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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New Report Reviews Obama Administration Progress on Open Government

The 2012 Secrecy Report, released today by, shows that the Obama administration has enacted a number of constructive transparency measures.  The  administration has made important strides toward a more open and accountable government during the past four years.

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Raising the Bar for Transparency and Customer Service

Yesterday, the House passed the Government Customer Service Improvement Act, H.R. 538, by Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX). The bill would require the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to establish standards and performance measures for the customer service that federal agencies provide to the public. Federal agencies' customer service performance ratings would be reported publicly, and each agency would be required to collect and publish feedback from citizen customers. This would advance government openness and could improve government performance.

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Chevron Refinery Fire Highlights Need for Better Risk Management, Safer Chemical Alternatives

In August, a major fire at a Chevron oil refinery in California sent thousands of people to hospitals and forced local residents to hide in their homes with their doors and windows shut. The fire, which sent clouds of black smoke over the San Francisco Bay area, highlights the risks that refineries and chemical plants can pose to local communities and the need for ready access to information that residents can use to protect themselves and their families from chemical disasters.

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Technology Reforms Pave the Way for Greater Transparency

The federal government recently unveiled a number of valuable reforms that will pave the way to a more transparent, efficient, and innovative government. The reforms implement and complement the Digital Government Strategy released by the Obama administration in May.

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The STOCK Act Faces New Hurdles

On Aug. 2, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit and an injunction against the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), challenging the constitutionality of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK Act). The ACLU is suing on behalf of seven high-level federal government employees and four organizations representing them. The ACLU claims that posting officials’ financial information online violates their privacy in addition to potentially threatening their physical safety. On the basis of similar concerns, Congress passed a bill delaying implementation of the STOCK Act.

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Senate Votes Down DISCLOSE Act

The Senate held two votes on the DISCLOSE Act on July 16 and 17 but failed to pass the legislation each time. The bill would have created new campaign finance disclosure requirements and made public the names of super PAC contributors. In an effort to control the rising tide of "secret money" – political campaign spending by unknown donors – the bill attempted to make the federal election process more transparent.

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Has the Supreme Court United Against Citizens' Participation in Government?

By refusing to hear American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock, the Montana case on corporate election spending, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed on June 25 that corporations can spend unlimited money to influence the outcome of political campaigns.

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Health Care Law's Transparency Provisions Empower Consumers, Prevent Waste and Fraud

Transparency isn't typically the first thing that comes to mind about the 2010 health care law. However, the law puts more health care information in the hands of consumers and gives the public new tools for combating waste and fraud.

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New Federal Agency Hits the Ground Running with Proactive Standards for the Release of Information

A new federal agency is making a strong start out of the box by establishing a proactive policy of releasing information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). FOIA regulations published today by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) include an important clause committing the agency to proactively disclose the information it collects. The agency adopted the policy in response to a recommendation by OMB Watch.

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New Complaint Database Will Empower Credit Card Users, May Expand to Other Financial Products

On June 19, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a policy that establishes a public online database of credit card complaints from customers. The database allows consumers shopping for a credit card to view data about other customers' experiences in order to avoid abusive practices and poor customer service.

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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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