TIME

Congressman Mark Sanford Breaks Engagement to Argentine Fiancée

Mark Sanford
Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford at the NAACP 1st Congressional District political forum, April 30, 2013 in Goose Creek, S.C. Rainier Ehrhardt—AP

Sanford has reached the end of the Appalachian Trail

Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina announced Friday that he and his Argentine fiancée are breaking off their engagement, saying their split was due to legal battles with his ex-wife.

Sanford made headlines in 2009 when, as South Carolina’s governor, he revealed that he and the Argentine Maria Belen Chapur had been having an affair. The admission came after he vanished for several days in June to visit Chapur in Argentina, with one of his aides explaining he was hiking the “Appalachian Trail.”

The fib became a running joke and gave a salacious new meaning to the phrase “hiking the Appalachian Trail.”

Sanford announced his break from Chapur in a long Facebook post Friday, saying their relationship was strained by tensions with his ex-wife Jenny Sanford. The GOP Representative is in a custody battle with his ex-wife for their children. “No relationship can stand forever this tension of being forced to pick between the one you love and your own son or daughter,” he said.

He went on: “Maybe there will be another chapter when waters calm with Jenny, but at this point the environment is not conducive to building anything given no one would want to be caught in the middle of what’s now happening.”

TIME 2014 Election

Legal Threats Continue to Fly in New Hampshire Senate Race

New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown faces new ethics complaint over his personal financal disclosure form

Legal complaints have become the new press release in New Hampshire this week, as Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown and his opponents turned to official threats to score political points.

It started Sunday, when New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown threatened to sue Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig after a outside group he runs called him a “lobbyist” in a campaign mailer, despite the fact that Brown has never registered as a lobbyist. “If you fail to immediately cease the mailer in question, we are leaving all our legal options on the table,” wrote Colin Reed, the campaign manager of New Hampshire for Scott Brown.

Then on Friday, a liberal group, the American Democracy Legal Fund, took its own shot, filing papers with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics requesting an investigation into whether Brown violated federal law by failing to identify certain clients from his work at a law firm in his personal finance disclosure form. The request was signed by Brad Woodhouse, a former spokesman for the Democratic Party, who also runs American Bridge, an opposition research group working to defeat Republican candidates this fall. Brown is down around five points in a tight race against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), according to an aggregation of polling data conducted by Real Clear Politics.

Brown campaign’s blasted the American Democracy Legal Fund’s ethics complaint.

“This is a partisan Democratic group whose purpose is to file frivolous complaints against Republican candidates,” said Brown spokeswoman Elizabeth Guyton. “Their claims have absolutely no merit.”

Neither threat is likely to result in much legal action, but both moves are meant to make headlines. Indeed Brown has seen—and used—similar tactics before. In Brown’s 2012 Massachusetts reelection campaign against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Warren and Brown traded barbs demanding that the other reveal his or her legal clients. The American Democracy Legal Fund, meanwhile, has been busy over the last several months, filing other ethics complaints against Republican Senate candidates in Louisiana and North Carolina, which also helped to generate negative news coverage.

The fund’s newest claim, that Brown was required to disclose more about his clients when he worked at the law firm Nixon Peabody, is unlikely to lead to sanctions against Brown, says Norm Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. There is an exemption under the Ethics in Government Act (EGA) that protects information under attorney-client privilege. “There are two elements here,” says Ornstein. “Senate ethics rules, which it appears do require a listing of clients and services, and the Ethics Act, which requires sources of income but so far as I can tell does not specify law firm clients.”

“The problem with the former is that the Ethics Committee has no real power over former members,” he adds. “It could, in theory, send a letter chastising Brown, but that is all. It is more likely that he has a moral obligation under Senate rules to disclose than a legal obligation under the EGA.”

Lessig has defended his mailer by saying that the legal definition of “lobbyist” under Senate rules was not the one he referenced in the mailer. “According to the Senate, Scott Brown isn’t a ‘lobbyist,'” Lessig wrote in a blog post after receiving the legal threat from Brown’s campaign. “But I submit to anyone else in the world, a former Senator joining a ‘law and lobbying firm’ to help with Wall St’s ‘business and governmental affairs’ is to make him a lobbyist.”

TIME 2016 Election

Why Ted Cruz Was Booed Off Stage at a Christian Event

The Senator's remarks about Israel set off the confrontation

While the nation watched President Obama primetime address the threat of ISIS Wednesday night, something else was happening in Washington: Senator Ted Cruz was getting booed off the stage of a Christian event.

Cruz is often considered a rising darling of the American Christian right. He speaks at evangelical gatherings in the country, talks to groups of conservative pastors and headlines events with the Family Research Council. But Wednesday night, his Christian audience was largely Eastern and Arab. The brand of conservative, American evangelicalism that Cruz often champions—one that often aligns itself with the state of Israel’s interests—did not sit well with everyone in attendance.

Cruz was keynoting a gala for In Defense of Christians (IDC), an advocacy and awareness group that aims to bring the U.S.’s attention to the plight of ancient Christian communities in the Middle East, and to protect the rights of other religious minority groups in the region. This week, IDC is hosting a three-day Summit, a conference bringing together a range of Middle Eastern Christians—Orthodox, Catholic, Coptic, Syriac, Lebanese, Assyrian, to name a few—to foster a new sense of unity in the midst of a politically fraught season. Most of the panels at the summit are of a religious nature, but a handful of political leaders are slated gave remarks as well, including Senator Rob Portman (R-OH). Former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was Wednesday’s gala’s master of ceremonies, but Cruz was tapped to give a keynote.

Cruz initially received applause for his opening remarks that the group was united in defense of Christians, Jews, and “people of good faith who are standing together against those who would persecute and murder those who dare to disagree with their religious teachings.”

Things turned sour within minutes. “ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and their state sponsors like Syria and Iran, are all engaged in a vicious genocidal campaign to destroy religious minorities in the Middle East,” Cruz said. “Sometimes we are told not to lump these groups together, but we have to understand their so-called nuances and differences. . . . In 1948 Jews throughout the Middle East faced murder and extermination and fled to the nation of Israel. And today Christians have no better ally than the Jewish state.”

His audience at the Omni Shoreham Hotel began to boo.

At first, Cruz continued undeterred. “Let me say this: those who hate Israel hate America. And those who hate Jews hate Christians.”

The booing got louder.

Cruz pressed on, adding that his heart “weeps that the men and women here will not stand in solidarity with Jews and Christians alike who are persecuted by radicals who seek to murder them.”

IDC’s president Toufic Baaklini tried to calm the crowd, which appeared to have a divided reaction to Cruz’s words, but by that point Cruz had had enough. “I am saddened to see some here, not everyone, but some here are so consumed with hate,” he said (to which someone in the audience shouted, “We are not consumed with hate, no, you are consumed with hate”).“If you will not stand with Israel and Jews, then I will not stand with you,” Cruz said. “Thank you and God bless you.”

With that, Cruz walked off stage.

Later Cruz reacted to the event on his Facebook page. “Tonight in Washington should have been a night of unity as we came together for the inaugural event for a group that calls itself ‘In Defense of Christians,’” he wrote. “Instead, it unfortunately deteriorated into a shameful display of bigotry and hatred. . . . Anti-Semitism is a corrosive evil, and it reared its ugly head tonight.”

Baaklini attempted to smooth over the situation. “As Cardinal Rai so eloquently put it to the attendees of the In Defense of Christians’ inaugural Summit gala dinner: ‘At every wedding, there are a few problems,’” he said in a statement following the incident. “In this case, a few politically motivated opportunists chose to divide a room that for more than 48 hours sought unity in opposing the shared threat of genocide, faced not only by our Christian brothers and sisters, but our Jewish brothers and sisters and people of all other faiths and all people of good will.”

At its core, Cruz’s problem was one of context. First, he pinned his remarks to the conflict between Israel and Hamas when one of the group’s primary agenda points was actually the plight of Iraqi Christians. Second, Christians are far from a monolithic group, especially when it comes to views on policy on Israel and the Middle East. The American evangelicals Cruz typically addresses tend to be worlds apart historically, culturally, theologically, and politically from the Christian leaders in attendance.

Most American evangelicals are likely not even familiar with the Christian leaders gathered at this event, even though the headliners are the Rick Warrens, Cardinal Dolans, and even Pope Francises of their own Eastern Christendom communities, who also met with Obama at the White House on Thursday: Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Cardinal Raï, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East; Gregorios III Laham, Melkite Greek Catholic Patirarch of Antioch and All the East, Alexandria, and Jerusalem; Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East; Aram I Keshishian, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church; Metropolitan Joseph Al-Zehlawi, Archbishop of New York and All North America for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America; Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria; Ibrahim Ibrahim, Bishop Emeritus of Chaldean Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle.

Whether or not Cruz meant to rile up the crowd to rally his own base or whether it was all a giant mistake is hard to parse. Whatever the case, it caused quite a stir. James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute and another speaker at IDC’s conference, calls Cruz’s performance “bizarre” yet “expected.” “Like most other blind ideologues on the far right, he cared not a bit for the reality and the sensitivities of Middle East Christians,” he says. “If policy makers want to help Christians, they will first listen to them, before they try to lecture them. Having an ‘I love Israel, and I don’t care about the rest of the Arab World’ mindset may work in US politics, but it’s why we are in the mess we are in across the region.”

Baaklini, the IDC president, says the incident only serves as a reminder that unity, especially among diverse Christian groups, is still needed. “Tonight’s events make clearer than ever, that In Defense of Christians is desperately needed in a world that remains divided to the point where even the most fundamental value of life and human dignity are cast aside,” he said. “We remain undaunted and focused on achieving our goals.”

TIME Barack Obama

Obama’s Anti-ISIS War in Syria May Be Illegal

U.S. President Obama speaks on the phone with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on the phone with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, before giving a speech to the nation regarding the fight against ISIS, from the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington on Sept. 10, 2014. Kevin Lamarque—Reuters

Obama is relying on questionable legal authority in his pursuit of terrorists, but that never stopped George W. Bush.

If truth is the first casualty of war, law is apparently the last, at least for President Barack Obama.

Obama came to office declaring his determination to reimpose legal limits on the American effort to defeat al Qaeda. He swore to close Guantanamo Bay, abolish torture, tighten rules for the treatment of terrorist prisoners and rein in the broad executive power President George W. Bush had claimed in the global hunt for terrorists.

But after five-and-a-half years of near-constant terrorist brush fires in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, and a Congress that remains largely unwilling to update key counterterrorism legislation, Obama appears finally to have surrendered to a very loose legal definition of where and when he can use military force against terrorists.

In his prime time speech Wednesday evening, Obama told Americans he was expanding attacks against the group calling itself the “Islamic State”, also known as ISIS or ISIL, by targeting its fighters not just in Iraq but also in Syria. “I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria as well as Iraq,” Obama said, “This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

Strategically, that makes sense. Speaking to reporters before Obama’s speech, a senior administration official explained, “ISIL is moving with impunity back and forth from Syria to Iraq, and vice versa, each time and from each place gaining arms, gaining manpower, gaining fuel, literally and figuratively, for their fight.”

Legally, however, Obama’s authority to attack ISIS in Syria is on shaky ground. Under the Constitution, Congress decides if and when the U.S. goes to war. In 2002, it authorized President George W. Bush to attack Iraq. That authorization, broadly interpreted, can be read to include the threat ISIS now poses there. But it doesn’t apply to Syria, at least not easily. And the Obama Administration announced this summer that it was no longer using the 2002 authorization to justify its actions.

Instead, Obama claims he has authority to bomb ISIS in Syria under the Sept. 14, 2001 authorization from Congress following the 9/11 attacks. In the call with reporters, Obama’s senior administration official said, “We believe that he can rely on the 2001 AUMF [Authorization for Use of Military Force] as statutory authority for the military airstrike operations he is directing against ISIL.”

That joint resolution gave the president the power to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

A variety of legal scholars on the left and the right, including Obama himself, have argued that authorization is too broad and needs to be rewritten so it doesn’t give eternal war-fighting power to all future presidents. And as Jack Goldsmith writes for TIME today, it’s a stretch for Obama to claim it applies to ISIS, given that ISIS and al Qaeda split earlier this year.

According to a 2012 speech by Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security who previously served as Obama’s top lawyer at the Department of Defense, there are two characteristics that a group must have to be considered an “associated force” with al Qaeda under the 2001 authorization. First they must be “an organized, armed group that has entered the fight alongside al Qaeda,” and second, the group “is a co-belligerent with al Qaeda in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.” The White House has yet to release to Congress or the public any detailed analysis of their determination that the Islamic state meets these standards.

If Obama is breaking the law, don’t expect much to come of it in the short term. The consequences of Obama’s legal interpretation, beyond his own discomfort, are not likely very great. The Bush administration showed the bar for legally constraining presidential counterterrorist actions is high, and even when it is surmounted there are little or no penalties. Politically, the president has nothing to fear: no matter how angry they are about the new effort against ISIS, the left wing of Obama’s party isn’t going to impeach him, and the right won’t either, at least not for going after Islamic extremists.

In the long term, perhaps Obama’s legal legerdemain will boost those who want to come up with new, clearer legal frameworks for international counterterrorism operations. But for now Obama, like Bush before him, seems determined to act without them.

TIME Senate

Ohio Senator Criticizes Obama ISIS Speech as ‘Tardy’

Portman Says Clinton May Be Too Mainstream For Democratic Party
Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, speaks during an interview in Washington on July 10, 2014. Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Senator told reporters the President shouldn't have bragged about withdrawing troops from Iraq

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman criticized President Barack Obama’s national address Wednesday evening on the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), telling reporters Thursday that he should not have bragged about withdrawing American troops from Iraq.

“It was tardy,” Portman said of the speech. “I wish he’d done it sooner.”

Speaking at a breakfast for reporters organized by the Christian Science Monitor, Portman, a Republican, argued that the United States’ failure to maintain a combat troop presence in Iraq after 2010 “is the reason we’re in the situation we’re in” with ISIS.

“He is proud of the fact that we are ending the combat mission in Afghanistan this year,” Portman said of the President, adding that Obama is indicating to would-be partners and foes that the U.S. is not “in it for the long haul … Again we are not learning the lessons of Iraq.”

“I don’t consider it a new war [against ISIS],” he added. “I consider it a continuation of something that began 13 years ago.”

Portman said he was broadly supportive of the strategy Obama laid out for Iraq and Syria, saying that Congress should approve the President’s funding request to train the moderate Syrian opposition: “I think the speech last night laid out a general strategy that I hope most republicans will support.”

The Vice Chairman for Finance of the National Republican Senatorial Committee said that with 53 days until Election Day, the battle for control of the Senate is “too close to call” and that “what happens in terms of the economy is always the x-factor.” He admitted it was unlikely to change dramatically before the election.

Portman said he isn’t actively weighing a run for the White House in 2016. “Yeah, I’ll take a look at it after the election,” he said. Asked about any upcoming visits to the early state of New Hampshire, he quipped, “My daughter goes to school up there, so part of my heart is in New Hampshire.”

 

TIME Congress

House GOP Looks to Authorize Obama’s ISIS Strategy

Barack Obama John Boehner
US President Barack Obama (R) talks with Speaker of the House, John Boehner, R-Ohio, during a meeting with the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Sept. 9, 2014. Jim Watson—AFP/Getty Images

Republicans look to schedule a vote authorizing the President's plan to "destroy" the militant group ISIS

House Republicans indicated Thursday morning that they would support President Barack Obama’s strategy to defeat Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria, despite misgivings that he hasn’t laid out enough detail about his plans.

“At this point in time it’s important that we give the President what he’s asking for,” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters.

Boehner said he supports the President’s request to arm and equip the Syrian rebels, but he ripped Obama for not including “all that we can do” to defeat the terrorist threat from the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

“A F-16 is not a strategy,” Boehner said. “Air strikes alone will not accomplish what we’re trying to accomplish. And the President has made clear that he doesn’t want U.S. boots on the ground. Well somebody’s boots have to be on the ground. … I would never tell the enemy what I was willing or unwilling to do.”

Boehner’s comments followed supportive remarks from other members of his Republican conference earlier in the day, giving Obama rare congressional support as the midterm elections approach.

“I think the vast majority of us understand that we need to get this done,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said. “You can’t have 535 commanders in chief. It may not be the perfect plan, it may not be everything you want, but you either have to vote against doing anything or you have to support the Commander-in-Chief in this case. Partisanship has to go out the window when it comes to defending our country.”

“I’m willing to support the president’s strategy and giving him the authorization he wants and the money he wants to try to see if this plan will work,” said Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), who added that “most” of the House Republican conference would support the President. “It’s worth a shot.”

The conference has yet to figure out the way in which it would authorize the President’s plan, which includes new air strikes in Syria and expanded efforts to train and equip the Syrian rebels. The quickest method would be to attach a provision to a short-term government funding bill that needs to pass by the end of the month to avert a government shutdown. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) said Thursday that the House would employ this method to vote on the President’s plan next week.

Obama has said he already has the executive authority to act without congressional support but that he would “welcome” it as a show of American unity.

TIME 2014 Election

Women Could Finally Make Up 20% of Congress This Year

Jeanne Shaheen
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen D-N.H. is surrounded by supporters to file her campaign paperwork to seek re-election on June 9, 2014 in Concord, N.H. Jim Cole—AP

Despite fewer women running for office in 2014

With women sitting atop half the Senate committees, it may feel like there are plenty of women in Congress, but the sad reality is only 18.9% of Congress is female. But every year, those numbers have been inching up and this cycle the share of women in Congress is set to finally breach 20%, according to new research.

Hitting the unprecedented 1:5 female/male ratio depends on the midterm elections, according to numbers compiled by Rutgers’ University’s Center for American Women in Politics. There are 15 women running for the Senate, 10 Democrats and five Republicans. Four are incumbents, three Democrats—Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, North Carolina’s Kay Hagan and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire—and one Republican, Susan Collins of Maine.

Seven are running in states with open seats: Republicans Terri Lynne Land of Michigan, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Joni Ernst in Iowa; and Democrats Michelle Nunn in Georgia, Natalie Tennant in West Virginia Montana’s Amanda Curtis and Oklahoma’s Constance Johnson.

Four are challengers: Republican Monica Wehby in Oregon and on the Democratic side Kentucky’s Alison Lundergan Grimes, Maine’s Sheena Bellows and South Carolina’s Joyce Dickerson. But, overall, the number of women running for the Senate is down from the 18 women who ran in 2012.

On the House side, there are 108 Democratic women running and 53 Republicans. For Democrats, that number is down from the 118 Democratic women who ran in 2012. For Republicans, that number is slightly up from the 48 women who ran in 2012. That’s a victory for Republicans who have improved on their ability to get women through their primaries. Overall, however, they recruited 13% less women to run than the 107 GOP women who filed to run in 2012. This year, just 95 did despite a big recruitment push by GOP groups.

On the whole, slight gains are expected in both chambers, meaning the number of overall women in Congress could, finally, breach 20%.

TIME Foreign Policy

Rand Paul Calls Obama’s ISIS Plan ‘Unconstitutional’

But he does support the intervention

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) agreed with President Barack Obama’s strategy to combat the threat of Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria on Wednesday night, but criticized Obama’s methods as unconstitutional.

“It doesn’t in any way represent what our Constitution dictates nor what our founding fathers intended,” Paul, a likely 2016 presidential contender said on Fox News. “So it is unconstitutional what he’s doing.

“He should have come before a joint session of Congress, laid out his plan—as he did tonight—and then called for an up or down vote on whether or not to authorize to go to war,” Paul added. “I think the President would be more powerful [and] the country would have been more united.”

In his address to the nation Wednesday, Obama said the U.S. would expand its air campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) and provide funding to train and arm the Syrian opposition. He also reiterated his position that he has the executive authority to do so without congressional approval but that he would welcome congressional support as a sign of American unity.

TIME Congress

White House Wants Congress to OK $500 Million for Syrian Rebels

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on the phone with Saudi King Abdullah from the  Oval Office of the White House in Washington
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on the phone with Saudi King Abdullah from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington September 10, 2014. Kevin Lamarque—Reuters

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are reportedly lobbying lawmakers for funds to arm and train Syrian rebels in fight against ISIS

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are personally lobbying members of Congress to authorize around $500 million in funding to train and arm Syrian rebels in the fight against Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria, according to the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke in Congress Wednesday in support of funding the rebels, dismissing the potential cost. “I believe we need to train and equip Syrian rebels,” Reid said. “Going at it alone will not suffice.”

House Republicans are now debating whether to add the White House request to the pending government spending bill.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D—Mich.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R—Tenn.), the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters Wednesday that they support arming and training the Syrian rebels.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) noted that an overwhelming majority of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to arm moderate elements of the Syrian opposition in May 2013. “I think the task has gotten harder in terms of determining how to do that in a way that the arms end up in the right hands,” said Kaine. “But I still think that that can be an appropriate way to deal with [ISIS] threats on the Syria side.”

Not all senators support the measure, however. A spokesperson for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he “doesn’t believe that we should fund rebels who could potentially be our enemies.”

TIME Congress

House Democrats Want ‘Transparency’ From NFL

Roger Goodell
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a press conference at the NFL's spring meeting in Atlanta on May 20, 2014. David Goldman—AP

Lawmakers say major sports leagues have a responsibility to “be at the forefront of handling" incidents of abuse

A dozen House Democrats sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday seeking more “transparency” surrounding its actions that followed the recent release of a video that depicted star running back Ray Rice hitting his wife.

“Given the important role the NFL and other major professional sports leagues can play in shaping public perceptions concerning domestic violence,” the 12 Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee wrote. “It would appear to be in the public interest to have the highest level of transparency associated with reviews of potential misconduct.”

In an interview with CBS that aired Tuesday, Goodell insisted the NFL had requested to see the video of the former Baltimore Ravens running back knocking his then-fiancée unconscious in a casino elevator, but those requests weren’t granted. On Monday, TMZ released the video and Rice was subsequently released from the Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL.

Lawmakers said the public is ill-informed about the specifics of the request including “how relevant law enforcement responded.” The members, including House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich), also want to know whether or not Rice’s attorney, any other NFL employees or consultants, or the casino staff had requested the video.

The letter comes as Congress commemorates the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, which provides assistance and protection to victims of domestic and relationship violence. The Democrats praised the NFL for recent changes to its policy for disciplining players who commit acts of domestic violence, but said professional leagues should “be at the forefront of handling” incidents of abuse.

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