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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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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FAPIIS is a Steaming Pile

On April 15, the government finally made the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) available to the public. Reviews of the previously secret database have been harsh – Tom Lee at the Sunlight Foundation said, "FAPIIS may be the worst government website [I've] ever seen" – and after perusing the site last week, this blogger sees no reason to question that assessment.

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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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White House Unveils Taxpayer Receipt

Today – on what would be Tax Day, had it not been delayed by Washington, DC's Emanicipation Day holiday – the White House released a new taxpayer receipt tool.

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MSHA Finally Bringing Out the Big Guns

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has added two mines to its Pattern of Violations (POV) list, which triggers closer MSHA scrutiny for mines with historically poor safety records. It is the first time MSHA has listed a mine in the POV program’s 33-year history.

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Analysis: Rep. Paul Ryan's FY 2012 Budget Resolution

Like all congressional budget resolutions, House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's (R-WI) fiscal year (FY) 2012 Budget Resolution is not simply a chart of preferred spending and revenue levels, it's also a political statement guided by ideology. And Ryan's ideology demands that the federal government divert ever increasing sums from middle- and low-income families to big business and high-income families.

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Transparency at Risk in Budget Debate

Penny-pinching fever has engulfed Washington, with both parties eager to root out perceived wasteful spending. Several proposals look for savings in the government's information dissemination programs. While some of the proposals are carefully targeted reductions, others would slash funding indiscriminately with damaging consequences to some innovative transparency projects and programs.

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Improper Payments Provide Opportunity, Challenge to Administration

In fiscal year (FY) 2010, the federal government disbursed a little more than $125 billion in improper payments to the public, up from roughly $110 billion in FY 2009. Though total improper payment dollars have increased, the federal government is getting better at preventing these wasteful disbursements. Indeed, most federal agencies are only now finalizing implementation of the Obama administration's improper payments reduction effort, which began in late 2009.

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Federal Spending Anxiety to Shut Off Spending Info Website

At a time when federal spending is the top concern of everyone in Washington, Congress is about to turn off the federal website that tells us where those federal funds are going.

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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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