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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan can be reached at [email protected].

Articles by Stephen Dinan

Washoe County Sheriff's Office
This HH-1H Huey helicopter, the jewel of the Regional Aviation Enforcement Unit in Washoe County, Nev., failed to act during the Pinehaven wildfire last week because of a tangle of federal rules.

Federal obstacles hamper battle on wildfires

The fire didn't care what kind of federal land it was burning, but for sheriff's deputies hovering over a blaze in northwestern Nevada last week, it made all the difference: If it was Bureau of Land Management property, they could legally drop the water they were carrying, but if it was Forest Service land, they were out of luck. Published July 12, 2012

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, says GAO's letter proves the Obama administration is trying an illegal workaround. (Associated Press)

Bonuses for Medicare stretch law, GAO says

Congress' nonpartisan investigators said Wednesday that President Obama is stretching the law to give bonuses to mediocre private Medicare plans - an $8 billion program the auditors already had urged the administration to cancel. Published July 11, 2012

Both parties set to vote on plans for tax-cut extensions

Republicans and Democrats in the Senate both say they're eager to vote on President Obama's plan to extend tax cuts for most Americans and raise rates on the wealthy - but they can't seem to agree on how or when to hold the vote. Published July 11, 2012

**FILE** President Obama pauses July 4, 2012, during a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members at the White House. (Associated Press)

Auditors: Obama administration is bending health law

Congress's non-partisan investigators said Wednesday President Obama is stretching the law to give bonuses to mediocre private Medicare plans — an $8 billion program the auditors had already urged the administration to cancel. Published July 11, 2012

"They wanted to see how certain pieces of court decisions came out. ... I can tell you that resolving the issue in Cook County is very important for me," said John Morton, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement director. (Associated Press)

Sanctuary cities may be facing legal action

After eviscerating most of Arizona's strict immigration law in court last month, the Obama administration is now considering going after the other side by suing sanctuary cities to force them to cooperate with federal deportation efforts, an agency chief told Congress on Monday. Published July 10, 2012

** FILE ** Trays of printed Social Security checks wait to be mailed from the U.S. Treasury's Financial Management Services facility in Philadelphia in 2005. (Associated Press)

Social Security's master list littered with dead people

More than a million dead people are still listed as being alive on Social Security's master list, according to an inspector general's audit released this week that found the agency still recorded hundreds of people as having earned wages — even after they'd been dead for more than a year. Published July 10, 2012

The Capitol building in Washington, D.C. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

CBO: The wealthy pay 70 percent of taxes

Wealthy Americans earn about 50 percent of all income but pay nearly 70 percent of the federal tax burden, according to the latest analysis Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office — though the agency said the very richest have seen their share of taxes fall the last few years. Published July 10, 2012

**FILE** An illegal immigrant from El Salvador is searched June 26, 2012, on the tarmac at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Ariz., as the sun rises prior to boarding an MD-80 aircraft for a repatriation flight of 80 immigrants to their home country. (Associated Press)

Majority backs Arizona on immigration crackdown law

In the wake of the Supreme Court decision to uphold Arizona's law allowing police to check the immigration status of those they detain, an overwhelming majority of Americans say they want to see their own states enact the same kinds of laws. Published July 10, 2012

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. (Associated Press)

In poll, voters concur with Roberts on 'tax'

Voters tend to agree with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.: The individual mandate at the heart of President Obama's health care law is, in fact, a tax. Published July 9, 2012

President Obama speaks before signing the Surface Transportation Bill during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Friday, July 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama loses ground to Romney in key measures of poll

Mitt Romney continues to hold a whisker-thin 1-percentage-point lead over President Obama in a head-to-head election match-up, but the former Massachusetts governor is eating into the president's air of inevitability, according to the latest The Washington Times/JZ Analytics poll released Monday night. Published July 9, 2012

** FILE ** This June 11, 2012, file photo shows Rep. Thaddeus G. McCotter, Michigan Republican. (Associated Press)

Michigan Republican McCotter quits Congress

Rep. Thad McCotter, one of Congress's quirkiest members, resigned his seat Friday evening, closing out a dismal chapter that had seen him go from one-time, long-shot presidential hopeful to lame-duck congressman who couldn't even file enough valid signatures to run for re-election. Published July 6, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks July 6, 2012, at Bradley's Hardware in Wolfeboro, N.H., about job numbers. (Associated Press)

Romney: Jobs figures underscore Obama failure

GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said Friday that the latest jobs numbers released Friday, showing anemic job growth and an unemployment rate unchanged at 8.2 percent, are the latest proof that President Obama's economic plans have failed the country. Published July 6, 2012

White House spokesman Jay Carney pauses June 27, 2012, during his daily news briefing at the White House. (Associated Press)

Health care law 'here to stay,' president insists

President Obama defiantly insisted Thursday that his health care law is "here to stay" — and so, apparently, is the controversy over whether the massive plan is enforced by a penalty or a tax. Published July 5, 2012

"This is clearly a penalty that affects less than 1 percent of the American population. And it is a penalty you only pay as a matter of choice," said White House press secretary Jay Carney. (Associated Press)

Health care law 'here to stay,' president insists

President Obama defiantly insisted Thursday that his health care law is "here to stay" — and so, apparently, is the controversy over whether the massive plan is enforced by a penalty or a tax. Published July 5, 2012

A combine cuts a path through the wheat field Saturday on a farm in Westfield, Vt. (Associated Press)

Farm payments hit as report lays out abuse

The federal government paid out $10 billion in direct farm payments over the past decade to farmers who in a given year didn't grow the crop they were being paid to grow, according to a government audit released Tuesday. Published July 3, 2012

President Obama responds on Friday, June 15, 2012, during a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House when he is interrupted while announcing that his administration will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives. (Associated Press)

Obama's halt on deportations already under way

Federal immigration authorities have begun granting tentative legal status to illegal immigrants under President Obama's deportation halt — and in some cases are even ignoring the administration's eligibility rules to stop deportations for those who shouldn't qualify, according to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Published July 2, 2012

**FILE** Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks June 19, 2012, in Holland, Mich. (Associated Press)

Romney goes against GOP on 'tax' label

In the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling last week, Republicans on Capitol Hill spent four days laying out an attack on President Obama's health care law as a massive tax increase. Published July 2, 2012

** FILE ** Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, reads from a book on June 20, 2012, at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill, quoting the president's right to assert executive privilege after learning that President Obama has done so in the "Fast and Furious" gun-tracking case, refusing to turn over related documents to Congress. The committee proceeded with its markup to vote on whether to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt for his failure to produce those documents. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Issa's secret gunwalking wiretaps revealed in Congressional Record

Rep. Darrell Issa managed to push the details of a secret wiretap application from the botched "Fast and Furious" gunwalking operation into the public domain this week when he entered summaries into the Congressional Record, apparently using Congress' protection under the speech and debate clause to get around legal boundaries. Published June 29, 2012

Holder

House could arrest Holder with inherent contempt power

Despite voting to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt of Congress, there's little House Republicans can do in the short term to compel him to turn over documents — unless it wanted to revisit a long-dormant power and arrest him. Published June 28, 2012

** FILE ** Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr. (AP Photo)

Roberts strikes balance with 'tax' interpretation

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. ignored President Obama's words and thereby found a way to uphold the president's health care law in Thursday's Supreme Court ruling. Published June 28, 2012