A Message From the Office of Congressman DeSantis

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Dear Friend–

This was not a good week for the cause of constitutionally accountable government.  Consider:

1. Government Regulation of the Internet.  The purportedly 'independent' Federal Communications Commission did President Obama's bidding and muscled through a massive power grab that will subject the internet to government regulation. It is no wonder that the 322 page regulatory morass was kept secret from the public until the members of the FCC cast their votes: regulating the internet as a public utility will trigger a 16.1% tax on broadband usage. The action of these unelected bureaucrats will harm future innovation and will reduce competition in the marketplace.  It is also an example of taxation without representation.     

Henry Scanlon from Ponte Vedra Beach dissected the FCC's power grab here - I encourage you to read it.  As Henry points out, placing the internet under the thumb of federal regulations will inevitably benefit the established companies, who have significant lobbying muscle and will be glad to be shielded from competition due to the barriers to entry that will result from copious red tape. This harms consumers and will stymie innovation. 

To say, as defenders of the FCC have suggested, that the government will not seek to expand its influence over the internet once the camel's nose is under the tent is only credible if you ignore all of human history. Government will expand its influence as time goes on, and it will wield its influence on behalf of entrenched interests who hold lobbying sway in Washington. 

2. IRS Obstruction.  Last year, millions of Americans were aghast when IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified that Lois Lerner’s emails related to the IRS targeting of conservative groups had been lost.  The emails, Koskinen explained, were stored on backup tapes that had long since been destroyed.  Not only did Koskinen represent this as a fact in congressional testimony, the Department of Justice filed pleadings in federal court averring the same.

This week, the investigators from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) testified that, in fact, the backup tapes have existed all along.  Within 10 days of IRS Commissioner Koskinen’s (clearly erroneous) revelation that the Lerner’s emails had been destroyed, TIGTA investigators simply drove to the storage facility in West Virginia, asked for the tapes and seized them.  Given the testimony of the TIGTA investigators, the IRS either knew that the tapes existed but chose to mislead the Congress or did not even make an effort to locate the backup tapes.  Whether through affirmative malfeasance or conscious neglect, the IRS has obstructed the House’s investigation into the targeting of American citizens.     

Is there any way that an American taxpayer would be able to get away with such obstruction if the IRS was the one doing the investigating?

3. Treatment of ICE Agents who follow the law.  This week, President Obama warned agents with ICE and Border Patrol that there would be “consequences” if they persist in following the laws on the books rather than disregard them in service of the President’s executive amnesty.  “If somebody is working for ICE,” the President said, “and they don’t follow the policy, there’s going to be consequences to it.”  He tried to analogize this situation to a member of the military following orders: “In the U.S. military, when you get an order, you’re expected to follow it… If they don’t, they’ve got a problem.”

While the President is correct that, as a general matter, refusal to follow orders in the military carries consequences, this is a poor analogy to his executive amnesty because, in the military, orders must be lawful in order to be binding. If a military commander ordered a soldier to commit an act that was barred under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the soldier is supposed to follow the law, not the order.  President Obama is placing ICE/Border Patrol agents in the same spot as the soldier who receives an illegal order, only the President is promising consequences if the agents refuse to deviate for their duties under the law.      

4. Ban on ammunition through executive action.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) is attempting to impose a ban, via an administrative rule, of popular rifle ammunition used by sportsmen.  ATF is arguing that, since such ammunition could theoretically be used in pistols, it must take this action to protect police officers.  However, as Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte pointed out in a letter opposing the move (which I signed), ATF has not even alleged, much less offered evidence, that anyone has fired such a round from a pistol at a police officer.  Instead, this appears to be a blatant attempt to restrict the freedoms of law-abiding sportsmen in service of an ideological agenda.  Of course, this is not being done consistent with the will of the Congress; ATF is citing – and reinterpreting – a law enacted 30 years ago to justify this power grab. 


In 2013, the Department of Homeland Security released 36,000 illegal immigrants who were convicted of criminal offenses (including homicide, sexual assault and drug trafficking). Since 2013, 1,000 of these same convicts have already been convicted of yet another crime. This recklessness endangers the public safety. On Wednesday, I convened a hearing to examine the release of convicted criminals who are illegally in our country. Watch my opening statement and my questioning of the witnesses.  

Americans have become victims of crimes - including murder - because the government has failed to repatriate criminal convicts to their home countries as provided for under the law. 

The committee heard from two witnesses who had loved ones murdered by illegal immigrants who had been convicted of serious crimes yet were released by the authorities instead of being returned to their respective home countries. The testimony was powerful. 

In his powerful statement, Mr. Jamiel Shaw told the committee about how his son, Jamiel Andre Shaw II, was murdered by a an illegal immigrant who remained eligible to stay in the United States under the President's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. The illegal immigrant who killed his son had previously been arrested for multiple violent crimes and then released. Watch Mr. Shaw's emotional testimony here. 


Many of you have contacted my office to share your concerns with the federal government's expanding role in K-12 education. I agree that Washington, DC should not be imposing mandates on states and our local schools.  

Representative Mark Walker and I offered an amendment to the Student Success Act this week that would have liberated states from burdensome and ineffective regulations, providing local communities with the flexibility to use federal education funding for programs that they believe will best increase the success of students in the classroom. 

I was incredibly disappointed that our amendment was not accepted for consideration. However, House Leadership pulled the bill from consideration on Friday. I will be sure to keep you informed of future action on the Student Success Act. 

For more frequent updates on legislation and events, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter. I look forward to hearing from you; please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, Port Orange, or St. Augustine office should you need any assistance.

Sincerely,

Congressman Ron DeSantis

Washington, D.C.
308 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Tel: (202) 225-2706
Fax: (202) 226-6299 

Port Orange
1000 City Center Circle 
Port Orange, FL 32129
Tel: (386) 756-9798
Fax: (386) 756-9903

St. Augustine
3940 Lewis Speedway 
St. Augustine, 32084
Tel: (904) 827-1101
Fax: (904) 827-1114 

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