Oversight

•House Committee on Education and Labor (Oct. 16): Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate allegations of deceptive marketing practices by residential treatment programs for troubled children.
In a letter to FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras, Miller wrote that the programs are taking advantage of parents who are seeking help for their children.

The committee held an investigative hearing last week on cases of child abuse and neglect, including cases resulting in death. In his letter, Miller cited “disturbing testimony” by the Government Accountability Office that revealed several cases involving owners and operators of residential treatment programs “who claimed to have credentials in therapy or medicine that they did not have ... These disturbing and misleading practices have already put untold numbers of children at serious risk.”

•House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (Oct. 15): Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Subcommittee on Domestic Policy Chairman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) wrote separate letters to Hunt Oil Chief Executive Ray Hunt and Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker requesting information about a recent oil exploration contract Hunt Oil signed with Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government.

“By signing a contract directly with a regional government, you may have undermined U.S. national policy of working toward the passage of an oil revenue sharing plan, which the Bush administration has called a critical step towards national political reconciliation in Iraq and the return home of U.S. troops,” the letter to Hunt stated.

Waxman also wrote that concerns have been raised as to whether Hunt used nonpublic information that he attained from his position on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board to further the company’s economic interests.

•Senate Committee on Finance (Oct. 16): Ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Rep. Jim McCrery (R-La.), ranking member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson requesting a detailed analysis of the impact on taxpayers of a possible delay in the implementation of Alternative Minimum Tax relief.

“We are concerned Congress may enact AMT relief so late in the year that it will raise substantial administrative challenges for the IRS,” Grassley and McCrery wrote.