Oversight

• SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE/HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE (09/10/08): — Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusClients’ Cohen ties become PR liability Green Party puts Dem seat at risk in Montana Business groups worried about Trump's China tariffs plan MORE (D-Mont.) and ranking member Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyPruitt’s new problem with the GOP: Ethanol Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Dems see midterm advantage in new ObamaCare fight Senate Judiciary urges response to sexual harassment in federal courts MORE (R-Iowa), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), and House Financial Services Committee members Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) and Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) called for oversight of pension investments in hedge funds and private equity.

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The lawmakers said that greater federal guidance could prevent risky investment of pension money. They referred to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that found increasing levels of investment by private pension plans in hedge funds and private equity funds.

“It is crucial that we take great care as pensions invest more in hedge funds and private equity,” said Baucus.

• HOUSE EDUCATION AND LABOR COMMITTEE: (8/28/08)
— Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) said his panel is opening an inquiry into allegations of financial misconduct by local union officials of the Service Employees International Union.

According to media reports, the president of SEIU’s second largest local union may have misdirected union funds to the benefit of his family members and other business associates.

“Our committee takes these reported allegations seriously and we plan to thoroughly review this matter,” he said.

• SENATE ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE: (8/26/08) — Sens. John KerryJohn Forbes KerryGOP Senate report says Obama officials gave Iran access to US financial system Democrats conflicted over how hard to hit Trump on Iran In Iraq, the US State Department has a religious blindspot MORE (D-Mass.), Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerThe ‘bang for the buck’ theory fueling Trump’s infrastructure plan Kamala Harris endorses Gavin Newsom for California governor Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response MORE (D-Calif.), Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseGAO to look into Trump's reduction of carbon social costs Overnight Energy: Pruitt used security detail to run errands | Dems want probe into Pruitt's Chick-fil-A dealings | Yellowstone superintendent says he was forced out Dems seek watchdog probe into Pruitt’s Chick-fil-A dealings MORE (D-R.I.), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) Sanders If Congress takes no action, the Social Security trust fund will become depleted in 2034 Ex-campaign manager: Sanders is still eying another presidential bid DNC chair backing plan to cut superdelegates opposed by Dem lawmakers MORE (I-Vt.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) sent a letter to Interior Department Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, urging him to withdraw the recent proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulations.

“The proposed changes are inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the ESA, contradicted by federal judicial precedent, and would reduce rather than strengthen protections for imperiled fish and wildlife,” the senators wrote.

The letter calls for a withdrawal of proposed changes that would signal the largest overhaul of the Endangered Species Act rules since 1986 and could dramatically weaken current U.S. protections for endangered plants and animals.