Tom Ramstack

Tom Ramstack is a long-time Washington, D.C. journalist, author and lawyer. You can contact him at [email protected].

Recent Work

State Dept. Officials Warn Senate About Russian Threats to US Geopolitics
State Dept. Officials Warn Senate About Russian Threats to US
December 5, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Top U.S. State Department officials warned Tuesday about aggression from Russia as Congress considers legislation to counter the country’s military and political threats. The officials spoke during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as it reviewed Russia’s compliance with the New START... Read More

States Appeal Judge’s Decision to Toss Local Tax Deductions Lawsuit Litigation
States Appeal Judge’s Decision to Toss Local Tax Deductions Lawsuit
December 3, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Four states are appealing a federal judge’s September dismissal of their lawsuit challenging federal authority to limit state and local tax deductions. In a filing before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, attorneys for the states argue the cap unconstitutionally interferes with their... Read More

Senators Express Frustration with FDA for Slow Response to Vaping Hazards U.S. Senate
Senators Express Frustration with FDA for Slow Response to Vaping Hazards
November 15, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- A Food and Drug Administration official told a U.S. Senate committee this week that new regulations to control vaping are likely coming soon, but couldn’t say when. His testimony drew rebukes and words of frustration from members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and... Read More

Government Security Officials Warn Of Evolving Terrorist Threats National Security
Government Security Officials Warn Of Evolving Terrorist Threats
November 11, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A top Homeland Security Department official described recent “major shifts” in terrorist threats to the United States during a Senate hearing last week. Some threats come from residents of Syria and Iraq displaced by military struggles while others come from emerging technologies for which... Read More

Congress Considers Proposals to Help Immigrants Start Small Businesses Business
Congress Considers Proposals to Help Immigrants Start Small Businesses
November 11, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

Business leaders in California appealed to Congress Friday to expand financial assistance to immigrants trying to start their own businesses. They said small government investments can create big payoffs when immigrants start successful businesses that pay taxes and employ other persons. The U.S. Small Business Administration... Read More

Trump Considers Disposing of D.C. Hotel to End Legal and Political Disputes In The News
Trump Considers Disposing of D.C. Hotel to End Legal and Political Disputes
October 30, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The Trump organization is considering selling its lease on the downtown Washington Trump International Hotel to resolve legal and political disputes over its ownership and profits. Controversy surrounding the hotel is part of an ongoing tide of criticism against the Donald Trump as he... Read More

Supreme Court to Rule on Gun Law As Mass Shootings Create Outrage Guns
Supreme Court to Rule on Gun Law As Mass Shootings Create Outrage
October 10, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court cast itself back into the emotional gun rights controversy when it put a lawsuit over a New York City ban on the transportation of  firearms on its schedule for its current session. The New York law bans most transportation of guns... Read More

Senate Bill Seeks to End Confusion Over Liability for Hemp Shipments Agriculture
Senate Bill Seeks to End Confusion Over Liability for Hemp Shipments
October 4, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A provision in the Justice Department’s annual funding bill is likely to alter the criminal liability risks for sellers and handlers of cannabis products. Ten states have authorized limited sales of the psychoactive drug for recreation, despite the fact marijuana possession remains a felony... Read More

Washington, D.C. Mayor Claims Constitutional Right to Statehood In The News
Washington, D.C. Mayor Claims Constitutional Right to Statehood
September 23, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser claimed at a congressional hearing last week that provisions of the U.S. Constitution give residents of her city a right to statehood. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform held the hearing to discuss pending legislation that would make all but... Read More

Congress Considers New Voting Rights Laws After Supreme Court Broadens State Authority Voting
Congress Considers New Voting Rights Laws After Supreme Court Broadens State Authority
September 17, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Congress considered options at a hearing last week on how to guarantee easier access to voter registration during a continuing struggle over states’ rights. The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to review the consequences of the 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby County... Read More

Reporter’s White House Press Pass Reinstated by Judge After Altercation Media
Reporter’s White House Press Pass Reinstated by Judge After Altercation
September 6, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A federal judge reinstated the White House press pass of Playboy magazine reporter Brian Karem Tuesday after it was taken away by the Trump administration’s press secretary. Karem lost his press pass in July after a loud altercation in the Rose Garden with former... Read More

Trump Aide Testifies Against Attorney Accused of Foreign Lobbying Violations Law
Trump Aide Testifies Against Attorney Accused of Foreign Lobbying Violations
August 27, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Federal prosecutors accused a high-powered Washington, D.C. lawyer in court this week of engaging in illegal foreign lobbying by helping to craft a report critical of the Ukraine’s former prime minister. Gregory Craig, White House counsel during the Obama administration, says his law firm's... Read More

Maryland Marijuana Case Sets Standard For Police Searches Of Crime Suspects State News
Maryland Marijuana Case Sets Standard For Police Searches Of Crime Suspects
August 21, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

A ruling last week by Maryland’s highest court is likely to help redefine the criminal law of marijuana possession as states nationwide search for new legal standards. A unanimous Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that police who smell marijuana can use the odor to justify a... Read More

Federal Appeals Judge Removed from Case After Dispute Over Climate Change Seminar Courts
Federal Appeals Judge Removed from Case After Dispute Over Climate Change Seminar
August 20, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

A Washington, D.C. federal appeals court judge was removed from an upcoming high-profile environmental case last week after a dispute with a second judge over what was supposed to be a harmless invitation. It started with a simple advisory email from one judge telling others about... Read More

State Attorneys General Sue To Block New Immigration Rule Immigration
State Attorneys General Sue To Block New Immigration Rule
August 16, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

The attorneys general from 13 states filed a lawsuit this week to block a new Trump administration rule that makes it harder for immigrants receiving public assistance to get green cards for permanent residency. The lawsuit is pending in federal court in the state of Washington.... Read More

States Sue Trump Administration Over Lower Fuel Efficiency Penalties Regulations
States Sue Trump Administration Over Lower Fuel Efficiency Penalties
August 5, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

Twelve states are suing the Trump administration over its decision to deeply roll back potential penalties against automakers that violate federal fuel efficiency standards. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposes a 61 percent reduction in penalties for violations of motor vehicle average fuel economy standards... Read More

Equifax Agrees to $700 Million Settlement After Huge Hacking Incident Hit Consumers Business
Equifax Agrees to $700 Million Settlement After Huge Hacking Incident Hit Consumers
July 23, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Credit reporting giant Equifax Inc. signed a settlement Monday in which it agreed to pay as much as $700 million to resolve government and consumer complaints resulting from a data breach that exposed the personal financial information of most of the U.S. adult population.... Read More

Washington Legal Advocates, Lawmakers Want Immigration Procedures Changed Immigration
Washington Legal Advocates, Lawmakers Want Immigration Procedures Changed
July 16, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Some of Washington’s prominent legal organizations and lawmakers are scrambling to address the nation’s illegal immigration crisis while courts confront a hopeless backlog of cases. They are proposing new procedures to manage the flood of illegal immigrants being held in detention centers while seeking... Read More

DC-Area Radio Station Registers As Foreign Agent of Russians In The News
DC-Area Radio Station Registers As Foreign Agent of Russians
July 8, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The Russian government paid a middleman company more than $1.4 million to broadcast propaganda for the past two years on Washington, D.C., area radio station WZHF 1390, according to recently-released foreign agent registration records. The registration by Florida-based RM Broadcasting LLC was ordered by... Read More

House Democrats Oppose Trump Plan to Expand Uranium Mining Energy
House Democrats Oppose Trump Plan to Expand Uranium Mining
July 2, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - House Democrats are trying to block a Trump administration effort to expand uranium mining in the United States. The House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources is considering a new bill that would severely restrict uranium mining. Democrats proposed the bill, called the Uranium... Read More

Federal Employees’ Lawsuit Reinstated for Data Breach of Personal Information Litigation
Federal Employees’ Lawsuit Reinstated for Data Breach of Personal Information
June 25, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Federal employees will get their day in court after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that their lawsuit over an Office of Personnel Management data breach can be reinstated. A trial court dismissed the lawsuit accusing OPM of negligence for allowing... Read More

Children’s Climate Change Lawsuit Considered by Appeals Court for Constitutionality Litigation
Children’s Climate Change Lawsuit Considered by Appeals Court for Constitutionality
June 7, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

A federal appeals court in Portland, Oregon heard arguments this week in a lawsuit that accuses the Trump administration of endangering the future of children by its environmental policies that do little to avoid climate change. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 21 children who... Read More

Nonprofit Group Seeks Sanctions Against Immigration Agency Immigration
Nonprofit Group Seeks Sanctions Against Immigration Agency
May 28, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A national civil rights group is asking a federal judge in Colorado to sanction U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE for “atrocious litigation conduct.” The federal agency is requiring the nonprofit organization to do a computer keyword search to find information... Read More

State Attorneys General Boost U.S. House Payday Lender Bill U.S. House
State Attorneys General Boost U.S. House Payday Lender Bill
May 28, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Twenty-five state attorneys general are giving a boost to a bill introduced in Congress this month that seeks to rein in excessive interest rates on payday loans. The attorneys general filed a comment letter with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau opposing the agency’s proposed... Read More

Dismissed Student Sues Georgetown As National Admission Scandal Grows Education
Dismissed Student Sues Georgetown As National Admission Scandal Grows
May 21, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

A Georgetown University undergraduate is suing the university after his father pleaded guilty to paying a bribe to help his son’s academic career in another example of the national college admissions scandal. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia accuses the... Read More

DC Radio Station Must Register As Russian Agent, Judge Rules Media
DC Radio Station Must Register As Russian Agent, Judge Rules
May 21, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- A Washington, D.C. radio station must register as a foreign agent because of its persistent broadcasts of Russian news and information that critics describe as propaganda, a federal judge ruled last week. This week, the Justice Department hailed the ruling for demonstrating how the... Read More

House Panel Criticizes Trump for Climate Change Policies That Harm Public Lands Environment
House Panel Criticizes Trump for Climate Change Policies That Harm Public Lands
May 16, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Democratic members of Congress said Wednesday that environmental policies of the Trump administration are threatening the nation’s outdoor recreation industry. During two House Natural Resources Committee hearings, a Trump administration official defended the Interior Department’s record, but environmentalists warned of severe consequences. Some of... Read More

Senate Witnesses Advocate Space Force to Protect U.S. Military and Private Satellites National Security
Senate Witnesses Advocate Space Force to Protect U.S. Military and Private Satellites
May 15, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The United States needs a new military branch called the Space Force for national defense and to protect commercial satellites, expert witnesses told a Senate panel Tuesday. President Donald Trump proposed the Space Force last year as a new and separate branch of the military.... Read More

Rising Nuclear Waste Cleanup Costs Spark Outrage from Congressmen Environment
Rising Nuclear Waste Cleanup Costs Spark Outrage from Congressmen
May 3, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Members of Congress expressed outrage Wednesday during hearings on Capitol Hill at the rising cost and government inaction in cleaning up the nation’s nuclear waste. Some lawmakers were reacting to a Government Accountability Office report released this week that shows the cleanup costs have... Read More

Ford Investigated Over Concerns About Improper Emissions Tests Business
Ford Investigated Over Concerns About Improper Emissions Tests
April 29, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

Ford Motor Co. is being investigated by the Justice Department over its emissions certification process, the company said in a government securities filing Friday. Ford said in the quarterly report that the criminal investigation focuses on its “road load estimations,” which refers to its method for... Read More

Democrats Threaten Contempt for Trump’s Defiance of Subpoenas In The News
Democrats Threaten Contempt for Trump’s Defiance of Subpoenas
April 25, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

Democratic members of Congress threatened a contempt citation Wednesday against a Trump administration official who refused to testify this week on an immigration question for the 2020 Census. John Gore, an assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, was subpoenaed to appear before... Read More

US Court Allows Patent for Marijuana Formulation Litigation
US Court Allows Patent for Marijuana Formulation
April 23, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

A federal court ruling last week set a precedent for property rights to cannabis products in the quickly growing marijuana industry. U.S. District Judge William Martinez, an Obama appointee who presides in Colorado, ruled that cannabinoid formulations can be considered the unique handiwork of their developers... Read More

New Mexico Residents Complain About Oil and Gas Drilling New Mexico
New Mexico Residents Complain About Oil and Gas Drilling
April 16, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

Members of a U.S. House committee advocated for stricter oil and natural gas drilling regulations during a hearing Monday in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Democrats on the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources said lax regulations are creating too much air pollution and depriving residents... Read More

Former White House Counsel Arrested On Lying about Foreign Lobbying Charge In The News
Former White House Counsel Arrested On Lying about Foreign Lobbying Charge
April 12, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

Former White House counsel Gregory Craig was arrested Thursday in Washington, D.C. on charges that he lied to federal investigators about his role in a foreign lobbying campaign on behalf of the Ukrainian government. Craig worked for the Washington law firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher &... Read More

Some Congressmen Want to Halt Appalachian Mountaintop Coal Mining Health
Some Congressmen Want to Halt Appalachian Mountaintop Coal Mining
April 10, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Residents of Appalachian states warned about severe health and environmental consequences from renewed mountaintop coal mining during a congressional hearing Tuesday. Lawmakers called the hearing to address concerns raised by Trump administration policies to loosen environmental restrictions on coal mining. An occupational health expert... Read More

Social Media Giants Questioned On Encouraging Hate Crimes Technology
Social Media Giants Questioned On Encouraging Hate Crimes
April 10, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Democrats in Congress used a hearing Tuesday to criticize President Donald Trump and social media companies for encouraging white nationalism and hate crimes. They cited FBI statistics showing hate crimes have increased since Trump took office in 2016. “The president’s rhetoric fans the flames,”... Read More

Congress Seeks New Strategies Against Weapons of Mass Destruction National Security
Congress Seeks New Strategies Against Weapons of Mass Destruction
April 4, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Two congressional committees met Wednesday on Capitol Hill to figure out the resources they should dedicate to confronting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. During a House Armed Services subcommittee hearing, Pentagon officials explained emerging threats from nuclear, chemical and biological weapons while... Read More

Federal Judge Blocks Medicaid Work Rules In Blow to Administration Health
Federal Judge Blocks Medicaid Work Rules In Blow to Administration
March 29, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

A federal judge this week struck down a Trump administration plan that could have required Medicaid recipients to work or volunteer as a condition of receiving subsidized health care. At least 15 states were planning their own work for health care programs. U.S. District Judge James... Read More

Senate Panel Told 'Space Force' Vital to US Warfighting Mission Pentagon
Senate Panel Told 'Space Force' Vital to US Warfighting Mission
March 27, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Defense department officials warned a Senate panel Wednesday that the United States risks losing its military advantage in space to growing threats from China and Russia. They are trying to convince Congress to authorize a new branch of the military that would be called... Read More

Alpine Skier Accused of Cheating Has World Cup Victory Reinstated In The News
Alpine Skier Accused of Cheating Has World Cup Victory Reinstated
March 19, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

The international Court of Arbitration for Sport last week reinstated a victory for German alpine skier Stefan Luitz that he won in December during the World Cup skiing competition. He was stripped of his medal by the International Ski Federation for inhaling from an oxygen tank... Read More

Supreme Court Adopts Trump Policy In Case of Illegal Immigrant Detentions Immigration
Supreme Court Adopts Trump Policy In Case of Illegal Immigrant Detentions
March 19, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that certain immigrants with previous criminal records can be detained without a right to bail. The 5-4 ruling is a significant victory for the Trump administration’s hard-line immigration policies but one that is outraging civil rights advocates. The... Read More

Congress Told Budget for Cleanup Of Toxic Chemical is Inadequate Environment
Congress Told Budget for Cleanup Of Toxic Chemical is Inadequate
March 7, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Members of Congress expressed frustration Wednesday at the years and billions of dollars needed to clean up a class of toxic chemicals polluting some of the nation’s drinking water. The House Oversight and Reform subcommittee on the environment held the hearing to examine the... Read More

Democrats Try to Override Trump’s Climate Change Policy Spotlight
Democrats Try to Override Trump’s Climate Change Policy
March 1, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Congressional Democrats sharply criticized President Donald Trump Thursday during a hearing on Capitol Hill for pulling out of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. They are trying to figure out how to act without the president’s approval to bring the United States into... Read More

Congress Talks Tough on Venezuela Venezuela
Congress Talks Tough on Venezuela
February 27, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Tough talk about the troubled Venezuelan government during a congressional hearing Tuesday raised more questions about whether U.S. military intervention is possible soon. A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee called the hearing to determine how the U.S. government should respond to an economic and humanitarian... Read More

US Military Warns Senate About Foreign Cyber Threats Cybersecurity
US Military Warns Senate About Foreign Cyber Threats
February 16, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Senators at a congressional hearing Thursday thanked the Defense Department’s cyber security force for protecting the 2018 midterm elections but warned that foreign hacking threats are likely to only get worse. Americans sometimes unrealistically convince themselves they have the world’s best defenses against cyber-attacks,... Read More

Marijuana Businesses Ask Congress To Grant Them Banking Services Economy
Marijuana Businesses Ask Congress To Grant Them Banking Services
February 16, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

The lack of legal banking services for marijuana-related businesses is creating unnecessary economic barriers and encouraging crime, the owner of a Washington, D.C. marijuana business told Congress this week. A House Financial Services subcommittee called the hearing to determine whether federal law that bans banking services... Read More

Trump Political Advisor Argues Against Gag Order Before His Criminal Trial Spotlight
Trump Political Advisor Argues Against Gag Order Before His Criminal Trial
February 8, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Political advisor Roger Stone is setting up a First Amendment free speech challenge during his pre-trial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He told a federal judge Friday that she had no constitutional right to silence him with a... Read More

Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Seeking to Preserve Obamacare Health
Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Seeking to Preserve Obamacare
February 5, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

A decision last week by a federal judge in a Maryland lawsuit is expected to influence an appeal by other states that seek to protect their health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. The state of Maryland filed a lawsuit in September to protect its... Read More

Inspector General Report Implies Trump Violated Constitution with Hotel Lease Spotlight
Inspector General Report Implies Trump Violated Constitution with Hotel Lease
January 25, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

The U.S. General Services Administration demonstrated “serious shortcomings” in reviewing conflicts of interest in the lease on Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington, a report this week says. The report by... Read More

Indictment Against Trump Advisor Points Evidence Toward President Spotlight
Indictment Against Trump Advisor Points Evidence Toward President
January 25, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

The indictment Friday of political advisor Roger J. Stone alleges a pattern of lies that casts serious doubt on the credibility of President Donald Trump. It accuses Stone of falsely telling Congress that he did not inform... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top