The State Department could soon be looking at hefty fines thanks to Texas Senator Ted Cruz. The lawmaker is set to push for a piece of legislation that would punish the State Department for failing to publicize an important report on Iran’s human rights abuses, one that sources have claimed has been hidden from view in order to facilitate diplomacy with the troublesome country.
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The United States and a coalition of allies have been embroiled in negotiations with Iran over the country’s nuclear ambitions, hastily working to draft an amenable agreement ahead of the June 30 deadline. According to officials close to the matter, the human rights report, which the Obama administration was legally required to release by February 25, has become a bargaining tool in the hands of negotiators.
By promising not to release the report, American diplomats hope to win more favorable concessions from the Iranian government, which has proven obstinate throughout the process of creating a nuclear framework. In response to the report’s absence from public view, Cruz led a group of senators last month to demand that the State Department release it.
“That report was due by law on February 25,â€ť Cruz told the Washington Free Beacon. â€śThe Obama State Department simply ignored the law. They refused to produce the report. Months have gone by and they continue to refuse to produce the report.â€ť Now, Cruz plans to take his dispute to the next level, pushing for a “penalty for willfully violating federal law.”
Cruz does not plan to pull any punches: he proposes a large fine against the State Department, to the tune of 5 percent of its budget. For every week that the State Department refuses to comply, the fine will increase by another 5 percent. â€śThis simply puts a financial bite into the obligation because the Obama administration has demonstrated a willingness over and over again to violate federal law,â€ť Cruz explained.