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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

Articles by Stephen Dinan

Attorney General Eric Holder listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2104, while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Justice Department. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Holder won’t rule out criminal charges for employees in IRS scandal

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Wednesday that the Justice Department could still bring criminal charges against IRS officials for targeting tea party groups, contradicting press reports that said investigators have already concluded no crime was committed. Published January 29, 2014

Snow falls at the White House shortly after President Barack Obama returned from the U.S. Capitol where he made his State of the Union speech in Washington, Tuesday Jan. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Obama's SOTU speech leaves environmentalists feeling cold

Despite promising to do an end-run around Congress to fight global warming in his Tuesday speech, President Obama is still taking heat from environmental activists for not going further and attacking all fossil fuels. Published January 29, 2014

** FILE ** President Obama, a former community organizer who understood the power of building collective action, decided to update the practice for the 21st century and announced the We the People project in 2011. (Associated Press)

Deport Justin Bieber: White House goes mum on 'We the People' petition site

After a feverish postelection flurry of responses in late 2012, the White House has dramatically slowed down its answers to petitions the public has filed on President Obama's We the People website, leaving the project stumbling even as it turns into a forum for international communities to settle scores. Published January 28, 2014

There were some exceptions, particularly in the Senate, where the newly minted legislative team of Sens. Dean Heller (left) and Jack Reed hooked up. The Nevada Republican and Rhode Island Democrat made waves over the last two months by partnering to try to pass an extension of federal unemployment benefits, with Mr. Heller bucking many in his own party to work with Democrats.

Fewer shows of bipartisanship for Obama’s speech

Three years after an assassination attempt on then-Rep. Gabrielle Gifford brought members of Congress together, fewer lawmakers crossed the aisle Tuesday night, leaving the chamber once again a partisan seesaw. Published January 28, 2014

**FILE** Volunteers harvest hemp at a farm in Springfield, Colo., on Oct. 5, 2013, during the first known harvest of industrial hemp in the U.S. since the 1950s. America is one of hemp's fastest-growing markets, with imports largely coming from China and Canada. Most of that is hemp seed and hemp oil, which finds its way into granola bars, soaps, lotions and even cooking oil. (Associated Press)

Christmas tree fee, hemp support find way into farm bill

Tucked inside the massive new farm bill, which House Republican leaders are speeding to the floor, is a controversial 15-cent fee the government will collect on every Christmas tree cut in or imported into the U.S. Published January 28, 2014

** FILE ** Justin Bieber appears in court via video feed, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, in Miami. Bieber was released from jail Thursday following his arrest on charges of driving under the influence, driving with an expired license and resisting arrest. Police say they stopped the 19-year-old pop star while he was drag-racing down a Miami Beach street before dawn. (AP Photo/The Miami Herald, Walter Michot, Pool)

Deport Bieber petition nears success

The White House petition to deport Justin Bieber is more than halfway to success, surging beyond 60,000 signatures Tuesday morning and putting it well on pace to reach the 100,000 needed to earn an official response. Published January 28, 2014

President Barack Obama works at his desk in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, ahead of Tuesday night's State of the Union speech. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

State of the Union: Few will tune in as Obama becomes lame duck

With the State of the Union proving ever less entrancing for viewers, the White House is desperate to turn the speech into a multiday event in an effort to bolster interest in Mr. Obama's policies, even if people don't tune in to hear his words. Published January 27, 2014

** FILE ** In this Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, file photo, job seekers sign in before meeting prospective employers during a career fair at a hotel in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Study finds little change in poor to rich mobility over past 25 years

Contrary to the hand-wringing in Washington, the rags-to-riches American dream is not impossible — and in fact has grown ever so slightly easier over the past couple of decades, according to a study last week by economists from leading universities. Published January 26, 2014

**FILE** Pro-union demonstrators crowd the Rotunda of the Michigan Capitol in Lansing to chant against right-to-work legislation on Dec. 5, 2012. (Associated Press/Detroit News)

Labor union membership ticks up

Labor union membership rose slightly in 2013, according to new government statistics released Friday that showed at least a temporary reprieve in the long-term travails for the labor movement. Published January 24, 2014

Privacy panel says NSA phone snooping violates federal laws

The federal government violated the Patriot Act by stockpiling Americans' phone records and the phone companies are violating other federal laws by turning over the information, a federal privacy watchdog said Thursday, adding more hurdles for advocates who are trying to preserve the snooping program. Published January 23, 2014

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Ken Blackwell, former Ohio secretary of state, said a new conservative super PAC that seeks to fund state secretary of state candidates is proof that conservatives have learned their lessons. "I think it's a balancing act now, sort of balancing the scales," he said.

Conservative super PAC to fund secretary of state hopefuls

With voter-ID laws and other reforms taking center stage, a conservative group said Wednesday it is launching a new super PAC to fund state secretary of state candidates willing to go toe-to-toe with Democrats and defend more rigorous voter roll rules and stiffer election requirements. Published January 22, 2014

**FILE** A man fills his gas tank Aug. 29, 2012, at a gas station in Lyndhurst, Ohio. (Associated Press)

As U.S. supply accelerates, gas prices stuck in neutral

America is in the midst of an energy boom has left the country floating in crude oil and natural gas — but consumers are seeing only modest returns at the gas pump, where analysts said the chief benefit has been stability, not cost-cutting. Published January 21, 2014