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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House Stands Up for Big Business, Spurns Transparency*

GOP: How dare average citizens demand that powerful business interests disclose how they’re influencing the political process.

On Wednesday evening, during House debate of the fiscal year (FY) 2012 defense authorization bill, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) introduced and won agreement to an amendment that would prevent the federal government from requiring potential contractors – which would include many large corporations – to disclose their political contributions to the public.

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Opposition to Political Spending Transparency is Bipartisan

As President Obama is poised to sign an executive order (EO) that would require potential federal contractors to disclosure certain political spending beyond what is already required by federal election laws, opposition to it is coming from both sides of the aisle. On Tuesday (5/10), House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said that he was "not in agreement with the administration on that issue." Soon after, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) rushed to the mic to agree with Hoyer.

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Small Businesses Back Draft Executive Order Combating Pay-to-Play

As President Obama puts the finishing touches on a draft executive order (E.O.) that would require federal contractors to disclose their political contributions, Big Business and its allies in Congress have lined up to oppose transparency in federal contracting. And they're throwing the kitchen sink at the E.O.

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U.S. Chamber Kicks off Barrage against Disclosure EO*

One corporate hack awarding another.

Signaling the first wave of attacks on President Obama's draft executive order (EO) requiring disclosure of political donations by potential federal contractors, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, utilizing their Astroturf group, Friends of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, sent out an absurdly deceptive email alert last week calling on supporters to resist the White House's latest transparency effort.

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States Lead the Way on Contract Disclosure

Citizens have a right to know whether their tax dollars are being spent wisely. Unfortunately, the terms of government contracts are not routinely disclosed. A recent audit of ten federal agencies found that none of the agencies comprehensively posted contract information online. States, on the other hand, have begun innovating on contract disclosure.

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Reducing Influence Peddling in Government Contracting

Published April 27, 2011—In this piece, Gary Therkildsen and Gary D. Bass of OMB Watch argue that the federal government, namely the executive branch, must get serious about making public the information on any and all lobbying related to the federal procurement process. The authors use the Boeing tanker contract scandal as an illustration of the need for reform. This piece appeared as part of the "Solutions: Making Government Work" column on Truthout.

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Truthout Publishes OMB Watch Piece on Contracting


Today, Truthout, an independent news and commentary website, published an article written by OMB Watch Executive Director Gary Bass and myself on constructive, manageable ways the Obama administration can reduce influence peddling in government contracting right now.

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Administration Moves to Shine Light on Contractors' Political Contributions

A draft executive order on disclosure of political contributions from government contractors is circulating among federal agencies and has caught the attention of a few media outlets. What the order will mean for contractors and the general public will need to be hashed out should the draft become official.

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Administration Backpedals on Key Transparency Initiative

Transparency, apparently, has its limits.

The Obama administration might be reducing contract spending, but don't expect the contracts the government signs to show up online anytime soon. Withdrawing a proposal made last May, the administration quietly announced yesterday that it's abandoning what has turned out to be a tepid examination of posting federal contracts online.

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Obama Administration Reduces Contract Spending

'Everyone, chill.  I got this.'

Robert Brodsky over at Government Executive brings news that the federal government, for the first time in 13 years, spent less on the procurement of private sector goods and services than it did the previous year. Dropping $15 billion below the fiscal year (FY) 2009 levels of $550 billion, the Obama administration says it is on target to meet the president's goal of reducing contract spending seven percent through FY 2011.

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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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