Washington, D.C. – Representative Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), and Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) today introduced Justice for Child Victims Act of 2016 (H.R. 6440) to ensure child trafficking victims are able to seek and obtain the restitution that they need and deserve.
Under current law, federal courts are required to award any child depicted in sexually explicit material restitution in “the full amount of the victim’s losses,” which can include medical services, physical or occupational therapy, and attorneys’ fees. However, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Paroline that an individual defendant who may have received, distributed, or possessed child pornography may not be held liable for a victim’s aggregate damages incurred by potentially thousands of others who have viewed her images, and that defendants may be made liable only for the harm caused by their own conduct, not the conduct of others.
Because of the nature of the crime, child pornography trafficking victims are involved in countless cases across multiple jurisdictions and time. This means that in order to obtain restitution, a victim’s request must be presented in multiple cases across the country. Since the process is so lengthy and overwhelming, only about 20 out of the thousands of child pornography trafficking victims have sought restitution.
The Justice for Child Victims Act remedies this problem by creating a compensation fund that is paid for by child pornography defendants as an alternative avenue for victims to obtain financial support for their losses. This simple, one-step alternative allows child pornography trafficking victims to quickly access financial support for their own recovery.
Representative Gowdy, Chairman Goodlatte, and Crime Subcommittee Ranking Member Jackson Lee issued the statements below on the introduction of Justice for Child Victims Act.
Rep. Gowdy: “Enforcing the rule of law and protecting human dignity through a fair justice system are among the chief responsibilities of Congress. Victims of child pornography endure severe trauma mentally, physically and emotionally. Ensuring they are able to obtain full restitution is the very least we can do to help them with the recovery process.
“The Justice for Child Victims Act will ensure child pornography trafficking victims are fully compensated for their losses as they begin to recover. I thank Chairman Goodlatte and Representative Jackson Lee for their leadership on this legislation and their steadfast commitment to a fair and equal justice system.”
Chairman Goodlatte: “The trafficking of child pornography is a serious crime and those who cause the most vulnerable among us pain and suffering deserve to be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Although no amount of money can ever take away the trauma these children have experienced, we must ensure that victims of child exploitation receive the full amount of their losses from the production and ongoing trafficking of their images.
“The Justice for Child Victims Act creates a straight-forward and easily accessible compensation fund that provides child pornography victims the financial support they need and deserve. Protecting our nation’s children is a top priority for the House Judiciary Committee and we plan to move this bill in the new Congress.”
Rep. Jackson Lee: “I’m pleased to cosponsor this important bill that will ensure the effective implementation of restitution to the victims of child pornography. We must do all we can to make sure that offenders pay restitution to their victims and that we mitigate the suffering of the victims, whose victimization continues so long as the images continue to be shown. This bipartisan bill adopts important suggestions by the Department of Justice and is based on their experience in enforcing the law. Adoption of this legislation should be a top priority in the new Congress.”
21st Century Cures Act
Millions of individuals all across the United States are impacted by life-threatening diseases. America has the best and brightest doctors in the world yet healthcare costs continue to rise and excessive government regulations threaten our ability to maintain our global status as the leader in biomedical innovation.
On Wednesday, the House passed the 21st Century Cures Act to modernize clinical trials, streamline regulations and incentivize the development of cures and treatments. This legislation will update major mental health programs for the first time in a decade, help fund the fight against opioid abuse and accelerate the development of cutting-edge cures and treatments. To learn more, click here.
House Oversight Committee Update
The United States Forestry Service (FS), which is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has recently faced scrutiny following media reports of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Many women within the FS have described a lack of accountability and a fear of retaliation in their work environment.
On Thursday, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing to examine sexual harassment and gender discrimination at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). As witnesses courageously shared heartbreaking accounts of sexual harassment, hostile work environments and discrimination, it was clear the USDA has not held employees accountable or disciplined perpetrators. No one should ever feel unsafe in his or her work environment, and perpetrators should face consequences. It is absolutely unacceptable for someone who engages in harassment or discrimination to be given the option of retiring or resigning with full benefits rather than being fired.
Watch a portion of the hearing below.
To learn more, click here.
On Friday, the House passed a Conference Report to accompany the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017. This defense bill prioritizes our national security by funding counterterrorism operations abroad and strictly prohibiting the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to United States soil. In addition, it includes the largest pay raise our troops have seen in six years. Our men and women in uniform put their lives on the line to protect our freedom, and it is critical we provide them with the best training, resources and compensation possible.Read More
Spartanburg, SC - Rep. Trey Gowdy released the following statement after FBI Director Comey sent a follow up letter to Congress regarding its investigation into Secretary Clinton's private email server -
"Today Director Comey claimed, 'we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.' Director Comey used the word 'conclusions' - plural - and one must consider the use of that word as intentional.
It would appear the investigation is back to the status quo ante, which means Director Comey believes Secretary Clinton was indeed extremely careless in her handling of classified material, yet there is insufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to prove Secretary Clinton had specific intent to violate a statute which specifically provides for the lower scienter standard of gross negligence.
I disagreed with Director Comey in July and I disagree with him today. There is sufficient evidence, both direct and circumstantial, upon which a jury could conclude an intent to violate the law. This evidence includes concealment of evidence, destruction of evidence, and false exculpatory statements - all of which fall under the general heading of consciousness of guilt."
She changed the world
Iris Ezell went to be with the Lord recently. She was a wife, mother, grandmother and friend to countless people.
She was also an elementary school teacher in Spartanburg, where I first met her more than 40 years ago in a portable classroom at Jesse Boyd Elementary School. She was a great teacher, and I was a terrible student, underwhelming in both performance and behavior.
She asked me to stay after school one day, which to me meant I was in trouble and would soon be in trouble with my parents. She pulled two chairs face-to-face, cupped my face in her hands and said: "I believe in you. You can do anything you put your mind to. But you have to try hard and you have to listen. I believe in you, Trey. Believe in yourself."
I remember it like it was yesterday. No matter what I forget later in life, I’ll always remember her substituting a word of affirmation, belief and confidence when she could have offered more discipline and punishment. There are days I cannot remember where I parked my truck, but there is never a day I cannot take you to the spot Iris Ezell talked to me after school.
To all the young people who have visited me throughout the years and expressed your desire to run for office or engage in politics because you wanted to "change the world," you’ll recall my answer has always been the same. "If you want to change the world, teach."
Iris Ezell is the reason I told you that. She offered a change that no book, campaign or piece of legislation could ever equal. She offered unwarranted belief and affirmation in a young person's life.
Rest in peace, Mrs. Ezell. You changed the world — one life at a time.
U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy
This appeared in the Letters to the Editor section in the Sunday edition of the Spartanburg Herald Journal. Read here: http://www.goupstate.com/opinion/20161030/sundays-letters-concerned-about-electionRead More
Spartanburg, SC – Congressman Trey Gowdy (SC-04) released the following statement after FBI Director Comey’s letter informing Congress the FBI is investigating new emails pertinent to its investigation into former Secretary Clinton’s email server:
"Investigations are never over until jeopardy attaches or a statute of limitations expires, neither of which have occurred in this investigation. I found both Director Comey's manner of communicating to Congress and the content of said communication to be instructive.
My objective remains as it has always been: a full, complete, independent investigation consistent with the history and reputation of the FBI and worthy of public respect and confidence.
In the end, Fiat justitia ruat caelum - May Justice be Done though the Heavens fall.”
Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016
This week, the House passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016, which included authorization for the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project. This legislation is critical to expanding business and boosting the economy both in South Carolina and nationwide. The South Carolina Port Authority is an industry leader, generating billions of dollars in economic activity and sustaining hundreds of thousands of jobs each year, especially in the Upstate where international businesses depend on the Port to move goods from South Carolina throughout the world. Our delegation worked hard on WRDA, which is vital to creating even more jobs in South Carolina.
On Wednesday evening, the House voted on a short-term continuing resolution to fund the federal government only through December 9, 2016. While funding our government is a fundamental responsibility of Congress, passing spending bills which reflect the values, priorities and constitutional parameters of those we represent is equally as fundamental. During my time in Congress, I have pushed for long term solutions that provide certainty, rein in government spending, and only fund programs that are in the country’s best interests. With a burgeoning debt, significant annual deficits despite tax increases, and interest on the debt consuming a larger portion of our revenue, it is simply past time to budget responsibly.
Although I have supported Continuing Resolutions in the past, I was not able to support this one for several reasons. Funding should be done through the normal appropriations process, not another 60-day patch to simply move us along toward this next fiscal showdown. There are a number of specific budget and appropriations issues that could have been addressed had the normal, regular appropriations process been followed. For instance, the State Department has been nothing short of obstructionist with respect to cooperation with congress. This could have been and should have been addressed. The Department of Justice should have had the scalpel applied in several areas. Waste, fraud and abuse at the IRS, EPA, and even the National Park Service could have been and should have been addressed through the normal appropriations process. Moreover, national security is the preeminent function of the federal government and the normal appropriations process is the constitutional place for the legislative branch to assert its positions on border security, the Iranian nuclear deal, Gitmo, and reforming the asylum, visa, and refugee programs.
With respect to the latter, South Carolina has witnessed firsthand the challenges presented by the refugee program - from the State Department's failure to ensure questions were adequately answered on the front end to this administration's own national security experts conceding vetting is not possible with inadequate databases. The program’s shortcomings, combined with the national security risks posed by our government’s inability to certify each admitted refugee is not a security threat, led Governor Haley, most of our congressional delegation and many local leaders to conclude the program should be halted until safeguards are in place to ensure the safety and security of our fellow citizens. While this Continuing Resolution fell short, I am committed to working with my colleagues to restore regular order in the appropriations process so the legislative branch can more fully meet the constitutional expectations of our fellow citizens and find a better solution for funding the government through the end of Fiscal Year 2017.
House Judiciary Committee Update
On Wednesday, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey testified before the House Judiciary Committee during an oversight hearing on the FBI. During the hearing, I asked Director Comey to explain what evidence he would have needed to prosecute Secretary Clinton or others for the mishandling of classified information. As I have said countless times before, this is not about any one individual or even about a single investigation. This is about having a Department of Justice that is respected and evenly applies the law. The bedrock of our republic is a justice system that is respected by everyone regardless of politics, religion, race or any other characteristic or factor. Quite simply, the law is the most unifying and equalizing force in our culture and it should be treated with respect and adherence.
Watch the questioning below.
Before the hearing, I spoke with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business and Fox and Friends on Fox News Channel. Watch the interviews below.
Washington, DC - Rep. Trey Gowdy (SC-04) issued the following statement after the House passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016, which included authorization for the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project.
"Today’s passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, which includes authorization of the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project, is critical to expanding business and boosting the economy both in South Carolina and nationwide. The South Carolina Port Authority is an industry leader, generating billions of dollars in economic activity and sustaining hundreds of thousands of jobs each year. The Port is truly a statewide asset — especially in the Upstate where international businesses depend on the Port to move goods from South Carolina throughout the world. I am proud of our delegation’s hard work on this bill and support for the Charleston Port, which is vital to creating even more jobs in South Carolina.”
In case you missed it: Rep. Gowdy questions FBI Director Comey during the House Judiciary hearing titled, "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation."
"What concerns me Director is when you have five immunity agreements and no prosecution… when you are allowing witnesses who happen to be lawyers sit in on an interview. That is not the FBI that I used to work with."
Washington, DC - Chairman Trey Gowdy delivered the following opening statement during the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security hearing titled, “New Orleans: How the Crescent City Became a Sanctuary City.”
1404 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Representing South Carolina’s 4th District, Trey Gowdy entered Congress with a resolute commitment to the conservative principles that have guided him throughout his years in public service. At the core of those principles lies a firm belief in a limited government that inspires trust and demands accountability.
Representative Gowdy serves on the House Committees on Education and the Workforce, Ethics, Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform. He also serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security for the Judiciary Committee. In these capacities, Representative Gowdy has fought to highlight facts, uphold the Constitution, rein in the ever-expanding scope of the federal government, and restore America’s trust with a renewed spirit of honesty, fairness and reason.
Trey graduated from Spartanburg High School in 1982, Baylor University in 1986 with a degree in history, and the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1989 where he was a member of the scholastic honor society “Order of the Wig and Robe.”
For 6 years as a federal prosecutor, Trey prosecuted the full range of federal crimes including narcotics trafficking rings, bank robberies, child pornography cases, and the murder of a federal witness. He was awarded the Postal Inspector’s Award for the successful prosecution of J. Mark Allen, one of “America’s Most Wanted” suspects. He also received the highest performance rating a federal prosecutor can receive – two years in a row.
As 7th Circuit Solicitor, Trey led an office of 25 attorneys and 65 total employees. During his tenure, he started a Violence Against Women Task Force and a Worthless Check Program, enhanced and expanded Drug Court, and implemented a Drug Mother Protocol designed to assist expectant mothers break the cycle of addiction.
He has been recognized statewide for his commitment to victim’s rights and drunken driving enforcement and nationally for excellence in death penalty prosecutions.
Trey is married to Terri Dillard Gowdy, and they have two children: Watson and Abigail. Terri works for the Spartanburg School District as a teacher’s aide. Watson is a sophomore at Clemson University and Abigail is a rising 10th grader at Spartanburg High School. The Gowdy family also includes three dogs: “Judge”, “Jury”and “Bailiff.”
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Protecting our nation’s children is a top priority. This bill will help those who become victims of child pornograp… https://t.co/coGFt3oLwK
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You can read more about the Justice for Child Victims Act, including the full text of the bill, here 👇 https://t.co/Yy7ei8I9Qz
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Enforcing the rule of law and protecting human dignity through a fair justice system are among the chief responsibi… https://t.co/B1eXFodrbh
Enforcing the rule of law and protecting human dignity through a fair justice system are among the chief responsibilities of Congress. Victims
Millions of individuals all across the United States are impacted by life-threatening diseases. America has the best and brightest doctors in
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