May 9, 2014

Dear Neighbors,

Here is an update on some items I am working on in Congress. From Benghazi to the IRS and Russia’s invasion into Crimea, here’s the latest:



Last week, Speaker of the House, John Boehner, announced that a special committee to further investigate Benghazi will be created. This came after newly discovered emails from top White House officials explicitly illustrated the Administration's plan to carefully control the message in the days after the Benghazi attack-whether or not it was the truth. The talking points crafted a story that the Benghazi attack was the result of a protest stemming from an obscure Youtube video rather than administration error. We now know that was not the truth. Administration officials did not want to project weakness in the war on terror with the Presidential election just weeks away. Since then, this Administration has withheld the facts from Congress at every turn.  The questions is WHY?

There has been no accountability in this Administration, often blaming lower level operatives. This stonewalling of getting all the evidence to the American public has gone on for too long. I applaud Speaker Boehner’s decision to create a Special Committee to investigate Benghazi. Finally, we are taking the necessary steps to figure out exactly what happened on September 11, 2012, bringing justice to the victims’ families, holding the killers accountable and providing answers for the American people.


IRS’s Unlawful Targeting

On the House floor this week, the House voted in support of 2 measures that will help bring accountability to IRS’s unlawful targeting of conservative and other organizations: 

(1) The House voted to hold Lois Lerner, a former IRS official, in contempt of Congress after she repeatedly refused to answer questions regarding the IRS’s targeting of conservative and other organizations.

(2) The House voted to call upon Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS’s actions. 

In 2012, several groups from Houston contacted me, letting me know they received invasive and expansive requests from the IRS. To initiate investigations, I brought their allegations to three Congressional Committees. We later learned that their allegations were proven true after the IRS admitted to its unlawful actions. There is yet another example of this Administration blaming lower level operatives and no one being held accountable. These two bills will help move the investigations forward. Private citizens should never be punished for questioning the government; this is America, not a third world dictatorship.



Two weeks ago, I traveled to Ukraine. It was a sobering experience as I saw firsthand the situation on the ground. Our country must do more to let our friends in the Ukraine know that we support them and want to help protect their democratic freedoms. I met with Ukrainian officials and presidential candidates to discuss the unrest in the region, Russia's propaganda campaign and the citizens' fears their safety.


 CTP w/ Ukraine Interim president

Congressman Poe with Ukraine's interim President, Oleksandr Turchynov.




Ukrainian armored vehicle in front of the Kiev Airport entrance.


Putin is on a mission to restore the former Soviet Union. He is even called parts of Ukraine the "New Russia." The U.S. must ratchet up its sanctions against Russia to hurt it economically while expediting U.S. natural gas exports to Ukraine and other former Soviet territories. I have introduced legislation to do just that. The Fight Russian Energy Exploitation (FREE) Act would require the Department of Energy to expedite and approve any permits for natural gas exports to Ukraine, all former Soviet nations and all members of the European Union. I also introduced the Russia Visa Sanctions Act, which would withhold all visas —both official and tourist— for all Russian government officials until the Secretary of State certifies that all Russian military activity has ceased in Ukraine. If there is one thing we know for sure about Putin, it's that he only responds to strength. The U.S. must project strength and leadership through economic sanctions and energy exports to combat Putin's aggressive imperialist behavior.



Standing in the Maidan Square in Kiev where Ukrainians fought, successfully removing the corrupt president. 


What do you think? Email me here to share your thoughts.


Ted Poe
Member of Congress