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Cutting the Cord: “Smart TV Box” Devices and Copyright Infringement

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 12:15pm
Innovative ways to view broadcast content such as scripted shows, sporting events, and recently released movies are advancing at breakneck speed. Buyers should beware, however, that not all methods for accessing entertainment content are on the up-and-up. Several devices, for instance, promise extreme “cord-cutting” and incredibly wide access to content at a relatively low, one-time …

Continue reading Cutting the Cord: “Smart TV Box” Devices and Copyright Infringement

Categories: Latest News

Committee Announces Hearing to Examine Data Security and Bug Bounty Programs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Jerry Moran (R-K.S.), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security will convene a hearing titled, “Data Security and Bug Bounty Programs: Lessons Learned from the Uber Breach and Security Researchers,” at 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018. The hearing will examine the October 2016 Uber data breach, the overall value of so-called “bug bounty” programs and other approaches to identify vulnerabilities, and the allegations of impermissible payments by Uber to conceal the security incident.  

Witnesses:

  • Mr. John Flynn, Chief Information Security Officer, Uber Technologies, Inc.
  • Mr. Marten Mickos, Chief Executive Officer, HackerOne, Inc.
  • Ms. Katie Moussouris, Chief Executive Officer, Luta Security, Inc.

*Witness list subject to change

Hearing Details:

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
2:45 p.m.


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

Thune and Nelson Statements on Passage of Safe Sport Authorization

U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), the chairman and ranking member of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which exercises jurisdiction over sports policy and federally-chartered organizations like the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), issued the following statement on the passage of S. 534, The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act.

Small Business Information Sharing: Combating Foreign Cyber Threats

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 11:00am

The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “Small Business Information Sharing: Combating Foreign Cyber Threats.”  The hearing will take place at 11:00 A.M. on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

As the Committee has learned in past hearings, some foreign backed firms have taken steps to expose small businesses’ information technology systems as a means of infiltrating America’s critical infrastructure and weakening our national security.  A key component in combating these cybersecurity vulnerabilities is strengthening the federal government’s engagement with private sector.  At the hearing, Members will discuss H.R. 4668, the Small Business Advanced Cybersecurity Enhancements Act of 2017, and examine how federal agencies are facilitating greater information sharing with small businesses that are vulnerable to foreign backed cyber attacks.

Attachments 
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List

Witnesses
Mr. Howard Marshall
Deputy Assistant Director
Cyber Division
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington, DC

Mr. Richard Driggers
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Office of Cybersecurity and Communications
National Protection and Programs Directorate
United States Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC

Growing the Future: Opportunities to Support Domestic Seafood Through Aquaculture

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will convene a hearing titled, “Growing the Future: Opportunities to Support Domestic Seafood Through Aquaculture,” at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. The hearing will examine the current state of aquaculture in the United States, future opportunities for offshore, coastal, and inland communities, and the potential impact on the economy.  

Witnesses:

  • Dr. Kelly Lucas, Director of the Marine Aquaculture Center, University of Southern Mississippi
  • Mr. Mark Luecke, Managing Director and CEO, Prairie AquaTech
  • Mr. Donald Kent, President and CEO, Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute
  • Mr. Barton Seaver, Chef and Author

*Witness list subject to change

Hearing Details:

Tuesday, January 30, 2018
10:00 a.m.

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 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

Florida has long been called the fishing capital of the world. With roughly twenty-three hundred miles of shoreline and year-round, fishing-friendly weather, Florida is the source of hundreds of millions of dollars of shrimp, snapper, grouper, spiny lobster, and stone crab on the plates of America’s restaurants and households.

Even so, there is room to grow this important sector of our economy. Although America consumes the second largest amount of seafood in the world, over ninety percent of it comes from other countries. That is a staggering percentage, Mr. Chairman. 

We need to dramatically grow our domestic seafood capacity and I think that marine aquaculture should be a part of that. 

A variety of fishermen, entrepreneurs, academics and environmental groups have started to come together to figure out how we can develop a sustainable U.S. marine aquaculture industry.

And Florida is leading the pack. Just last year, a group at the University of Miami received an almost one million dollar grant from the National Sea Grant college program to advance technology for captive spawning of different marine species.

The question is: how do we turn all of this interest into commercially viable businesses? This is where we have run into problems in the past.

Permitting marine aquaculture is not a simple matter. In any aquaculture permitting process we must ensure that consumers are able to distinguish between fish that have been raised in a pen and fish caught by commercial fishermen. We also need to protect our environment. Any type of permitting framework needs to ensure that we avoid harmful effects of waste discharge, fish disease, chemical and drug use, escapes and invasive species.  

I also want to thank our witnesses for testifying today, especially Donald Kent, President and CEO of the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute. 

We have the opportunity as a nation to develop a sector that will bring jobs and economic growth to many communities across the nation. We need to take advantage of it. I look forward to hearing our witnesses’ ideas on the best paths forward.

<p>Good morning. &nbsp;Thank you all

Good morning.  Thank you all for being here.  THyuhoday, we will hear from some remarkable leaders in the field of aquaculture.  They are working to ensure Americans have access to safe and sustainably grown seafood from right here at home.

Many of us have benefitted from aquaculture, perhaps without realizing it.  For years, lakes and rivers in my home state of South Dakota have been stocked with juvenile game fish raised in hatcheries.  The town of Spearfish houses the Fish Culture Hall of Fame, which documents the history and the importance of this type of aquaculture.  The effort it took to transport fish eggs and juvenile fish in the days before refrigeration or reliable transportation is truly impressive.

Thanks to its vast coastlines, the United States has the largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world, and yet we import 90 percent of our seafood.  Half of those imports are not wild caught and are farmed in other countries around the world where we have little control over the practices and conditions in which the seafood is grown or harvested. 

Domestic farming of seafood, done in a safe, well-monitored manner, can provide economic opportunities for all Americans, both for our coastal and inland communities.  Agricultural states like mine can play an important role in providing feed for fish farms, and everyone benefits from having increased domestic seafood production. 

Currently, however, those seeking to expand the domestic farming of seafood often face a confusing regulatory maze.  Permits for an aquaculture farm may be required from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Coast Guard, the Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration.  This overlapping web of federal jurisdiction and lengthy, sometimes unending permitting process can take ten years or more – scaring many investors away.  Too often, this results in entrepreneurs taking their skills, talents, and ideas overseas to a more business-friendly environment.

The United States is a global leader in how to manage wild caught fisheries, but we regularly send our expertise, our innovation, and our dollars overseas when it comes to aquaculture.  Rather than buying seafood from a global market that has seen repeated instances of labor and environmental violations, we should do a better job at home.  It’s time we straighten our byzantine permitting regime and start growing some more fish.

Out witnesses today, are working to promote aquaculture in the United States and will share with us some of their ideas to reduce the barriers to aquaculture and support innovative strategies for food security.

I’m pleased to welcome a fellow South Dakotan who is bringing South Dakota soy into the fish farming market in a big way.  Mr. Mark Luecke (LOO-KEE) is the CEO of Prairie AquaTech, a technology company that has developed and patented a high-protein fish feed from soy meal.  Prairie AquaTech is based in Brookings, South Dakota, and due to high demand in their product, they will be breaking ground on a new commercial facility this spring that will process 30,000 tons of feed per year.

As a scientist and the Director of the Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center at the University of Southern Mississippi, Dr. Kelly Lucas will testify about her work overseeing a $25 million aquaculture facility, which employs cutting-edge technology, peer-reviewed research, and hands-on testing to grow fish in an environmentally responsible and economically feasible manner.  

Mr. Barton Seaver (SEE-ver) began his career as a celebrity chef here in Washington, D.C., where he realized the key role aquaculture plays as a sustainable food resource and the importance of seafood in a healthy diet.  He is the author of seven highly regarded books and is an internationally recognized speaker on the topic of sustainable seafood and aquaculture.

Testifying with firsthand experience in aquaculture is Mr. Don Kent, who has spent many years working to get a commercial-scale fish farm up and running off the coast of Southern California. 

Aquaculture is the fastest growing food industry in the world.  If encouraged in the United States, it has the potential to create jobs and boost the economy, from states like South Dakota, to the coasts.  As Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has stated, “this country, with its abundant coastline, should not have to import billions of pounds of seafood each year.”  Let’s harness this opportunity and become the world leader in safe and sustainable domestic seafood production.

I will now turn to Ranking Member Nelson for his opening statement.  

One Year Later: The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act

.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will convene a hearing titled, “One Year Later: The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. The hearing will examine the implementation of science and technology policy and program updates enacted under the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, and will specifically evaluate progress made by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to implement the act.  

Witnesses:

  • Dr. France Córdova, Director, National Science Foundation
  • Dr. Walter Copan, Undersecretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology, Department of Commerce; Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology

*Witness list subject to change

Hearing Details:

Tuesday, January 30, 2018
2:30 p.m.

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 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

As we are well aware, the economy, public health and national security all depend on advancements in science as the fuel for innovation. The U.S. has led the world for a century in development of new technologies and scientific achievement. 

From satellite communications to cutting edge fields like gene editing, the advancement of science has depended on a healthy investment in research by the federal government. 

But recently, we’ve been losing ground to overseas competitors. The National Science Board just released their report on the state of the U.S. science enterprise, and their findings are chilling. 

China is now the second largest investor in R&D – a key driver of global competitiveness. And China’s R&D investment continues to grow at a much higher pace than any other nation. At this rate, China may soon eclipse the U.S., and we will lose the competitive advantage that has made us the most powerful economy in the world. 

These findings echo what we have heard time and again from the National Academies of Science and industry leaders like Norm Augustine, who first sounded the alarm 10 years ago. 

Yet, in stark contrast to the administration’s rhetoric about American greatness, their proposed FY 2018 budget slashed National Science Foundation spending by eleven percent and NIST by twenty-three percent. By contrast, the version of the American Innovation and Competiveness Act that this committee reported unanimously recommended a four percent increase for these agencies. 

Part of the problem is that the president has yet to name a science advisor. That means that when decisions like the budget or leaving the Paris climate accords are under consideration, there is no science voice for in the room. 

Just as troubling are the many reports of interference in science by this administration. Nearly a year ago, I introduced legislation to ensure that science was protected from political interference. 

Unfortunately, it looks like my fears were not unfounded. Columbia Law School has documented over 100 cases of censorship and other meddling in science over the last year. At the EPA, a political appointee is now reviewing grant solicitations. Some scientists have been told that they cannot talk about their research and others have been moved out of science jobs. This is unacceptable. And given the stakes, we cannot abide such interference and suppression.  

Luckily, at the NSF and NIST, we have highly qualified leadership. Dr. Cordova and Dr. Copan, you are at the front lines of protecting scientists and their research from politics and I urge you to remain vigilant. 

The bottom line is science should be a nonpartisan issue. So, I look forward to hearing from our witnesses about what’s happened since the passage of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act and how else this committee can improve the federal science enterprise. 

Thank you, Senator Gardner. I want to recognize your leadership, as well as Chairman Thune’s and Senator Peters’, in passing into law the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act just one year ago. 

I was proud to cosponsor this legislation that resulted from a true consensus-building effort. 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Safeguarding Small Business Cybersecurity

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON—Today, Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) and the Committee on Small Business heard testimony from Howard Marshall, Deputy Assistant Director of the Cyber Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Richard Driggers, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, National Protection and Programs Directorate, at the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), on the federal government’s role in providing support to America’s 29 million small businesses at risk of foreign cyberattack.  

“In today’s global economy, small business are increasingly turning to foreign technology to remain competitive in the world marketplace, “said Chairman Chabot. “However, these same products and services also provide new opportunities for foreign cyber criminals to infiltrate small business information technology systems, allowing them access to sensitive and valuable information.”

Combating Foreign Cyber Threats

There is strong bipartisan support from both chambers of Congress and the President to protect and strengthen American cyberinfrastructure from foreign attacks. Chairman Chabot has made it a top priority of the Committee during his term as Chairman, and recently introduced H.R. 4668, the Small Business Advanced Cybersecurity Enhancements Act of 2017, to increase the defensive measures available for small businesses undergoing or concerned about a cyber attack.

“Mr. Marshall, how do you determine whether a cyberattack on a small business warrants FBI intervention? Is there a monetary loss threshold? Or is there some other indicator to assess an appropriate level of response, and/or dedication of resources from the FBI?” questioned Chairman Chabot.  

“There is no hard and fast rule, Mr. Chairman. Generally there are a number of variables we’ll look at. It depends on the field office that has jurisdiction over the particular attack,” said FBI Deputy Assistant Director Howard Marshall. “We continue to see an increase in the scale and scope of reporting on malicious cyber activity that can be measured by the amount of corporate data stolen or deleted, personally identifiable information compromised, or remediation costs incurred by U.S. victims. In light of these and other cyber threats to U.S. businesses, the FBI has made private sector engagement a key component of our strategy for combatting cyber threats.”

“The Federal Government and its contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers at all tiers of the supply chain are under constant attack…In some cases, advanced threat actors target small businesses deep in the government’s supply chain to gain a foothold and then pivot to sensitive information and intellectual property,” said DHS Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard Driggers. “Over the last several years, many federal contractors have significantly improved their cybersecurity posture, making it more difficult for threat actors to launch successful attacks on their enterprises. However, this has caused increased targeting of small businesses connected to the federal supply chain that may not have the resources or awareness to adequately address such threats.”

Based on revelations from today’s hearing, the Chairman stated that the Committee will hold further hearings and investigations on companies owned by foreign governments that may be using their products for nefarious reasons. 

Click here to watch full hearing video, and here to read full witness testimony

Opening Statement by Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) | Hearing on Evidence-Based Policymaking

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 12:00am

Good morning, and welcome to this morning’s hearing on evidence-based policymaking. As a part of this discussion, we will hear about the importance of education research and student privacy protection.

There is nothing new about the federal government’s use of data to better understand its citizens and how government programs serve them. In fact, even as the U.S. Constitution was being debated and ratified, there were calls for a national census in order for the new government to have an understanding of the population of the new republic.

While the federal government has changed the way it collects and uses data since its founding, data remains a major resource to drive informed policymaking decisions.

Both Republicans and Democrats agree that use of good research and evidence allows us to make good policy.

When policymakers can see the methods and results, then we have a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t work for policymaking decisions in the future.

More importantly, when policymakers can point to data and evidence behind their decisions, there is an added layer of accountability to policy.

We need to know what works for students who need a high-quality education, and for workers who are seeking the skills they need to succeed.

Today’s hearing will specifically focus on the need for research in the  education field to promote good evidence-based decision making, while also exploring how that is done while protecting student privacy.

In 2017, the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking released its report on how to improve the federal government’s use of evidence for a more effective government.

Within that report, the Commission called for improvements to secure access to private and confidential data, while also modernizing privacy protection for evidence-building research.

Education research can be a powerful tool to help our students, but that information should not come at the cost of a student’s private and personal information.

Currently, two primary laws govern use of education research and student data privacy protections. The Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA), in addition to other things, authorizes the Department of Education’s research arm. The second is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) that protects student privacy by establishing parents’ and students’ rights to access their student records and limits who else can see those records. The changing nature of data use and technology for educational purposes, the use of evidence and research in policymaking, and the public’s consistent call for privacy protections over student data are why we are here today.  We need to have a discussion on what’s working, what could be improved, and the issues faced by students, families, educators, and researchers. While this is not a hearing about those bills, I believe what we learn today will help us as we look to update and modernize them.

We have gathered a diverse group of witnesses who will give us their perspectives on how education research is used to drive evidence-based policymaking.

I look forward to the discussion today, and hope this committee continues to be a leader in its use of evidence-based policymaking.

To read the PDF version, click here.

# # #

Senate Report Finds "Basic Economy" Airfares Could Cost Consumers More

WASHINGTON - A report released today by U.S. Sen Bill Nelson (D-FL) found that in recent years the three largest U.S. airlines – American, Delta and United – have all begun offering so-called “basic economy fares” that lead consumers into believing they are getting the cheapest fare available – but, according to the report, these fares may end up costing consumers more.  

That’s because the new basic economy fares come with a variety of restrictions, including preventing consumers from cancelling or changing their ticket, getting a seat assignment or bringing carry-on luggage on board.  While the airlines have presented these new fares as a lower-cost alternative to their customers, the report found that they aren’t actually any cheaper than the fares these same airlines used to charge passengers without all the restrictions. In other words, consumers are now being forced to pay the same price for a stripped-down product – or pay more to receive basic benefits that were previously included for the same price.

“While these basic economy fares may seem to the average traveler to be a good deal, in reality they may end up costing you more,"  said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee which oversees the airline industry.  "The  airlines need to play it straight and let consumers know upfront what they’re really getting.”

To view the report, click here.

To watch an NBC Nightly News segment on the report, click here.

 

California Municipalities’ Climate-Change Litigation Against Energy Companies Takes a Surprising New Turn

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 11:14am
Guest Commentary By Andrew R. Varcoe, Boyden Gray & Associates, PLLC* In recent years, some environmentalists and their political allies have pursued aggressive lawsuits and investigations as part of an effort to change public policy on climate change. These activities include civil lawsuits that some California municipalities brought last year, seeking compensation from energy companies …

Continue reading California Municipalities’ Climate-Change Litigation Against Energy Companies Takes a Surprising New Turn

Categories: Latest News

Committee Announces Hearing to Examine the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will convene a hearing titled, “One Year Later: The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. The hearing will examine the implementation of science and technology policy and program updates enacted under the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, and will specifically evaluate progress made by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to implement the act.  

Witnesses:

  • Dr. France Córdova, Director, National Science Foundation
  • Dr. Walter Copan, Undersecretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology, Department of Commerce; Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology

*Witness list subject to change

Hearing Details:

Tuesday, January 30, 2018
2:30 p.m.

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

Sens. Moran, Blumenthal Demand Answers from USA Gymnastics, US Olympic Committee & Michigan State University Regarding Systemic Failures to Protect Athletes from Sexual Abuse

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) – Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security with jurisdiction over the health and safety of USA Gymnastics, US Olympic and NCAA athletes – today sent letters to USA Gymnastics (USAG), U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and Michigan State University (MSU) regarding systemic failures to protect athletes from sexual abuse and the reported filing of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to silence a victim of abuse. 

“On December 20, 2017, Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney filed a lawsuit against the United States Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, and Michigan State University for the multiple organizational failures to ‘properly investigate, discipline, or remove’ sports doctor Larry Nassar after complaints of sexual abuse suffered under his care,” the senators state in the letter. “The despicable actions of the former USAG team doctor and sports medicine physician at MSU are well documented. However, recent reports and revelations from Dr. Nassar’s sentencing hearings provide ample evidence that USAG and MSU were negligent in acting on reports of Nassar’s abuse of more than 140 young women.”

“Of particular concern is the recent allegation that USAG actively sought to silence Ms. Maroney with a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that would impose a $100,000 fine if the victim were to violate its confidentiality clause by speaking out about the sexual abuse,” the senators continue. “As the Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, we are requesting additional information on these matters.”

Please see below the full letter to USAG. Additionally, click here for the letters to USOC  and MSU.

January 25, 2018

Ms. Kerry Perry
President and Chief Executive Officer
USA Gymnastics
130 E. Washington Street, Suite 700
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Dear Ms. Perry,

On December 20, 2017, Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney filed a lawsuit against the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Gymnastics (USAG), and Michigan State University (MSU) for the multiple organizational failures to “properly investigate, discipline, or remove” sports doctor Larry Nassar after complaints of sexual abuse suffered under his care.  The despicable actions of the former USAG team doctor and sports medicine physician at MSU, first brought to light in a thorough investigation by the Indianapolis Star in 2016, are well documented[1].  However, recent reports and revelations from Dr. Nassar’s sentencing hearings provide ample evidence that USAG and MSU were negligent in acting on reports of Nassar’s abuse of more than 140 young women[2].

Of particular concern is the recent allegation that USAG actively sought to silence Ms. Maroney with a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that would impose a $100,000 fine if the victim were to violate its confidentiality clause by speaking out about the sexual abuse[3].  As the Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, we are requesting additional information on these matters.

Protecting athletes remains a key priority of this Committee.  Its jurisdiction includes the Ted Stevens Act[4], which established USOC and the current National Governing Bodies (NGB) structure for individual sports.  A key aim of that legislation is to protect the health and safety of athletes.  In addition, the Committee exercises jurisdiction over amateur sports and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which itself serves as the governing body for 347 Division I member schools including MSU.

While we appreciate the efforts by USOC to establish the U.S. Center for Safe Sport, which is focused on protecting the well-being of athletes on and off the field,[5] it is obvious that additional measures need to be taken in order to prevent similarly heinous crimes from occurring in the future while ensuring appropriate reporting in the unfortunate event that they do.  Accordingly, we were pleased to see S. 534, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017, pass the Senate last year.  This legislation would alleviate any confusion or uncertainty surrounding the responsibility of NGBs and associated volunteers to report child and sexual abuse to law enforcement by making it a federal crime in failing to do so.

In light of these serious allegations, and pursuant to the Committee’s oversight responsibilities, please answer the following questions: 

  1. What reporting protocols for child and sexual abuse allegations are currently in place to ensure that all reports receive fair, timely, and thorough review by all appropriate parties, including law enforcement?
  2. Are there special accommodations to account for volunteers that are separately employed by non-NGB institutions, like MSU, in these reporting practices?
  3. In her lawsuit against USOC, USAG, and MSU, Ms. Maroney alleges that she was “coerced” into signing the NDA while under emotional duress from Dr. Nassar’s abuse. To the extent possible, please provide all details possible regarding the justification and circumstances surrounding Ms. Maroney’s NDA with USAG.
  4. Is it common practice by USOC and NGBs to utilize NDAs during investigations involving their organizations?
  5. Is your organization aware of other such settlements between NGBs and Olympic athletes?
  6. What steps are being taken to prevent these atrocities from occurring again, whether in gymnastics or any Olympic sport?
  7. In addition to answering these questions, please provide a detailed timeline of reports and ensuing action from your organization related to Dr. Nassar’s criminal sexual conduct.

Please provide the requested information as soon as possible, but by no later than Friday, February 9, 2018. If you have any questions, please contact our staff. Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,


JERRY MORAN
Chairman
Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security

# # #

 -------------------------------------

[1] Tim Evans, et al, Former USA Gymnastics Doctor Accused of Abuse, INDIANAPOLIS STAR, Sept. 12, 2016.

[2] Kim Kozlowski, What MSU Knew: 14 Were Warned of Nassar Abuse, DETROIT NEWS, Jan. 17, 2018.

[3] See, e.g. Richard Winton, David Wharton and Gus Garcia-Roberts, McKayla Maroney accuses USOC and USA Gymnastics of Covering up Sexual Abuse with Secret Settlement, LA TIMES, Dec. 21, 2017.

[4]  Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, 36 U.S.C. §§ 220501-220512, 220521-220529. 

[5] Press Release, U.S. Olympic Comm., United States Olympic Committee announces U.S. Center for Safe Sport board of directors (Jan. 21, 2016).

Advocacy Appoints Christine Myers to Serve as Region 2 Advocate

Office of Advocacy - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 11:09am

 

Advocacy Appoints Christine Myers to Serve as Region 2 Advocate

 

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

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