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IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman said Tuesday that people who are hiding assets overseas can avoid prison and pay reduced fines if they turn themselves in and pay back taxes by Aug. 31. The offer is similar to one the IRS made in 2009 that netted 15,000 tax evaders.

Mr. Shulman said the new offer won’t be as generous because he doesn’t want to reward tax cheats who waited two years to come forward.

The IRS has long had a policy that certain tax evaders can avoid prison as long as they come forward before they are contacted by the agency. But without the program, penalties can sometimes far exceed the value of hidden accounts.


Court battle brewing over Twitter records

Three people associated with the website WikiLeaks are asking a federal judge not to force the social networking site Twitter to turn over data about whom they communicate with online.

The dispute cuts to the core of the question of whether WikiLeaks allies are part of a criminal conspiracy or a political discussion. It also challenges the Obama administration’s argument that it can demand to see computer data and read months’ worth of private messages, even if they have nothing to do with WikiLeaks.

The information would allow the government to map out their entire audience and figure out where each person was when he logged on to Twitter, attorneys said, amounting to an intrusion on the First Amendment guarantee of free speech.

The U.S. is investigating whether WikiLeaks should be held responsible for leaking vast troves of classified security and diplomatic information, even though it was not the original leaker.


GOP lawmaker credits Hooters

NASHVILLE | A newly elected Tennessee legislator writes in the current issue of Hooters Magazine that her experience working in the restaurants known for waitresses’ skimpy outfits led to her later success in business and politics.

Republican state Rep. Julia Hurley, 29, was elected in November after defeating incumbent Democrat Dennis Ferguson in a mostly conservative district west of Knoxville.

Miss Hurley writes that her experience at Hooters helped prepare her for a run for public office even when opponents tried to make a campaign issue last summer about her past employment and photos from her modeling career.

“I have taken quite a bit of flack from the public at large during my run for state House in Tennessee for being a Hooters Girl,” she said. “But I know that without that time in my life I would not be as strong-willed and eager to become successful.”

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