• SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE: (10/1/08) — Ranking member Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenators push mandatory sexual harassment training for members, staff Senate panel to hold hearing on bump stocks, background checks Senate panel to hold hearing on bump stocks MORE (R-Iowa) praised the IRS for increasing its scrutiny of tax-exempt colleges and universities. Grassley has long sought to hold nonprofit organizations such as schools and hospitals to account for meeting the obligations that come with tax-exempt status. “This questionnaire is overdue. Colleges and universities should be much more transparent about their activities, just as tax-exempt hospitals are being asked to do,” Grassley said.

— Following up on a July Telecommunications and the Internet subcommittee hearing, full committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) sent letters to the senior in-house lobbyists at AT&T, Verizon and Qwest Communications requesting additional information on a variety of issues, including Federal Communications Commission oversight, voice-over-Internet-protocol telephony, fiber optics deployment and telephone number portability.

• HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: (9/29/08) — Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), with Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), who chairs the Commercial and Administrative Law subcommittee, demanded a special counsel be assigned to investigate allegations of political interference in the firing of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006. Reacting to a report issued by the Justice Department’s inspector general and Office of Professional Responsibility, Conyers and Sanchez call for further investigation. “We assume that Attorney General [Michael] Mukasey will heed the report’s call for further investigation, including determining whether criminal offenses were committed, and urge him to appoint a special counsel from outside the Justice Department to work with the Inspector General so the investigation will have the credibility and independence that it needs,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement.

• SENATE AGRICULTURE, NUTRITION AND FORESTRY COMMITTEE: (9/25/08) — Chairman Tom HarkinTom HarkinThe Hill's 12:30 Report Distance education: Tumultuous today and yesterday Grassley challenger no stranger to defying odds MORE (D-Iowa) and 29 colleagues wrote Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer recommending that his department strengthen an interim regulation, which took effect Tuesday, requiring meat to carry country-of-origin labeling. “Producers and consumers have waited long enough and deserve a common sense rule that accomplishes the goal of letting them know where their food products come from,” the letter says.