Extra Extra : Government (federal/state/local)

Aaron Schock's ethics under scrutiny

The list of questionable practices keeps growing for Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock. In 2013, the House Ethics Committee revealed that Schock may have violated House rules by soliciting campaign contributions for a committee that supported fellow Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger. 
Recently, the Associated Press has reported that Schock has spent taxpayer and campaign funds on flights aboard private planes owned by some of his key donors. The AP has discovered at least a dozen of these flights, totaling more than $40,000. 
In addition, Schock has remodeled his office after the popular television program "Downtown Abbey" and even used funds ...

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Government hired collectors to go after debtors

Debt collection horror stories are nothing new. But there's a whole other side to the industry that no one’s talking about: collectors hired by government agencies to hunt down debtors.

CNNMoney spent months investigating this booming business and one of its biggest players, Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson. Hundreds of consumer complaints were analyzed from state attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission, among other organizations, and dozens of attorneys and other experts were interviewed.

Chemical known for lung destruction still unregulated

For nearly two decades, federal regulators tasked with overseeing worker safety in the United States have been well aware of the lung destruction tied to diacetyl. But the federal government failed to regulate exposure to the chemical. An investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found the chemical is now a problem for those working in the coffee industry and diacetyl has quietly seeped into other products, this time being inhaled straight into the lungs of a growing number of consumers as they smoke or "vape" e-cigarettes. Inhaling the chemical can quickly destroy the lungs, according to more than a dozen ...

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Quake Debate: Science questioned while state's earthquake studies go unfinished

In 2014, Oklahoma was the site of 585 earthquakes measured 3.0 or above; that's more earthquakes than in the past 35 years combined according to Tulsa World.

A significant amount of scientific studies have attributed this dramatic shift in natural disasters to the 3,200 active disposal wells, where water produced in the drilling of oil and natural gas is then injected deep into the ground.

Despite the overwhelming support in the science community of these sites as the cause of the earthquakes, state officials with the power to control the disposal wells refuse to act. Energy industry ...

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Florida's migrant laborers forced to live in squalor

An investigation by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune has found that thousands of Florida’s migrant laborers are forced to live in dormitories and mobile homes where sewage backs up into kitchens, where leaks turn to mold and broken windows expose tenants to Florida’s extreme weather and pests. The state health department regulates these facilities, but they rarely issue the strictest punishments and often let violations go uncorrected for weeks at a time. 

Snow plows hit a Chicago alderman's street - five times

Snow removal crews hit a Chicago alderman’s quiet block five times in three days, according to a report by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Teaming with the plow tracker service clearstreets.org, the Sun-Times found that crews visited the alderman’s street twice on Sunday, twice Monday and a final time Tuesday morning, clearing the street down to the pavement. Meanwhile, nearby side streets remained unattended to and covered by deep snow as late as Monday afternoon.

The area of West 51st Street is home to Ed Burke, Chicago’s longest-serving alderman, and his wife, Anne, a justice of the Illinois ...

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Oklahoma Parole Board grants few approvals

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended for parole just 30 of the 322 inmates that came before them in January, according to a report by The Oklahoman.

In recent months Gov. Mary Fallin appointed three board members – all with ties to the Oklahoma City Police Department or former Oklahoma County District Attorney Bob Macy. There are five seats on the board, although one is currently vacant.

Some defense attorneys believe the board is now stacked against inmate seeking clemency.

Unlimited permits strain Boston’s parking system

Boston is reviewing its parking policies after the Boston Globe reported that the city gives away unlimited amounts of residential parking permits for free. While most homes claim just one permit, the Globe found that more than 300 people have five or more.

One couple had 11 in a neighborhood where parking is scarce. A city worker in another dense neighborhood had five vehicles, but just one private parking space; the rest were on the street.

Officials said they would review the decades-old program to see if there are ways to alleviate the parking problems. Potential changes could include limiting ...

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California dental board cases are taking longer despite an increase in inspectors

The Dental Board of California aims to close disciplinary cases within a year and a half, but an investigation by U-T San Diego found that it actually takes the board twice as long. The delays allow for injuries and even deaths to occur.

It took the board 13 years to resolve a case involving a meth-using dentist. A review of dental board data found that it takes an average of 1,185 days to complete an investigation.

While the board has hired more investigators, delays occur when the office cannot find qualified dental experts to analyze the board's findings. 

Extra Extra Roundup: Stolen weapons, wage enforcement and prison inmates

Business tangles with wage enforcement system for decades | Rocky Mountain PBS I-NEWS

More than 30 years of public records and internal documents dealing with Bradley Petroleum, one of Colorado's oldest employers, show the company has repeatedly been investigated for violating federal and state labor law, Rocky Mountain PBS I-News has found. In particular, for a pattern of suspending employees for shortages, reporting them to the police for alleged theft, and then permanently withholding the employee's final check despite a lack of evidence of any wrongdoing


No new conviction, but sent back to prison | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

More than ...

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