortgage counselor to learn what options might be available, call the HOPE NOW Alliance at 888-995-HOPE.

Winning the Global War on Terror: Soon after Congress returns, Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker will again brief lawmakers on the progress of the troop surge, the conditions on the ground in Iraq, and the political progress that has been made by the Iraqi people over the past year. I sincerely hope that Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker will have the opportunity to present his findings in an environment completely different from their previous visit. Last fall, they were greeted by the radical anti-war group publishing a full page ad in the New York Times calling Gen. Petraeus “Gen. Betray Us” and Sen. Hillary Clinton claiming that their report of progress in Iraq required a “willing suspension of disbelief.”

Our troops continue to make remarkable progress against terrorist groups like al Qaeda that want to see our way of life destroyed. Our troops continue to believe in their mission, and they are constantly looking for ways to improve. Recently, a first-of-its kind graduation ceremony took place at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for six soldiers enrolled in the hospital’s Basic Noncommissioned Officers Course. Four of the soldiers are recovering from injuries sustained in the war; the other two are assigned to Walter Reed. The two-phase course teaches leadership traits and skill sets to enlisted soldiers who will assume responsibility for soldiers working under them. This course is grueling in its own right – imagine completing it and graduating as a wounded warrior.

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA): Until midnight on Feb. 17, our nation's intelligence officials were able to freely monitor foreign communications of suspected terrorists overseas, such as key al-Qaeda leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan, to protect our nation and our interests. But today, they cannot monitor new terrorist threats in the same way - and they will not be able to until Congress returns to them all the tools they need to gain critical new surveillance information that could save American lives.

It doesn't have to be this way. Congress returns to session this week, and every day we don’t pass the critical legislation, our nation is placed at further risk. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell explained that "our ability to gather information concerning the intentions and planning of terrorists and other foreign intelligence targets will continue to degrade" without congressional action.

Likewise, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), said recently on the Senate floor that unless Congress acts, "People have to understand around here that the quality of the intelligence that we're going to be receiving is going to be degraded.” Rockefeller is not alone. In a letter written directly to Pelosi in January, 21 of her fellow House Democrats urged her to schedule the Senate bill for a House vote because the "consequences of not passing such a measure could place our national security at undue risk."

This strong, bipartisan call for action makes the majority's decision to block passage of this much-needed legislation all the more troubling. Good information is the lifeblood of the intelligence community.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ask Boehner: Intelligence Assets, Rebate Checks

I occasionally use this column to answer questions from 8th District constituents. You may submit questions to My office is available to help constituents and you will find contact information at the end of this column.

Q: Why did you vote to uphold the veto of the Intelligence authorization bill?

During a time of war, I believe it of the utmost importance that we do not telegraph to our enemies our counterterrorism techniques. The flawed legislation that you’ve asked about would do that, and much more – it would essentially tell terrorists how to train to beat our interrogation techniques so that we cannot obtain information that would help us win the global War on Terror. President Bush and CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden have both stated repeatedly that we do not employ the use of torture against our enemies.

Earlier this month, I voted to uphold the President’s veto of the Intelligence Authorization Bill because it is bad policy. This bill shortchanged critical human intelligence assets necessary to fortify our national security and protect our troops. Instead, it bankrolled millions of dollars of wasteful spending for lawmakers’ pet projects. This misguided legislation also required our intelligence officials to take away from their work protecting us from terrorists to asses the “national security” aspects of global warming.

Let me be clear: our intelligence resources must be dedicated to our national security, not pork and political correctness.

Q: When can my husband and I expect to receive our rebate check that we’re getting under the Economic Stimulus Congress passed?

As part of the bipartisan economic growth package, citizens filing 2007 income tax returns will receive rebate checks as early as May 2, the IRS has announced. The initial round of payments should be completed by early July. Taxpayers can choose to receive these checks by either direct deposit or in the form of a paper check, depending on your preference indicated on your tax return. These stimulus payments will be sent out in the order of the last two digits of the tax filer’s Social Security number; joint filers will receive their checks based on the first Social Security number listed on the tax return.

On the IRS website ( is a “calculator” that will help taxpayers determine if they are eligible for a stimulus rebate and how much they can expect to receive. Be sure to have your 2007 tax return handy when you use the calculator as you will be asked several questions about the information contained on your filing.

The economic growth package is comprised of two simple parts: rebate checks with an overall phase-out for those with adjusted gross incomes above $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married couples plus provisions to give small businesses incentives to expand and create new jobs. Rebate checks will be determined by the income tax paid in 2007, with a maximum of $600 for a single taxpayer and $1,200 for married couples or, $300 for an individual and $600 for a married couple, provided the individual or couple earned income of at least $3,000 in 2007. Qualifying income includes wages, Social Security benefits and payments to disabled veterans or their survivors. A children’s bonus also will be included in the rebate calculation. Anyone qualifying for the base amount also receives an additional $300 per dependent child under age 17, with no cap on the number of children.

The business tax incentives are:

Bonus Depreciation: Under the new law, a taxpayer is entitled to depreciate 50 percent of the adjusted basis of certain qualified property during the year that the property is placed in service. This is similar to the special depreciation allowance that was previously available for certain property placed in service generally before Jan. 1, 2005, often referred to as “bonus depreciation.” This temporary tax cut offers significant savings on new property with a depreciation period of 20 years or less.

Small Business Expensing: In general, a qualifying taxpayer can elect to treat the cost of certain property as an expense and deduct it in the year the property is placed in service instead of depreciating it over several years. This property is frequently referred to as section 179 property. Under the new law, a qualifying business can fully expense up to $250,000 of section 179 property purchased by the taxpayer in a tax year beginning in 2008 with an overall investment limit of $800,000.

If you are an 8th District resident and have questions about either of these issues – or other issues with the federal government – please contact my office toll-free, 1-800-583-1001.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Boehner Column: Congress Responds to Soaring Gas Prices by Raising Your Family's Taxes

Gas prices have soared to unprecedented levels in recent weeks, squeezing family budgets and driving up the cost of everything from food to commuter travel. What has the Democrat-controlled Congress been doing while gas prices have soared? It’s been raising your taxes.

Congress’ failure to enact bipartisan legislation addressing America ’s growing energy crisis is proof positive that Washington is broken. Democrats took power in Congress in January 2007 promising they had a plan to lower gas prices. Today, gas prices are 43 percent higher than they were when the Democratic majority took over. And the majority’s “plan” has yet to be seen.

The pain from this broken promise is being felt across America . Our district is no exception. If you live in Eaton, your average gas price as of this writing is $3.29 per gallon. Live in Celina or West Chester ? Your average gas prices are $3.42 per gallon. (Source: OPIS Price Index, March 14, 2008)

But don’t expect Congress to help you out with the ongoing problem of rising gas prices – it’s too busy trying to enact tax hikes to give middle-class families relief from skyrocketing costs of living. Consider this: under the budget approved last week in the U.S. House of Representatives despite Republican opposition, a family of four earning $50,000 can expect to see their tax burden increase by $2,100, according to an analysis from the House Budget Committee. Right here in Ohio , the average family’s tax burden will actually increase by $2,716.

This is what else the House’s budget would do, if it becomes law:

Some 116 million taxpayers will see an average tax increase of more than $1,800 per year.

More than six million low-income individuals and couples who currently pay no taxes will no longer be exempt.

Approximately 48 million married couples will face an average tax increase of $3,000 per year.

Low-income families with one or two children will no longer be eligible for the refundable child tax credit in 2011.

Roughly 12 million single women with children will see their taxes increase by $1,100 per year.

About 18 million seniors will face tax hikes of more than $2,100 per year.

Tax bills for an estimated 27 million small-business owners will increase by more than $4,000 each.

And what will Washington bureaucrats do with this tax windfall? They’ll spend it.

The same budget calls for an astounding $82 billion in increased “discretionary” spending, and does nothing to address the runaway growth of entitlement spending that threatens both current and future generations of Americans. And since Congress refuses to temporarily halt funding for lawmakers’ pet projects – a freeze I and other House Republicans have called for – the extra tax dollars will pay for even more wasteful spending. That means Congress will continue to use your money to fund projects like the “hippie museum” for Woodstock , NY requested by Sen. Hillary Clinton, instead of letting you keep more of what you earn to help you deal with soaring gas prices and other rising costs of living.

Former President Ronald Reagan once said, “We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.” His words are as true today as they were in the 1980s.

The American people expect their leaders in Washington to work together to promote American energy independence, keep taxes low, promote economic growth, and put an end to waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government. Trying to enact tax hikes while costs of living skyrocket is not the way to accomplish that goal.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Boehner Column: Congressional Priorities: Relief for High Living Costs, Restoring Trust of the American People

Drive anywhere in the 8th District these days and you’ll notice the price of gas from Piqua down to West Chester hovering right around $3.19 a gallon. That’s a lot to pay to fill up your vehicle, and despite promises made two years ago, lawmakers now in charge in Congress are doing nothing to lower these costs.

Middle class families and small businesses are both feeling the squeeze from high energy prices and other costs of living. But a bill passed in the U.S. House recently that I voted against could actually made energy prices more expensive. This legislation does nothing to decrease our dependence on foreign energy sources because it doesn’t produce a single watt, barrel or gallon of new domestic energy. What it would do is raise taxes on producers of energy here at home, send good-paying jobs overseas increasing local energy costs. Worse yet, it actually carves out tax breaks for Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez – courtesy of your tax dollars.

This is unacceptable.

The House also voted down a Republican proposal to make permanent two key tax relief initiatives in the 2001 and 2003 tax relief laws – the expanded child credit and marriage penalty relief – that would have given struggling middle class families some relief from high costs of living. The Republican proposal would also have removed the provisions in the legislation that provides tax breaks for Chavez’s CITGO energy company and raises taxes on millions of Americans.

I was disappointed to see the House vote against tax relief for middle class American families at the same time as the largest tax increase in our history is on the horizon. Congress’ priority should be protecting our families, not enriching a foreign dictator.

While we focus on protecting our middle class families, we must also rebuild the bonds of trust between Congress and the American people. This should be among the highest priorities in Congress. Simply put, Americans have every right to expect the highest ethical standards from the men and women sent here to represent them.

The House ethics process simply doesn’t work, and that’s been true for several years now. I joined with Speaker Nancy Pelosi a year ago in appointing a bipartisan task force of respected members to recommend steps to improve ethics enforcement. As a result of their work, I’m more convinced than ever that if the ethics committee isn’t functioning properly, we should fix it — not layer on top of it a new bureaucracy that stands between members of Congress and entities such as the Department of Justice and the FBI. But that’s just what the Democratic leadership’s proposal does.

Instead of providing a new way for Congress to sweep its mess under the rug, we should focus on fixing the problems that have led to the total loss of confidence in the ethics committee: unending partisan gridlock, a lack of meaningful deadlines for action and the high level of secrecy that surrounds every aspect of the ethics committee’s investigative work.

The desire for a functioning ethics committee is shared by members on both sides of the aisle. Let me highlight three key aspects of our Republican plan:

1. Trust the Department of Justice and the FBI. The House ethics committee is a toothless body that has been paralyzed for years by partisan gridlock. It is a black hole where complaints are filed, never to be seen or heard of again. That’s why our ethics reform plan requires the House ethics committee to refer any matters not resolved within 90 days to the FBI and the Department of Justice. The American people trust the DOJ and the FBI to conduct thorough and effective investigations. Furthermore, in the past few years, the DOJ’s public integrity division has been very active in investigating allegations of public corruption, and it only makes sense to enlist their help when the ethics committee refuses to act.

2. Let in the light on ethics investigations. The House ethics committee is shadowed in secrecy, and very little information about investigations is made public. This lack of transparency has allowed the committee to hide behind a smokescreen of uncertainty. House Republicans want to bring more transparency to Congress, and the ethics process is an important place to start. Our plan requires the House ethics committee to release a monthly public report on its investigative activities. These reports will list all new allegations and any actions taken by the committee to investigate them, with appropriate safeguards that strike a balance between protecting the rights of the accused and informing the public about the progress of the investigation. This public disclosure will also keep the committee accountable and encourage it to act quickly.

3. Get the American people involved. The House ethics committee closed its door to the American people years ago by not allowing the public to submit allegations of ethical violations by members of Congress and staff. Our plan opens the door to public scrutiny by empowering the House inspector general to receive information from the public about alleged misconduct and transmit that information to the committee. Our plan will allow those who submit information to track what happened with it in the committee’s monthly reports.

Our goal is real reform of the ethics process and a system that makes it harder, not easier, for problems to be swept under the rug by Congress. Our proposal puts real teeth into congressional ethics enforcement. The American people have every right to expect the highest ethical standards from their Congress. And they have a right to expect an honest debate, and an honest choice, as we strive to restore trust between the American people and their elected leaders.