BP and Environmental Nonprofits: Conflicts and Complaints

Nonprofit organizations are working diligently to counter the effects of the catastrophic oil spill that followed the failure of BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Groups are aiding in cleanup efforts, protesting, raising money, and engaging in various other activities to turn anger into action. However, some nonprofits are also facing harsh criticism for accepting donations and other gifts from the oil company, and the worst oil spill disaster in the country's history has jeopardized partnerships between energy companies and environmental nonprofits.

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Citizens United Decision Spurs State Campaign Finance Legislation

State legislators across the nation are introducing campaign finance legislation to mitigate the impact of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations and unions may now directly and expressly advocate for the election or defeat of candidates for federal office.

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Nonprofits Tell Subcommittee about Impact of Ineffective Counterterrorism Rules

On May 26, representatives from the nonprofit sector testified before a subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee to address how anti-terrorist financing laws impact charities. The hearing marked the first time an oversight panel has considered how the Department of the Treasury's policies impact charitable groups and was a major step in bringing attention to the largely ignored challenges facing charities and foundations since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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Nonprofits Work to Restore Ex-Offender Voting Rights

Voting is a fundamental right and a cornerstone of our democracy, yet millions of Americans have had their right to vote revoked for periods ranging from the time spent incarcerated to a lifetime. Nonprofit organizations are playing a major role in efforts to restore voting rights to ex-offenders with felony convictions, and recent developments in Virginia and Washington State highlight the importance of nonprofit involvement in the issue.

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House Hearings Highlight Criticisms of DISCLOSE Act

During the first House hearings on the DISCLOSE Act, disagreements and debate arose over the scope and potential impacts of a bill that sponsors say is designed to create new disclosure requirements for various corporate entities that are promoting or opposing candidates for federal office. As Congress continues to move forward with the bill, controversy will likely follow.

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Supreme Court Hears Arguments on State Disclosure of Petition Signatures

On April 28, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Doe v. Reed, a lawsuit filed by a political action committee in Washington State. The case could decide whether public disclosure of referendum petition signatures is permitted or if signing such a petition is a private political act protected by the First Amendment.

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