The Paper Trail: July 9, 2024

Insurers Pocket Billions from Dubious Diagnoses; Lax U.S. Marshal Oversight of Detention Facilities; Will Boeing Be Put on Contracting Time-Out; and More. 

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Applications are now open for a two-day intensive virtual Boot Camp on the art and practice of oversight and investigations hosted by POGO, the Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy, and The Lugar Center. This training is only open to staff in Congress. Apply at THIS LINK by July 22.

Top stories for July 9, 2024

Detention facilities under U.S. Marshals Service lack proper oversight: The GAO found that nearly half of the Marshals Service deputies who conducted reviews of state and local detention facilities in fiscal 2023 weren’t trained. It also found USMS doesn’t analyze data it collects on inquiries, such as complaints from individuals in custody, to gauge trends. (Sean Michael Newhouse, Government Executive)

Boeing agrees to plead guilty to felony in deal with Justice Department: While complete details of the deal weren’t included in the court filing, Boeing is likely to obtain assurances from the government that the conviction won’t hinder its government contracts, which account for nearly half of the company’s revenue. (Eileen Sullivan and Danielle Kaye, New York Times)

🔎 See Also: United Airlines Boeing flight loses wheel on takeoff, makes safe landing (The Hill)

Schumer pushing bill to strip Trump of court-granted immunity: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, invoking Congress’s powers to regulate the courts, said Democrats are working on legislation to classify Trump’s efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 election as “unofficial acts” so they do not merit immunity from criminal prosecution under the Supreme Court’s recent decision. (Alexander Bolton, The Hill)

Insurers pocketed $50 billion from Medicare for diseases no doctor treated: Private insurers involved in the Medicare Advantage program made hundreds of thousands of questionable diagnoses that triggered extra taxpayer-funded payments. (Christopher Weaver et al., Wall Street Journal)


Trump PAC paid the law firm representing indicted legal adviser Boris Epshteyn in Arizona, records show: Save America, Donald Trump’s political action committee, paid the law firm representing longtime Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn ahead of his pending criminal trial in Arizona on charges of orchestrating the fake elector scheme. (Vaughn Hillyard and Lisa Rubin, NBC News)

Oath Keepers attorney Kellye SoRelle to plead guilty in Jan. 6 case: More than 1,400 people have been federally charged in the insurrection, including more than 500 charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding police. About 1,000 have pleaded or been found guilty at trial. (Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post)

🔎 See Also: “Bob’s Burgers” actor pleads guilty to interfering with police during Capitol riot (Politico)

Dobbs Aftermath

Texas sends millions to anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers. It’s meant to help needy families, but no one knows if it works: The system in Texas that funnels millions of taxpayer dollars to anti-abortion nonprofits has few safeguards, little transparency, and is riddled with waste. Lawmakers around the country are considering programs modeled on Texas. (Cassandra Jaramillo et al., CBS News)

Inspectors General

Former Social Security watchdog abused her authority, investigation finds: The report caps five tumultuous years during which former Social Security Administration inspector general Gail Ennis’s office was rocked by plummeting morale, falling productivity, and allegations of retaliation against whistleblowers. (Lisa Rein, Washington Post)

Political Misbehavior

Trump’s camp says it has nothing to do with Project 2025 manifesto — aside from writing it: Despite significant overlap between Project 2025 personnel and staffers from former president Donald Trump’s administration and campaign, Trump claimed last week that he has “nothing to do with” the project. (Shawn Musgrave, The Intercept)

🔎 See Also: Leader of Project 2025 suggests there will be a new American Revolution (Politico)

Police Misconduct

Law enforcement agencies along the Front Range are getting a new recruit: drones: More than 1,400 law enforcement agencies across the country are using drones. For many communities, their use is a hot-button issue. (Emma VandenEinde, KUNC News)

Defense and Veterans Affairs

New Sentinel nuclear warhead program is 81% over budget. But Pentagon says it must go forward: The Northrop Grumman Sentinel warhead program is 81% over budget and is now estimated to cost nearly $141 billion, but the Pentagon is moving forward with the program, saying that given the threats from China and Russia it doesn’t have a choice. (Tara Copp,

Senators implore VA secretary keep community care access for veterans: A group of senators led by Jerry Moran claim that a panel made recommendations that are negatively impacting veterans in need of health care. (Cristina Stassis, Military Times)

Business and Finance

Home insurance rates in America are wildly distorted. Here’s why: As a warming planet delivers increasingly damaging weather, the cost of home insurance has jumped drastically. But companies are charging some people, especially in the middle of the country and parts of the southeast, far more than other homeowners with similar levels of risk. Higher premiums are being charged in states where regulators apply less scrutiny to requests for rate increases. (Christopher Flavelle, New York Times)

Judge says FTC lacks authority to issue rule banning noncompete agreements: Texas Federal Judge Ada Brown ruled the FTC lacks “substantive” rulemaking authority and postponed the agency’s rule banning the vast majority of noncompete agreements. (Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica)


The president ordered a board to probe a massive Russian cyberattack. It never did: President Biden issued an executive order in May 2021 establishing the Cyber Safety Review Board to review the SolarWinds attack, but for unknown reasons that never happened. As a result, there has been no public examination by the government of the unaddressed security issue at Microsoft that was exploited by Russian — and later, Chinese — hackers. (Craig Silverman, ProPublica)

Millions of OnlyFans paywalls make it hard to detect child sex abuse, cops say: Because each OnlyFans creator posts their content behind their own paywall, it’s difficult for law enforcement to track child sexual abuse material posted on the site. (Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica)

“We’re living in a nightmare”: Inside the health crisis of a Texas bitcoin town: There have been no major medical studies on the impacts of living near large-scale Bitcoin mines and data centers. But there is a growing body of scientific studies linking cardiovascular damage with prolonged exposure to the noise generated at these facilities. (Andrew R Chow, Time)


The Minnesota dam that partially failed is one of nearly 200 across the Upper Midwest in similarly “poor” condition: Climate change presents a growing threat to the nation’s nearly 92,000 dams, many more than 100 years old, as heavy rainfall, flooding, and other forms of extreme weather become more common and severe. (Kristoffer Tigue, Inside Climate News)


Immigration and Border Security:

The asylum backlog could double by the end of the decade without a DHS staffing surge

5,000 miles, 8 countries: The path to the U.S. through one family’s eyes

Other News:

Earmarks in House spending bills increase over last year’s versions

OPM’s backlog of pending retirement claims ticked back up in June

U.S. prepares for bird flu pandemic with $176M Moderna vaccine deal

The Supreme Court upended gun laws nationwide. Mass confusion has followed

“Forever” stamp prices are rising again. Here’s when and how much they will cost

A House contest where race, gerrymandering and the Supreme Court loom large

Upcoming Events

📌 WEBINAR: Investigating Political Nonprofits, Scam PACs and More. ProPublica. Tuesday, July 9, 12 noon - 1 p.m. EDT.

📌 Oversight of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability. Wednesday, July 10, 10:00 a.m., 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.

📌 WEBINAR: A New Era of Foreign Lobbying Transparency. Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Wednesday, July 10, 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m. EDT.

📌 Arizona and Pennsylvania’s top officials on election security, disinformation and threats to democracy. Washington Post Live. Tuesday, July 16, 1:00 p.m. EDT.

Hot Docs

🔥📃 DHS OIG: TSA Could Not Assess Impact of Federal Air Marshal Service Personnel Deployed to Support Southwest Border Security (REDACTED). OIG-24-35 (PDF)

🔥📃 DHS OIG: USCIS Faces Challenges Meeting Statutory Timelines and Reducing its Backlog of Affirmative Asylum Claims. OIG-24-36 (PDF)

🔥📃 GAO - Priority Open Recommendations: Internal Revenue Service | Department of Defense | Department of Energy

Nominations & Appointments


  • Byron B. Conway - Judge, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • Jonathan E. Hawley - Judge, United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • Ryan Y. Park - Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • Gail A. Weilheimer - Judge, United State District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania