Thursday federal headlines – May 30, 2013

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Emily Kopp discuss throughout the show each day. The Newscast is designed to give users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • Federal prosecutors are taking on more cases in Indian country following a 2010 law. The Justice Department will release a report today showing a 54-percent increase in the number of cases filed in federal court since 2009. The government has to coordinate with tribes when both the suspect and victim are American Indians. But federal cases carry stiffer penalties. The report outlines the nearly 6,000 referrals to federal prosecutors over the past two calendar years. About two-thirds led to convictions. Justice officials are also reaching out more to tribal communities and offering more training to law enforcement. (Federal News Radio)
  • President Barack Obama plans to nominate James Comey as the next FBI director. Comey was second in command at the Justice Department during the Bush administration. He gained notoriety when he opposed enhanced interrogation techniques by the FBI against terrorist suspects. After leaving government, Comey was counsel to Bridgewater Associates, a hedge fund in Connecticut. Now he is a lecturer at Columbia Law School. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) says Comey could face tough questions about his Wall Street ties. The current director, Robert Mueller, steps down Sept. 4. NPR first reported the Comey nomination. The AP confirmed it with three unnamed sources. (Federal News Radio)
  • While you enjoy a hot, sunny weekend, thousands of computer experts will be inside, hacking on their computers. But in a good way. June 1 is the National Day of Civic Hacking. Events are taking place in 95 locations. Participants will develop apps that use government data sets. The event has the backing of the White House plus several corporate partners. The Census Bureau is the latest agency to join in. Census wants hackers to use statistical data from its American Community Survey to develop apps that help with economic development or disaster planning. (Census Bureau)
  • Former Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson has landed a new job with Apple. She’ll be vice president of environmental initiatives. The San Jose Mercury News reports, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the hiring of Jackson during a technology conference. Jackson says she was impressed by how Apple has removed toxins from its products and uses renewable energy in its data centers. Just days ago Cook sparred with Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) over the company’s strategies for federal tax avoidance. (The San Jose Mercury News)
  • Former White House performance czar Shelley Metzenbaum has a new job. She will run the Volcker Alliance, a new group focused on restoring trust in the government. It was founded by the former federal reserve chairman Paul Volcker. The organization plans to work with government, industry and schools and sponsor research on government performance. Metzenbaum resigned last month as associate director for performance and personnel management at the Office of Management and Budget. (Federal News Radio)
  • The two agencies responsible for making sure every veteran has a home are releasing more money for local housing authorities. The departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development are trying to end homelessness among veterans by 2015. They say the $60 million in new grants will help 9,000 veterans find permanent homes. That’s most of the money appropriated this year for the program. In January 2012, more than 62,000 vets were without homes. (HUD)
  • The Environmental Protection Agency has reduced the number of hours of employee furloughs. In what it calls phase two, employees will face 23 hours of unpaid time off. Earlier, the agency estimated 47 hours. Phase two starts June 16 and runs for the rest of the fiscal year. The 23 hours will include two mandatory, agency-wide days off: July 5 and Aug. 30. In Phase one, EPA employees are taking 32 hours of furlough. The agency holds a town meeting this afternoon to explain the details. (Federal News Radio)
  • David Petraeus is headed to Wall Street. Investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Company has hired the former CIA director and commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Petraeus will run the new KKR Global Institute. The firm says the institute will help it focus on public policy, regulatory and technology issues that could affect its investments. Petraeus also will study new investments, especially in new locations. (Federal News Radio)