U.S. Congress

October 23, 2007

Yahoo accused of lying to Congress

A Yahoo Inc. executive has been accused of giving false testimony to Congress last year regarding the company’s role in the arrest of a Chinese journalist, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle. A House committee wants Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang and general counsel Michael Callahan to clarify at a Nov. 6 hearing the testimony Callahan gave Congress in February 2006. “Our committee has established that Yahoo provided false information to Congress in early 2006,” Rep. Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo and chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement. “We want to clarify how that happened and to hold the company to account for its actions both before and after its testimony proved untrue. And we want to examine what steps the company has taken since then to protect the privacy rights of its users in China.” Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., while not naming Callahan directly, said in a statement that a Yahoo executive, “in sworn testimony … testified that the company knew nothing ‘about the nature of the investigation’ into Shi Tao, a pro-democracy activist who is now serving 10 years on trumped-up charges. “We have now learned there is much more to the story than Yahoo let on, and a Chinese government document that Yahoo had in their possession at the time of the hearing left little doubt of the government’s intentions.”

Shi was arrested at his home after posting material about a government crackdown on media and democracy activists on an overseas Web site. Police in Beijing found him, Lantos’ committee said, after Chinese authorities asked Yahoo to provide information about his e-mail account, including his IP address, log-on history and the contents of his e-mail over several weeks. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2005.

Filed under China, Legal and Criminal Issues, U.S. Congress by

August 9, 2007

Congressman Lantos calls Yahoo “despicable” for role in Shi Tao case

Congressional investigators plan to look into whether Yahoo officials misrepresented the Internet company’s role in the arrest of a Chinese journalist sentenced to a decade in jail, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle. House Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos ordered the investigation after a human rights group released a document that it said raised questions about what Yahoo knew when it shared information with authorities about Shi Tao. Beijing officials had sought Shi for sending an e-mail about Chinese media restrictions.

“For a firm engaged in the information industry, Yahoo sure has a lot of secrecy to answer for,” said Lantos, D-Calif. “We expect to learn the truth and to hold the company to account.”

Yahoo general counsel Michael Callahan told lawmakers at a hearing last year that his company had no information about the nature of the investigation when it provided details about Shi to Chinese officials, Lantos said. But the Dui Hua Foundation has released a document that it says shows the Beijing State Security Bureau had written Yahoo saying it wanted e-mail content about Shi for an investigation into suspected “illegal provision of state secrets to foreign entities.” Lantos said that “covering up such a despicable practice when Congress seeks an explanation is a serious offense.”

Filed under China, Foreign Relations, U.S. Congress by

February 14, 2007

California Farm Bureau Federation in talks with new Congress

More than two dozen Farm Bureau leaders were in Washington D.C. last week, lobbying the new Congress on a variety of issues. The trip to Washington, D.C. is part of a continuing effort by CFBF leaders to build awareness of the issues vital to California and U.S. agriculture. “To bring a group of this size and caliber to Washington says a lot about our commitment to resolving the issues we face,” said said CFBF Vice President Paul Wenger, “We went back with a very ambitious agenda and we got through it. Most of our board members have worked the halls of Congress before. They know their way around.”

Filed under Agriculture and Food, U.S. Congress by

February 9, 2007

Bills would provide $1.2 billion to freeze victims in California

“Lawmakers announced bills to provide more than $1.2 billion in grants, low-interest loans and assistance to growers and workers affected by a recent crop freeze, last year’s heat wave and flooding. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., introduced a bill Wednesday that would speed help to communities that lost an estimated $1.2 billion last month in oranges, tangerines, avocados and other crops nipped by the cold. Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, and Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, planned to introduce a similar bill by Friday. ‘We have communities that are now experiencing, as a result of the freeze, in excess of 50, 60, 70 percent unemployment’, Costa said.”

Filed under Agriculture and Food, U.S. Congress by

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