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DOJ Modifies Policy on Credit for Cooperation by Corporate Employees

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 11:02am
Featured Expert Contributor, White Collar Crime & Corporate Compliance Gregory A. Brower, a Shareholder with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP in Las Vegas, NV and Washington, DC, with William E. Moschella, a Shareholder in the firm’s Washington, DC office. Following an internal review of the Department of Justice’s policy concerning individual accountability in corporate cases, …

Continue reading DOJ Modifies Policy on Credit for Cooperation by Corporate Employees

Categories: Latest News

Preparing for Maritime Transportation in a Changing Arctic

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will convene a subcommittee hearing titled “Preparing for Maritime Transportation in a Changing Arctic,” at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 6, 2018. The hearing will examine emerging transportation issues in the changing Arctic region, including increases in vessel traffic and the resulting need for updates in waterway management, infrastructure investment, and domain awareness.

 
Witnesses:

  • Mr. Willie Goodwin, Chairman, Arctic Waterways Safety Committee
  • Andrew Hartsig, Director, Arctic Program, Ocean Conservancy 
  • Ms. Kathy Metcalf, President and CEO, Chamber of Shipping of America
  • Captain Ed Page, Executive Director, Marine Exchange of Alaska

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details: 

Thursday, December 6, 2018
9:30 a.m.
Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard 

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

Commerce Committee Leaders Seek Answers on Marriott Data Breach

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, have sent a letter to Mr. Arne M. Sorenson, the president and chief executive officer of Marriott International. following news that the company had identified a cybersecurity incident impacting an estimated 500 million consumers. 

Excerpt from the letter to Marriott International:

“Of the estimated 500 million consumers impacted by the breach, approximately 327 million of those guests reportedly had a combination of customer data, including personally identifiable information exposed, including name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest account information, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, reservation date, and communication preference.  Additionally, sensitive payment information like payment card numbers and payment card expiration dates were also apparently exposed, but Marriott stated that this specific information was encrypted using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES-128), which requires two individual components to decrypt the information.  Nevertheless, Marriott has also clarified that the company has not yet ruled out that these decryption keys were also taken as a result of the breach.” 

In the letter, Sens. Thune, Wicker, and Moran question Mr. Sorenson on details related to when the breach began, what consumer information was compromised, and investigative efforts Marriott International has taken since detection.  

Read the full letter to Marriott International President/CEO here. The Commerce Committee exercises jurisdiction over consumer protection and cybersecurity.

Artificial Intelligence Will Benefit Us Immensely—If We Don’t Get in the Way

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 11:06am
Ideas are becoming more expensive. Larger teams of scientists are taking longer and spending more to discover less. A common theory for these diminishing returns compares exploring the laws of nature to exploring land. Pioneers chart the most accessible areas. Later generations must grope their way across remote and forbidding terrain to find anything new; …

Continue reading Artificial Intelligence Will Benefit Us Immensely—If We Don’t Get in the Way

Categories: Latest News

Chairman Chabot Highlights 15-Year High for Small Business Optimism

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – Today, the latest quarterly Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index was released, indicating a significant jump of optimism among small business owners and the highest score in the survey’s 15-year history.

Upon the release of this report, Chairman Chabot (R-OH) said:

“Small business owners are experiencing the positive effects of our booming economy, with indicators for a hopeful future ahead. With small business optimism reaching historic highs, our policies are not only helping small business owners, they are bringing more people into the job market. Easier access to credit means more growth and more jobs. I look forward to this momentum continuing as small business owners and entrepreneurs gear up for a new year.”

The Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index showed:

  • 80 percent of respondents regarded their financial situation as very good or somewhat good.
  • 55 percent of respondents recorded increases in revenue for their small businesses.
  • 27 percent of small business owners say over the past 12 months, the number of jobs in their company has increased.
  • 47 percent of companies found it somewhat or very easy to obtain credit.
For the full Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, click here.

Kimberly-Clark Seeks Supreme Court Review in “Flushable” Wipes Case

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 2:42pm
Guest Commentary By Lucía Roibal, an Associate with Morrison & Foerster LLP in the firm’s San Francisco, CA office. This commentary is reposted with permission, originally appearing on November 30, 2018 in the firm’s Class Dismissed  blog. On September 6, 2018, Kimberly-Clark and affiliates filed a petition for writ of certiorari in Kimberly-Clark, et al. v. …

Continue reading Kimberly-Clark Seeks Supreme Court Review in “Flushable” Wipes Case

Categories: Latest News

Update: Justices Seek Federal Government’s Views on Pending Clean Water Act Suit Petitions

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 2:17pm
In a November 20 Featured Expert Contributor post, Cert Petitions May Mean Supreme Court Will Clarify Clean Water Act Jurisdiction, Sidley Austin LLP partner Sam Boxerman and his colleague Ben Tannen discussed two related certiorari petitions pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Both petitions ask the Court to review circuit court decisions that held discharges through …

Continue reading Update: Justices Seek Federal Government’s Views on Pending Clean Water Act Suit Petitions

Categories: Latest News

Subcommittee Announces Hearing to Examine Arctic Transportation Issues

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will convene a subcommittee hearing titled “Preparing for Maritime Transportation in a Changing Arctic,” at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 6, 2018. The hearing will examine emerging transportation issues in the changing Arctic region, including increases in vessel traffic and the resulting need for updates in waterway management, infrastructure investment, and domain awareness.

Witnesses:

  • Mr. Willie Goodwin, Chairman, Arctic Waterways Safety Committee
  • Andrew Hartsig, Director, Arctic Program, Ocean Conservancy 
  • Ms. Kathy Metcalf, President and CEO, Chamber of Shipping of America
  • Captain Ed Page, Executive Director, Marine Exchange of Alaska

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details:

Thursday, December 6, 2018
9:30 a.m.
Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard 

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

In Ongoing Lawsuit Barrage, Professional Green Activists Disregard Due-Process Concerns

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 4:47pm
After the Executive Branch changed hands a little over two years ago, professional environmental activists promised a steady stream of lawsuits against both private enterprises and the federal government. Such a bold pronouncement was great for the green activists’ fundraising, as environmental non-profits bragged of 100 to 700 percent increases in donations. Those groups have …

Continue reading In Ongoing Lawsuit Barrage, Professional Green Activists Disregard Due-Process Concerns

Categories: Latest News

Thune Statement on Senate Confirmation of Karen Dunn Kelley to be Deputy Secretary of Commerce

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, issued the following statement on the Senate confirmation of Karen Dunn Kelley to be Deputy Secretary of Commerce.

“Today, the Senate voted to confirm Karen Dunn Kelley to be Deputy Secretary of Commerce, filling another important position in the administration,” said Thune. “Throughout her career, Ms. Dunn Kelley has exhibited the kind of leadership that the Department of Commerce needs to continue its promoting economic growth, job creation, and innovation. This non-controversial nominee, previously confirmed by the Senate unanimously, has been subjected to an unreasonably long delay due to partisan games by the Democrats.”

On June 27, 2018, the Commerce Committee approved Karen Dunn Kelley’s nomination to be Deputy Secretary of Commerce by voice vote.

What Did We Learn From the Supreme Court Oral Argument in Apple v. Pepper?

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 9:05am
We’ve blogged previously about the Supreme Court’s biggest antitrust case of the October Term 2018, Apple v. Pepper. The case asks the Court to decide whether iPhone users who buy apps from Apple’s App Store may sue Apple for alleged antitrust violations, or whether only third-party app developers may bring such claims. The answer turns …

Continue reading What Did We Learn From the Supreme Court Oral Argument in Apple v. Pepper?

Categories: Latest News

Commerce Leaders Applaud House Passage of Bipartisan Coast Guard Authorization

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which exercises jurisdiction over the U.S. Coast Guard, Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and the Coast Guard, and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), the sponsor of the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act included within the reauthorization, issued the following statement on tonight’s House vote passing S. 140, The Frank Lobiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018.  

“Now on its way to President Trump for his signature, this bill offers the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard support to enhance and continue search and rescue, storm response, and critical maritime interdiction missions,” said Thune. “I credit my colleagues on the committee as well as Sens. Carper, Portman, and Stabenow for their help in getting this important legislation across the finish line.”

“The brave men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard do an amazing job protecting the homeland day in and day out and often on a moment’s notice,” said Sullivan“Working closely with Chairman Thune and Senator Wicker, I was honored to have had the opportunity to lead this year’s Coast Guard Authorization, giving our Coast Guard the resources and training they need to complete the many diverse missions they are tasked with. I thank my House colleagues for swiftly moving this bipartisan bill on to the President’s desk for his signature. Semper Paratus!”

“Sending this bill to the President’s desk is a win not only for the U.S. Coast Guard, but also for our national security, economy, and environment. I am particularly pleased this bill simplifies the patchwork of regulations regarding a vessel’s ballast water discharge by adopting key provisions of my Commercial Vessel Incidental Discharge Act. I appreciate the hard work of Chairman Thune, Senator Sullivan, and so many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this bill across the finish line,” said Wicker.

Highlights of S. 140: The Frank Lobiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018:

Maritime drug and border enforcement – includes new authorities to combat illicit trafficking and smuggling and transnational criminal organizations by furthering interagency cooperation, combating concealment of bulk cash, and increasing the budget for investigations and ability to use informants.

Multiyear contracting – authorizes the Coast Guard Commandant to utilize several new acquisition tools, including multiyear funding for procuring future National Security Cutters.  These changes will allow the Coast Guard to reduce the price of follow-on vessels and give shipyards greater predictability, stabilizing workforces.

Authorization level – authorizes the U.S. Coast Guard for fiscal year 2019 at $10.6 billion.

Arctic Operations – directs the Coast Guard to conduct a review of the assets and personnel required to ensure the safety and security of the Arctic.

Recreational Boating – increases safety and clarifies requirements for recreational boating safety by implementing the installation of engine cut-off switches and alternate signaling devices.

Regulation of ballast water discharges (Vessel Incidental Discharge Act):

  • Delegates the lead role in establishing standards for discharges incidental to the normal operation of a vessel to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and assigns the Coast Guard the lead role in monitoring and enforcing standards.
  • Accommodates unique regional situations.  Pacific Coast ballast water exchanges will continue and the Great Lakes may set their own basin-wide standards.
  • Allows States to establish no-discharge zones for areas that require additional protection.

The Senate passed S. 140, as amended on November 14. Read the full text of S. 140 here.

Oversight of the Federal Trade Commission

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, will convene a subcommittee hearing titled “Oversight of the Federal Trade Commission,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 27, 2018. Consistent with the committee’s oversight responsibilities, this hearing will examine the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) priorities in promoting competition and consumer protection, the ongoing innovation hearings and how changes in technology impact the agency, and whether the FTC should have expanded authority with respect to privacy and data security.

Witnesses:

  • The Honorable Joseph J. Simons, Chairman, Federal Trade Commission
  • The Honorable Rohit Chopra, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
  • The Honorable Noah Joshua Phillips, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
  • The Honorable Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
  • The Honorable Christine S. Wilson, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details:

Tuesday, November 27, 2018
2:30 p.m.
Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security 

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing  will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

Ranking Member Bill Nelson Opening Statement

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing.  The FTC is America’s premier consumer protection agency.  The Federal Trade Commission Act, passed in 1914, serves as the bedrock of American consumer protection law.  The agency is tasked with policing and promoting competitive markets and with protecting consumers from unfair or deceptive acts or practices. 

Despite its important mission and enormous mandate, the FTC remains a relatively small agency. 

For years, I have consistently advocated that the FTC be provided more resources so that it can effectively do its job – particularly during an age when the American economy is becoming increasingly digitized and complex. 

With a little over a thousand full-time employees, the FTC can only do so much to police a nineteen-trillion-dollar economy.  It is my hope that Congress will finally step up to the plate and do the right thing by providing the FTC with increased funding and personnel to police the marketplace and protect American consumers from a myriad of scams, frauds and corporate practices that fleece them of their hard-earned money.

Let me also express my hope that the FTC continues to operate in a bipartisan, consensus manner. The commission has a long, proud history of bipartisanship. It’s a tradition from which other independent agencies should draw. Too often, agencies like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) get mired in competing, individual ideological agendas. By and large, the FTC has avoided this kind of dysfunction, which has served the American consumer well. Quite frankly, Congress can also learn from the FTC’s history of bipartisan deliberation and cooperation.

Lastly, to the FTC commissioners before us here today, thank you for your public service. It’s been a privilege and honor to have worked closely with you during my four years as ranking member of the Commerce Committee.

Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, and I look forward to hearing from the commissioners.

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