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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan can be reached at [email protected].

Articles by Stephen Dinan

** FILE ** Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. (Associated Press)

Questions on racism, drone attacks plague Obama judicial nominees

The White House is facing another tough battle over one of its judicial nominees — only this time President Obama faces opposition from his own party, with his former Senate colleagues accusing one of his picks for a federal judgeship in Georgia of turning a blind eye to racism in a debate over the Confederate symbol on the state's former flag. Published May 13, 2014

** FILE ** This March 22, 2013, file photo shows the exterior of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

IRS is still paying billions in bogus tax credits to the poor

The IRS is still paying more than $10 billion a year in bogus payments to the poor under the Earned Income Tax Credit, the agency's auditor said in a new report released Tuesday that says about a quarter of all payments are improper. Published May 13, 2014

The refusal of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, to allow a freewheeling Senate floor debate on the energy efficiency bill resulted in a Republican filibuster that doomed the bill to defeat for the second time in less than a year. (Associated Press Photographs)

GOP filibuster blocks energy efficiency bill

Fed up with what they see as dictatorial behavior by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Republicans on Monday filibustered to block an energy efficiency bill, dooming it to defeat for a second time in less than a year and signaling just how bad relations have gotten in the upper chamber. Published May 12, 2014

** FILE ** This March 26, 2014, file photo shows House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaking during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Speaker John Boehner: 'As long as I'm here, no earmarks'

House Speaker John A. Boehner has flatly ruled out a return to earmarks on Capitol Hill, putting himself squarely in the way of a growing number of his colleagues who say they want to reopen the debate over pork-barrel spending. Published May 12, 2014

** FILE ** Illegal immigrants have been the focus of much debate. (Associated Press)

Feds released hundreds of immigrant murderers, drunk drivers, sex-crimes convicts

Immigration officials knowingly released dozens of murderers and thousands of drunken drivers back into the U.S. in 2013, according to Obama administration statistics that could undercut the president's argument that he is trying to focus on the most serious criminals in his immigration enforcement. Published May 12, 2014

A member of Charlie Company of the U.S. Marines First Division, Eighth regiment, smokes a cigarette in Fallujah, Iraq, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2004. U.S. forces punched into the center of the insurgent stronghold, overwhelming bands of guerrillas in the street with heavy barrages of fire and searching house to house in a powerful advance on the second day of a major offensive. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Luis Sinco)

Military Marlboro men are still smokin'

Bristling at what they saw as the nanny state run awry, the House Armed Services Committee voted overwhelmingly this week to ensure that American troops serving overseas still can buy tobacco from base exchanges. Published May 8, 2014

The website is shown on a laptop in Washington, Monday, March 31, 2014. Today is the deadline to sign up for private heath insurance in the online markets created by President Obama's heath care law or face a federal fines. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

Conservative group wants Obamacare declared a tax

A conservative legal group asked a federal appeals court Thursday to break new legal ground and overturn Obamacare by declaring it a tax bill that originated in the Senate — a violation of the Constitution's demand that the House have exclusive right to initiate all revenue measures. Published May 8, 2014

Witness: Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen tried to assure lawmakers that taxpayers would be treated in a fair manner. (Associated Press)

House Republicans find 10% of tea party donors audited by IRS

Despite assurances to the contrary, the IRS didn't destroy all of the donor lists scooped up in its tea party targeting — and a check of those lists reveals that the tax agency audited 10 percent of those donors, much higher than the audit rate for average Americans, House Republicans revealed Wednesday. Published May 7, 2014

**FILE** Former IRS official Lois Lerner speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 5, 2014, during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the the agency's targeting of tea party groups, where she invoked her constitutional right not to incriminate herself. (Associated Press)

House votes to find IRS's Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress

Nearly a year to the day after she revealed the IRS gave inappropriate scrutiny to some groups applying for tax-exempt status, the House voted Wednesday to declare Lois G. Lerner in contempt of Congress for blocking its investigation, sending her case to the legal system. Published May 7, 2014

House nixes NSA bulk-collection of citizens' data

The NSA's snooping program took its first major legislative hit Wednesday when the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill banning the government from bulk-collection of Americans' data. Published May 7, 2014

** FILE ** House Speaker John A. Boehner. (Associated Press)

Buckle up: Boehner gives Benghazi committee unprecedented probing powers

House Speaker John A. Boehner laid out details of his proposed Benghazi investigative committee Tuesday night, calling for a 7-5 split between Republicans and Democrats — drawing a stern response from Democrats who said that is unfair and taints the investigation from the start. Published May 7, 2014

** FILE ** Rep. Elijah Cummings, Maryland Democrat. (Associated Press)

IRS employees deny tea party bias

The IRS employees involved in improperly targeting tea party groups vehemently denied political bias played a part in their actions, and specifically defended Lois G. Lerner, according to a report released by House Democrats on Tuesday. Published May 6, 2014

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks to reporters outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 1, 2014, following her lunch with President Barack Obama. Pelosi was asked several questions about the Affordable Care Act. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Pelosi demands Benghazi panel be equally divided

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that the House's new investigative committee looking into the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attacks must be equally divided between Democrats and Republicans — an aggressive demand that could dent the investigation before it even gets rolling. Published May 6, 2014

FILE - This file June 28, 2013 file photo shows House Oversight Committee member Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. House Speaker John Boehner on Friday declared he’d schedule a vote to create a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attack, escalating a political battle that has raged since the final days of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. A senior Republican aide said Boehner was considering Gowdy to chair the select committee. The aide wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity. It’s unclear when Boehner will schedule the vote.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Boehner taps rising star to lead Benghazi investigation

Rep. Trey Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor and up-and-coming member of the House GOP, will lead the new select investigative inquiry into the Benghazi attack, Speaker John A. Boehner said Monday. Published May 5, 2014

Vice President Joe Biden addresses the Motion Picture Association of America's creativity conference at the Newseum in Washington, Friday, May 2, 2014.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Biden retreats: Illegal immigrants aren't 'citizens'

Vice President Joseph R. Biden on Monday backed away from his claim earlier this year that illegal immigrants "are already American citizens," saying that while he acknowledges they aren't actually citizens, they are still Americans. Published May 5, 2014

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaking on Capitol Hill in Washington. Boehner says he'll establish select House committee to investigate Benghazi attack.  (AP Photo, File)

House GOP probes on IRS, Benghazi bring peril for Dems

With votes looming to create a special committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks, hold former IRS official Lois G. Lerner in contempt of Congress and demand a special counsel to look into the IRS, House Republicans have created a political minefield for Democrats in tough re-election races. Published May 4, 2014