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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Quid Pro Quo at the Department of Energy?

nuclear waste

The Washington Post ran an article this morning about Recovery Act funding for environmental clean-up being given to contractors with less than stellar performance records. On the surface, this is yet another example of the desperate need for a fully public contractor misconduct database to help prevent awarding contracts to bad actors. But something else jumped out at me from the article that points to a larger problem that I don't think a misconduct database would solve: contractors and executive branch staff are far too cozy.

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Congress Moves Forward with Imperfect Reform of DOD Acquisition Process

F-22 Raptor

Yesterday, Congress took an imperfect step forward with overhauling the Defense Department's major weapons acquisition process. The House Armed Services Committee moved their reform bill, H.R. 2101, the Weapons Acquisition System Reform Through Enhancing Technical Knowledge and Oversight (WASTE TKO) Act, through mark-up by a 59-0 margin. A similar acquisition reform bill introduced by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) unanimously passed the full Senate. Before passage of the bill, however, senators agreed to an amendment that, if strengthened in conference, would essentially nullify the purpose of acquisition review.

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If At First You Don't Succeed...

The "virtual" border fence project is back in the news today, as the Wall Street Journal reports that the Department of Homeland Security has announced a new $30 million project to install cameras on the U.S./Canada border near Detroit, MI and Buffalo, NY.

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Congress Takes a Hard Look at Irresponsible Contractors

On Feb. 15, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) introduced the Honest Leadership and Accountability in Contracting Act, which is aimed at curbing abuse in government procurement and increasing competition and transparency. Concerns about federal contracts have been rising over the last few years as inquiries into contracts for Iraq reconstruction and Hurricane Katrina response have uncovered serious deficiencies or more questions.

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Federal Contractors: The Invisible, Unaccountable Agency

The incredible growth in the amount of money spent by the federal government on contractors, with almost no corresponding increase in oversight or management, was highlighted in a recent New York Times article, "In Washington, Contractors Take on Biggest Role Ever." According to the article, the amount spent on federal contracts has doubled since 2000, from $207 billion to $400 billion. The lack of sufficient government oversight has led to a virtual free reign for contractors, who are not answerable to the public and have not been called to account by the federal government.

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OMB Watch Questions GSA's Approach to Accountability

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2006—According to recent news reports, the new administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA), Lurita Doan, has made some questionable decisions that will reduce contractor accountability and oversight at an agency needing much more of both. These decisions to undermine independent oversight and accountability mechanisms in the federal government are unwarranted and unacceptable.

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FedSpending Spotlight: Skyrocketing Contracts, Less Competition

Lurita Doan, the new head of the General Services Administration (GSA), recently complained about the growth of Government-wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) and the loss of contracting efficiency. Data from reinforces these efficiency concerns by revealing the fast growth in federal contracts and, specifically, the remarkable growth of contracts for which there was little to no competition.

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OMB Watch Launches

For the first time, itemized information on the more than $12 trillion disbursed by the federal government between FY 2000 and FY 2005 is now available to the public on a user-friendly, searchable Web site., a project of OMB Watch launched Oct. 10, provides citizens with a detailed look at how the government sets national priorities and allocates federal resources.

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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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