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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The Transparency-Killing Budget

Progress toward increased government transparency will stall, and in some cases reverse, according to new details about the damage stemming from recent federal budget cuts. Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra explained the cuts' impact on key transparency and technology projects in a May 24 letter to Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE).

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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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MSHA Failed to Watchdog Deviant Mine Company

Today, the Governor’s Independent Investigation Panel submitted to the governor of West Virginia its report on the Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine disaster that killed 29 men in April 2010. Liz Borkowski at The Pump Handle blog has a detailed summary. Be sure to read it, especially if you’re going to bypass the 126-page report.

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New Executive Order Could Improve Government Websites

On April 27, President Obama signed Executive Order 13571, entitled "Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service." Building on a Clinton-era order, E.O. 13571 requires agencies to develop plans to make their customer service more efficient and effective. Agencies have to publish their plans online within 180 days.

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The Trouble with the "Pass-the-Hat" Funding Model for Government Technology Projects

Federal information technology (IT) spending is approaching $80 billion per year, and debate is swirling about who will pay for new government technology projects and how they will do so. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently examined one of the ways new projects are paid for: the “pass-the-hat” model, in which federal agencies contribute some of their funds to help support projects.

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Agency Performance Modernization Points toward Increased Government Efficiency

In January, President Obama signed the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRA Modernization Act), updating a nearly 20-year-old law in an effort to increase government efficiency through funding choices. In April, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued its first directives to federal agencies on how to implement the new legislation, and Congress has begun to conduct oversight related to the measure.

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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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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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