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It turns out conservative groups were not the only victims of increased scrutiny from the IRS. A new report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said the IRS used keywords used by nonprofit groups on both sides of the political spectrum when screening them for tax-exempt status. (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration)
Members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees will begin their conference on the 2018 defense authorization bill this week. The two committees will have to hammer out their differences between the two versions of the bill. Some of the more controversial subjects will be the creation of a Space Corps and allowing the Defense Department to buy from online marketplaces.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has issued a warning to everyone in DoD. Mattis told uniformed and civilian staff there will be no leaks. Military Times reports the admonition came last week via an internal memo. Mattis said to disclose any non-public information, classified or unclassified, would be a violation of oath. Mattis’ memo coincided with his general guidance for the new fiscal year. He reiterates three main efforts. Restoring readiness, strengthening alliances, and reforming bow DoD does business. (Military Times)
The Navy has launched a new app to help sailors with their wardrobe. The OPNAV uniform app provides information on how and when to wear the Navy Working Uniform Type III. It’s to help them with new NWU Type III rules released at the end of August, providing pictures as well, to show how to wear the different uniform items. (Navy)
The Interior Department is closing some of its Civilian Conservation Centers and the agency says budget concerns are the reason. President Franklin Roosevelt set up the CCC as part of the New Deal, designed to help young people get training and apprenticeships. One Jobs Corps facility in Illinois will close first, but Interior is considering others. (National Federation of Federal Employees)
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) wants more details from the Interior Department about its round of senior executive reassignments. Cummings asked Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for documents related to the reassignments, including Joel Clement, the whistleblower who recently resigned, citing poor leadership. (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
The travel habits of one Cabinet secretary have been cleared, while the probe of another widens. The Treasury Department inspector general has cleared Secretary Steve Mnuchin of wrongdoing in using military transports. It found Mnuchin followed procedures for White House support travel and the need for secure communications. But the EPA’s inspector general has expanded its probe into travel habits of Administrator Scott Pruitt, to include travel through Sept. 30. Forensics audits director John Trefry said his objective is greater operational efficiency. (Environmental Protection Agency)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wants to give $5 billion to the Veterans Affairs Department to fill almost 50,000 vacant positions and to continue minor construction projects at VA facilities. The American Federation of Government Employees said it prefers this bill to others, which would permanently change the Veterans Choice Program. AFGE said Congress should focus on changes it can make to improve VA, not shift more veterans-related services to the private sector. (Federal News Radio)
A push for more security for the MySocialSecurity portal. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) praised the Social Security Administration for doing more than most agencies to protect citizen data. But now he wants SSA to go even further. Wyden wrote to acting SSA Commissioner Nancy Berryhill to encourage the agency to adopt Universal Second Factor (U2F). This approach is resistant to phishing attempts because it requires the user to insert into their computer a physical USB token. Wyden said the technology is ready for agencies, given that the Vets.gov portal recently announced its plan to let citizens use U2F. (Senate Finance Committee)