Congressmen have asked the U.S. Treasury Department to investigate the “apparent improper activities” of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) as it relates to its tax-exempt status. In a letter to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General, the members said, “Over the past two years, this organization has conducted substantial political activities within Missouri that brought into question its tax exempt 501 (c) (3) status.” The members also said, “We believe that HSUS’s own public documents show beyond question that lobbying is a ‘substantial part’ of its activities, and feel that IRS’s failure to act is attributable to the politically sensitive nature of HSUS’s activities.” The Missouri members signing the letter were Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Sam Graves (R-MO), Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) and Billy Long (R-MO). Congressman Don Young (R-AK) also signed the letter.

Rural Dust Legislation — Congresswoman Kristi Noem (R-SD) has introduced legislation, H.R. 1633, the “Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011,” that would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing additional dust regulations in rural areas. The legislation prevents revision of the current dust standard for one year. It also provides flexibility for states and localities to regulate “nuisance dust.” According to the legislation, if there is not state or local regulation in place, the EPA must determine that the type of dust or particulate matter in question causes adverse health effects and that the benefits of further EPA regulation outweigh the costs to the local and regional communities.

Food Safety Appointee — Brian Ronholm has been named USDA deputy under secretary for food safety. Prior to joining USDA, Ronholm served as an Agriculture Appropriations Associate for Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), a member of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. He worked on food safety, nutrition and consumer protection policy for DeLauro.

Congress Returns — Congress returns after a two-week recess. Key items for the coming month are the debt ceiling, 2012 budget and fiscal year 2012 appropriations.

P. Scott Shearer
Vice President
Bockorny Group
Washington, D.C.