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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'Independent' Defense Review Panel Suggests Congress Shower the Industry with Money


Last week, the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) Independent Panel, a four-year old body created by Congress to provide an "alternate view" of the Pentagon's periodic internal assessment, released its report on the 2010 QDR. Simply put, the panel, whose membership includes a majority of individuals in the defense contracting industry, said, "Yes, please" in response to the government's question about how to allocate its limited resources.

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SIGIR: Pentagon Flushed Iraqi Funds down Toilet with Alarming Efficiency

Will this make the Iraqi people like us more or less?

On Tuesday, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) released a devastating report on the Department of Defense's (DOD) control of Iraqi reconstruction funds. SIGIR reviewed the Pentagon's control of the funds from 2004 to 2007 and found that DOD could not account for 96 percent of the $9.1 billion it received during that time.

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'High Road' Contracting: Unprincipled Contractors Need Not Apply

For all those principled contractors out there

Last week in the Los Angeles Times, Berkeley Law School Dean Christopher Edley wrote a compelling op-ed on why President Obama should end the delay and sign an executive order enforcing a new "high road" contracting policy for the federal government. While it's not likely to have the same instant stimulative effects of the Recovery Act, a "high road" contracting policy could, as Edley argues, "do more for the economy than [a] second stimulus measure."

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Quigley Introduces Contracting Reform Bill in House, Action Needed

The U.S. Capitol

Yesterday, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) introduced in the House companion legislation to Sen. Russ Feingold's (D-WI) recent contracting reform bill. As companion legislation, the House version of the "Federal Contracting Oversight and Reform Act of 2010" is a mirror image of the Feingold bill. The measure has several strong provisions, and, "if enacted, will lay the foundation for future [contracting] reforms." More members of Congress need to support this legislation.

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OMB Watch and 29,000 Others Comment on Inherently Governmental Proposal

Add your comment

Last week, OMB Watch submitted comments to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), the contracting regulatory authority within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), regarding their proposed policy letter on reforming "inherently governmental" guidelines. Through our petition drive with CREDO Action, we spurred 29,402 people to write to OFPP to tell the agency what they thought about the proposed guidelines as well.

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E-Rulemaking, Contracting on the List of Priorities for New ACUS

The new chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) last week discussed potential research priorities for the conference. Chairman Paul Verkuil outlined for the House Judiciary Committee’s administrative law panel several issues ACUS may address when it is reconstituted.

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Feingold Introduces Moderate Contracting Reform Bill

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI)

Yesterday afternoon, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) introduced bi-partisan contracting reform legislation, titled the "Federal Contracting Oversight and Reform Act of 2010," that seeks to bring more transparency to the government contracting process. Although several of the bill's provisions could have been stronger, one hopes the legislation, if enacted, will lay the foundation for future reforms.

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Is 'High Road' Contracting Gaining Momentum?

The Zorbing Ball

Recent press reports have indicated that the "high road" contracting process may be gaining momentum, possibly foretelling adoption of the policy by the Obama administration. Last week, Government Executive published several stories on the topic, including an article on congressional members requesting a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the costs and benefits of adopting "high road" contracting guidelines, and a story outlining documents obtained by GovExec that they purport give further details on how the administration might implement such a policy.

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Conflicts of Interest Abound on Congressional QDR Review Panel

Panel of Honor

Kudos to Ray Locker and Ken Dilanian at USA Today who recently published a story on the rampant conflicts of interest within a study panel that evaluates the Department of Defense's (DOD) Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) for Congress. Locker and Dilanian's analysis found that "more than half of the panel members appointed to review the Pentagon's latest four-year strategy blueprint have financial ties to defense contractors with a stake in the planning process."

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Legislators Reintroduce Bill to End Government's Use of Security Contractors

A Private Security Contractor in Afghanistan

Yesterday morning, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) held a press conference to announce the reintroduction of legislation to phase out the government's use of private security contractors in war zones. The Stop Outsourcing Security Act, which Schakowsky and Sanders originally introduced in 2007, seeks to prevent contractors in war zones from performing "mission critical or emergency essential functions," including security, military and police training, interrogation, and intelligence.

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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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