- - Thursday, September 8, 2011


Consumer borrowing up for 10th straight month

Americans borrowed more money in July than any other month in more than three years. But they cut back on using their credit cards.

Consumer borrowing rose nearly $12 billion in July, the Federal Reserve said Thursday. Greater demand for school and auto loans fueled the increase. A category that measures credit card use fell in July after large increases in May and June.

Total consumer borrowing increased to a seasonally adjusted annual level of $2.45 trillion. That’s barely 2 percent above the four-year low reached in September.

Borrowing is usually a sign of confidence in the economy. Consumers tend to take on more debt when they feel wealthier. But an increase in credit card use can be a sign that people have fallen on harder times.



Former inspector returns to local private sector

Former Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine has joined the international law firm Dechert LLP as a partner in the White Collar and Securities Litigation Practice in the District. Mr. Fine served as the inspector general from December 2000 until January 2011.

Mr. Fine will focus his practice on internal investigations, corporate compliance issues, corporate monitorships, government investigations, and global white collar and securities matters.

“The firm has an extremely strong pool of talented lawyers and an outstanding international reputation,” said Mr. Fine, who joined the Office of the Inspector General in January 1995, initially serving as special counsel but later moving to director of special investigations and review unit, where he served until his nomination in 2000 as inspector general.

As the inspector general, Mr. Fine supervised a staff of more than 400 employees who conducted investigations, audits and special reviews of Justice Department programs and expenditures.



Official: Obama’s law ‘expedition of discovery’

President Obama’s health care law is an “expedition,” Dr. Donald M. Berwick, head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said Thursday.

“I’ve said this in speeches before: We’re on an expedition of discovery,” Dr. Berwick said. “We didn’t have the answer at the start, so we’re in this discovery mode, and it is a little confusing. I understand that.”

He acknowledged that, for many Americans, provisions in the expansive new Affordable Care Act can be a bit befuddling. In a poll conducted in August by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 47 percent of uninsured respondents said they did not expect to be effected at all by the health care reform, either positively or negatively.

“As I go around the country and think about what people believe and know about the Affordable Care Act, I see still a challenge to help people really understand what’s in it for them, and what’s in it for them is a ton,” he said.

Dr. Berwick, whose nomination was fiercely challenged by congressional Republicans, will be one of the key early architects implementing Mr. Obama’s health care overhaul plan.


National Democrats jump into special election

NEW YORK — National Democrats are running ads hoping to prevent an embarrassing loss in a special congressional election in New York next week.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Thursday it would begin an ad campaign attacking Republican candidate Bob Turner in the 9th Congressional District. The seat was vacated in June, when Democratic Rep. Anthony D. Weiner resigned in a sexting scandal.

Democrat David Weprin was expected to win easily. But polls show a close contest ahead of Tuesday’s special election.

The committee says it’s spending about half a million dollars on the ads. They won’t run Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.


GOP plans state’s first presidential straw poll

COLUMBUS — Republicans in central Ohio say they are making plans for the bellwether state’s first presidential straw poll.

The Franklin County Republican Party event will take place Oct. 22 on the campus of Ohio State University.

Executive Committee Chairman Doug Preisse says the straw poll will give Ohio Republicans a chance to be heard in the increasingly competitive GOP presidential nominating process.

No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio, and Mr. Preisse says early primary states, the media, and voters deserve the opportunity to learn where the key swing state stands in the nomination process.

Ohio Republicans wanting to vote in the straw poll must purchase a ticket for $25.


Report: Many deported without seeing lawyer, judge

LOS ANGELES A report shows about 150,000 immigrant detainees were deported between 2003 and 2010 without having the opportunity to consult with a lawyer, and many of those detainees didn’t see a judge.

The report issued Thursday by the National Immigration Law Center and two law professors examines how the immigrants left the country under a program known as stipulated removal.

The report’s authors fear immigrant detainees aren’t being given due process under the program, which lets them leave the country quickly but bars them from returning legally. The report based on government documents says immigration agents often misinformed detainees about the program.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says the program is voluntary and that the paperwork for stipulated removal is signed by an immigration judge.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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