Al Kamen
Al Kamen
In the Loop

Tina makes it formal in Switzerland

This item just in via an “activity report” from the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland, headlined “Soul Legend Relinquishes U.S. Citizenship.”

“Long-time Swiss resident Tina Turner” was in the embassy Oct. 24 to sign her “Statement of Voluntary Relinquishment of U.S. Citizenship under Section 349 (a)(1) of the INA” — the Immigration and Naturalization Act.

Al Kamen

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. He began his reporting career at the Rocky Mountain News and joined The Post in 1980. He has covered local and federal courts, the Supreme Court and the State Department. Follow him on Twitter.

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(MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images) - Tina Turner, shown on May 31, 2012, has “relinquished” her U.S. citizenship.

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Turner, who turns 74 in a couple of weeks, retired from the concert stage in 2009. She had an abusive 14-year marriage to Ike Turner (they divorced in 1976), with whom she recorded Jessie Hill’s classic “Ooh Poo Pah Doo” and John Fogerty’s “Proud Mary.”

Turner has lived in Switzerland for nearly two decades and is fluent in German. In July she married her boyfriend of 27 years, German music producer Erwin Bach (unclear whether he’s related to Johann Sebastian). Turner had taken the oath of Swiss nationality on April 10. Turner, the report said, declared that she no longer has any strong ties to the United States “except for family, and has no plans to reside in the United States in the future.”

The key word in the embassy report apparently is the term “relinquishment.” That means, a knowledgeable source told us, that she did not “formally renounce her U.S. citizenship under 349(a)(5) Immigration and Nationality Act, but took Swiss citizenship with the intent to lose her U.S. citizenship.” As opposed to formal renunciation — a much more complex process, we were told — there are no “tax or other penalties for loss of citizenship in this fashion.”

So “Proud Mary” will be rolling not on the Mississippi but on the Aare?

Ambassador Kennedy

No more “Sweet Caroline” — you can just call her Madam Ambassador now.

Caroline Kennedy was sworn in on Tuesday to be the U.S. envoy to Tokyo. Kennedy is one of the highest-profile members of the U.S. diplomatic corps, if not the highest-profile envoy, and her new role was marked in a fashion one might expect. Secretary of State John Kerry administered the oath at a private ceremony at the State Department headquarters, followed by a reception at the Japanese ambassador’s residence at which Kerry and plenty of other dignitaries were slated to attend.

Her move comes shortly before the 50th anniversary of the assassination of her father, President John F. Kennedy.

She’s expected to take up her post by the end of the month — where she’ll follow in the footsteps of other heavy-hitting ambassadors, including Mike Mansfield, the legendary Senate majority leader, and former vice president Walter Mondale.

Site unseen

The calamitous Obamacare Web site is not the only government Web site malfunctioning these days.

It seems the Freedom of Information Act site (foiaonline.regulations.gov), which is used by a number of smaller federal agencies — and had been used until recently by the Treasury Department — was also down for much of the past week, according to “Andrew” on the site’s help desk. (He said they don’t give out last names.)

For several days, visitors were greeted with a message advising: “We are experiencing technical difficulties and we are working to resolve them. We appreciate your patience as we work to keep the site operating at peak performance.

The FOIA Web site, which went up about a year ago, appeared to be having a problem with the server, Andrew told us. “It got slow,” and restarting it didn’t work, and finally “it got so bad we had to take it down,” he said. The techies eventually came through, it appears: The site was back up last night.

The move to electronic FOIA has been promoted by open-government groups and the Obama administration as a way to improve media, citizens and business access to government documents. And, when it is functioning, it can do just that.

When it’s not, folks trying to get electronic FOIA info from agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Customs and Border Protection, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and others just have to sit tight — or consider going back to the days of paper.

Quote of the day

“They let you in here wearing that?” — Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, to a reporter interviewing her for Outside magazine. The scribe, Bruce Barcott, writes that he was wearing a North Face jacket and Zamberlan hiking boots — items that the former REI executive was selling just a few short months ago.

With Emily Heil

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. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.

 
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