New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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Q & A With Daphne Greenwood: How Outsourcing Can Harm Communities

Egregious examples of government contractors fleecing the public abound. But how does the outsourcing of government functions to contractors and the erosion of the public sector affect society?

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Privatized Government Services Lead to Millions for Corporate CEOs

State and local governments around the country have sold off functions that once were provided largely, if not entirely, by government workers. But it is becoming increasingly clear that that these privatization deals not only reduce democratic control over services the public pays for, but, despite attacks on the public sector, outsourcing is often more expensive to boot.

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Public Accountability in Public-Private Partnerships

The nonprofit group In The Public Interest (ITPI) released a white paper last week outlining what state and local governments should do when considering using public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects like roads. For anyone interested in maintaining democratic control of public structures as well as getting a good deal for the public, ITPI’s paper is a great starting point for designing and modifying laws and policies to achieve those goals.

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Corners Cut in Outsourced Background Checks: A Case for the Public Sector

Yesterday, the Justice Department alleged in a court document that a government contractor that conducts background security investigations for the U.S. government committed fraud for more than four years on more than 650,000 investigations for personnel seeking clearance to access secret classified government information. The company, U.S. Investigations Services (USIS), has been accused of knowingly billing the government for about 40 percent of investigations it conducted during that period despite cutting corners, called “dumping” by the company.

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Lead IT Contractor Gets the Boot: Why Contractor Oversight and Proper Planning Are Key to Effective Government

Late last week, The Washington Post broke the news that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) was kicking CGI Federal off of its contract to develop and operate the complex website, which was wracked wit

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Why Targeting Defense Department Civilians Is a Problem

Many activists and analysts searching for reduced spending at the Pentagon commonly point to the post-9/11 growth of the department’s federal civilian workforce as a place to find significant savings. No doubt some savings could be found here, especially now that the war in Iraq is over and the one in Afghanistan draws to a close. But on closer examination, the savings from slashing the civilian workforce may not be as high as one might think. In some places, the department may want to further expand the ranks of its civilians to actually save more money.

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GAO: Lower Contractor Compensation Caps Would Save Hundreds of Millions

Hundreds of millions of dollars per year could be saved if Congress lowers the maximum amount the government reimburses contractors for their employees’ compensation, according to a new report released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’ investigative arm.

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Senate Passes Amendments to Shed Light on Contractor Misbehavior

The Senate has approved several amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 3254), which will bring greater transparency and accountability to federal contracting. The amendments, which OMB Watch endorsed, would strengthen whistleblower protections for federal contractors and grantees, modeled after the protections pioneered in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. 

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GAO: New Contractor ID System Needed

When the federal government is handing out thousands of contracts to more than half a million contractors, it's important to have a robust system for tracking the companies that receive each contract. Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on the federal government's use of a private, proprietary corporate identification system to track federal contractors and award recipients. Because corporations are continually acquiring new firms and/or merging with others, it is often difficult to keep track of which companies are actually responsible for the work the government has contracted out. The report recommended the government adopt a new approach to tracking this information.

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New CAP Papers Offer Contracting Reform Recommendations

The Center for American Progress (CAP) has released a series of three new papers on how the federal government can improve contracting through selective insourcing, better auditing, and increased transparency. Each paper contains specific recommendations that would help improve how Uncle Sam doles out contracting dollars and the return Americans could see on that spending.

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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