GAO to investigate Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange

By  |  April 17, 2014  |  No Comments

By Malia Zimmerman | Watchdog.org
HONOLULU – The U.S. Government Accountability Office said Wednesday it will investigate Hawaii Health Connector’s spending of its $204 million federal grant.
Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom filed a complaint March 27, asking for the investigation.
He was the only one of 76 legislators to vote against the establishment of the state Obamacare exchange.
Slom pointed out [...]

MYSTERY: The death of Alex Heitman in Tennessee was quickly ruled a suicide.

Family of TN school employee formally requests FBI investigate his death

Tennessee  |  4:00 am

By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog
NASHVILLE — The parents of an Oak Ridge School District official who reported people were stealing money from the district to buy methamphetamine have asked the FBI to investigate if he really killed himself three months later.
Tennessee Watchdog verified earlier this year that Alex Heitman, the school district’s supervisor of business [...]

Fat Law Farm, HI's largest exporter of basil to the Mainland US and Canada

Hawaii basil farm ‘deplorable,’ ‘unsafe,’ judgment says

Hawaii  |  4:00 am

The federal government, citing “deplorable” and “unsafe” conditions, has fined Hawaii’s top exporter of basil nearly a half-million dollars.


Illinois lawmakers again look to Chicago casino as revenue jackpot

Illinois  |  4:00 am

By Benjamin Yount | Illinois Watchdog
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — When you’re hungry, even a three-day-old banana and sardine sandwich looks good. And when you are as broke as Illinois, the promise of billions of dollars from a Chicago casino looks amazing.
“Macau, I believe, is the gaming capital of the world. If I’m not mistaken their revenues last [...]

PHOTO BY: The state of Mississippi

Mississippi governor signs three anti-union bills

Mississippi  |  9:27 am

Mississippi governor Phil Bryant signed three anti-union bills into law Wednesday.


Eyes off: Some lawmakers want to restrict license plate readers

Virginia  |  8:55 am

While some Virginia lawmakers plan to file legislation restricting police use of controversial automatic license plate reader technology, others are hesitating. Police use of ALPR technology is something that hits home with many Virginians and people around the country, as dozens of emails from readers indicated after Watchdog.org broke a story this week revealing how Alexandria police had captured this reporter’s license plate multiple times on camera over a six-month period.

AP file photo

Public, private money meld at Fusion TV

National  |  4:00 am

Call it Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s version of “Tango & Cash.

DELAY STINGS: After a late start to his 2014 campaign for the US House, North Dakota Democrat George Sinner has raised less than $40,000 for his campaign through March.

Late start hurts fundraising for ND House candidate George Sinner

North Dakota  |  April 16, 2014

By Rob Port | Watchdog.org North Dakota Bureau
BISMARCK, N.D. — The first 2014 fundraising numbers posted on the Federal Election Commission website show a big disparity between North Dakota’s two House candidates.
Rep. Kevin Cramer, a Republican, has the advantage of incumbency, having raised money for 2014 since he won re-election in 2012. That’s evident in the [...]

KSN clip

Watchdog report spurs Wichita police spending scrutiny

Kansas  |  10:44 am

The Wichita Police Department can’t seem to catch a break.

Only hours after Kansas Watchdog revealed yesterday the law enforcement agency’s massive spike in drug tax revenue – the spending of which Capt. Doug Nolte said the police department doesn’t track – local media pounced.

AP file photo

Republicans ‘don’t see an end’ to Medicaid standoff, fear for bond rating

Virginia  |  April 16, 2014

If leading Republicans are right, the battle over Medicaid expansion could leave Virginia wounded. GOP leaders assured reporters in a conference call on Tuesday, as Majority Whip Jackson Miller put it, House Republicans are ‘more resolute’ than ever on holding off Medicaid expansion. Since neither Republicans nor Democrats want to budge, the standoff over whether to expand Medicaid could very well pass the June 30 deadline to lock down a budget.


Living wage could cost Milwaukee County $2M more for janitorial services

Wisconsin  |  April 16, 2014

By Adam Tobias | Wisconsin Reporter
MILWAUKEE, Wis. — Milwaukee County taxpayers could see nearly $2 million in tax relief over the next three years if the county’s new union-influenced living wage wasn’t standing in the way.
Taxpayers can only realize the $1.98 million in projected savings if the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors locks in a deal [...]




Is the mainstream media being unfair to Obamacare?

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By Adam Tobias | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON, Wis. — Need a good laugh?
Check out what MSNBC host Ed Schultz had to say Monday about the mainstream media’s handling of Obamacare.
Trust me, you’ll want to sit down for this one.

Contrary to Schultz’s claims, a major Gallup survey released Monday indicates that sign-ups through the Affordable Care Act are [...]


By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – State Delegate Barbara Comstock is inflating her energy record to pump up her congressional bid.
The McLean Republican’s congressional campaign webpage declares that she “authored Virginia’s law to allow for offshore exploration of energy.”
In fact, Comstock’s “major legislation” did no such thing. Her 2010 bill, HB 900, [...]

Comstock goes overboard with offshore energy claim

 |  Texas

While taxpayers were picking up the tab for intensive, outpatient care for mentally ill patients, those patients were playing games and watching movies.

Medicare fraud: $97 million for mentally ill patients to watch movies, play games

By Josh Peterson | Watchdog.org
State public utilities regulators are calling for an easy way for consumers to compare complaints against the nation’s phone companies.
Currently, consumers can file complaints about their telecommunications service with the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, but those complaints aren’t publicly available in an online format for consumers.
On Wednesday, Chris [...]

Regulators push for public database of complaints against phone companies

 |  Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has saved almost $2 billion staving off welfare fraud, waste and abuse under Gov. Tom Corbett, said Beverly Mackereth, the secretary of the state’s Department of Public Welfare.

DPW chief: PA saves billions fighting welfare fraud

 |  Montana

By Dustin Hurst | Watchdog.org
For some, ignorance is bliss, but for Democrat Jon Tester, it’s an important campaign tactic.
Sure, the second-term senator from Montana isn’t up for re-election until 2018, but that won’t stop him from using disingenuous attacks on the wealthy to scare his constituents into sending him campaign cash.
“Today, it looks like the billionaire Koch [...]

Tester launches disingenuous attack on the Koch brothers

 |  Pennsylvania

With no debate and a nearly party-line vote, the state House passed a bill that eliminates a loophole in the law state defining the crime of stalking.

PA House approves ‘stalking’ bill

Section 7


By Scott Roberts | for Freedom Foundation
Last week, using officers dressed up like soldiers going into combat, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management sought to confiscate one Nevada ranch family’s cattle. In response, neighbors, other citizens, and state legislators from across the West stood with the Bundy family against the federal action. The situation rapidly [...]

Big Government stares down Cliven Bundy, feds flinch first

By James Poulos | Cal Watchdog
As the last blanket deadline extension arrived, late signups slowed down on Covered California, the state’s Obamacare exchange.
Difficulties brought on by the website’s inability to process a wave of applicants gave officials an opportunity to push back the original March 31 deadline. That, in turn, caused exchange administrators to require applicants to [...]

Covered California gains only modest sign-ups at deadline

By Sarah Tincher | for Maryland Reporter
ANNAPOLIS – With the Maryland gubernatorial election approaching at the end of the year, the seven major candidates are taking a stance on one of the state’s hot-button issues: taxes.
In response to a Capital News Service questionnaire, the gubernatorial hopefuls expressed their thoughts on the state’s current estate tax and [...]

MD gubernatorial candidates divided on how to handle state taxes

By Rick Brundrett | The Nerve
If you’re going to experience the court system in South Carolina, chances are it will be in either magistrate or municipal court.
That’s where you’ll go to take care of traffic tickets or if you’re charged with a crime that carries a sentence of no more than 30 days in jail. [...]

SC judicial income disclosure forms don’t disclose much

By Jeremy Bauer-Wolf | Maryland Reporter
Many minimum wage workers will be getting a raise now that a hike to Maryland’s wage has been signed into law. But while advocates are ascribing the increase as a win, there’s a bitter aftertaste for one group that was left behind.
The minimum wage will increase to $10.10 over the [...]

Tipped workers left behind in MD minimum wage hike

By Tom Gantert | Michigan Capitol Confidential
While some are pitching a storyline in Detroit of a bankrupt city in need of more revenue, the city already collects hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes that no other city can.
The state allows only Detroit to collect a “utility users’ tax” and a casino “wagering tax” that combined accounted [...]

Special deals allow Detroit to collect hundreds of millions in extra revenue

By Jami Lund | Freedom Foundation
April 3-5 was the Washington Education Associations “Representative Assembly” where the most ardent union supporters gather for a few days of union business.
On the agenda every year is an opportunity for participants to vote on position statements and action items for the union. Here are seven interesting items that passed [...]

Washington teachers union endorses ‘parent choice’

By Glynis Kazanjian | Maryland Reporter
Voters may get to skip the lines at the polls this summer by receiving and marking their ballots online, but election officials must first decide if the convenience outweighs the security risks.
The State Board of Elections will vote this month on using a new online ballot marking system, which includes [...]

MD absentee ballots moving online causes security concerns

By John Seiler | Cal Watchdog
CalWatchDog.com Editor-in-Chief Brian Calle interviews Rebecca Friedrichs. She is an Orange County schoolteacher who is fighting for her right not to be associated with the political activity the nation’s most powerful union, the National Education Association, and its state affiliate, the California Teachers’ Association. She ready to take her fight [...]

California teacher takes on teachers’ union agenda