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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Improving the Public's Right to Know at Rio+20

Today marks the official opening of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, and representatives from government, public interest, industry, and intergovernmental organizations have gathered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to address the environmental challenges facing our planet. Rio+20, as the international conference is being called, is an opportunity to take stock of progress that has occurred over the past two decades and the challenge of sustainable development that we face. It also represents an opportunity to advocate for more citizen involvement in environmental policymaking.

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CFPB Issues Credit Card Transparency Policy

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released the final version of a policy that will disclose consumer complaints about credit card companies in an online, searchable database.

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Court Case Could Exacerbate FOIA Delays

A recent court decision may make it more difficult and more time-consuming for people to receive materials from federal agencies when filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. It would allow agencies to delay FOIA requests more easily, which could hamstring those who rely on the law, including the open government community, journalists, and other advocacy groups.

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Obama Plans to Further Harness Technology for Transparency

A new White House strategy could revolutionize transparency by reforming the fundamentals of how government uses technology. The plan lays out procedures for establishing openness as the default for public information and raises the bar for usability, efficiency, and innovation. The reforms promise to make government information easier to find and use through a series of concrete actions to be taken over the next year and would help Americans engage with their government.

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America Would Know Less Under House Census Policy

Since 1790, Americans have used the Census as a tool to understand who we are and where we stand as a nation. However, our ability to gather this crucial data would be crippled under a bill recently passed by the House.

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Big Business Suing to Stop Notices Informing Workers of Their Right to Organize

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other industry representatives are blocking a new rule that would better inform workers of their legal rights. The rule, issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in August 2011, would inform employees of their right to organize and bargain collectively. The rule would add to the existing framework of policies to protect workers' right to know, but business lawsuits are preventing it from taking effect.

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The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Spending Transparency Systems

As leaders of both parties in Congress obsess over cutting spending, it's no surprise that spending transparency has become an issue. Most recently, the House passed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act), a bill designed to increase the quantity, quality, and accessibility of federal spending information. The bill would be a leap forward in government openness, but it is only a beginning. A comprehensive system of federal spending transparency that enables citizens to hold government accountable must include a set of key elements, which we explore in this article.

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EPA Improves Public Access to Geographic Information Systems Tools

On April 26, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency publicly released a collection of web-based tools to enhance access to environmental information and encourage public participation in taxpayer-funded projects. This is part of a White House pilot program to encourage innovation in federal agencies and could empower citizens to improve their communities.

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FCC Rule Will Modernize Broadcaster Transparency, Illuminate Money in Politics

On April 27, the Federal Communications Commission approved reforms to modernize the disclosure requirements for broadcasters operating on the public airwaves. The rule will create an online database of TV stations' public files – previously available only by appearing in person at station offices – expanding public access to information about the stations' content, including political advertisements. But even as the rule moves forward, significant loopholes remain that will leave the public in the dark about political ad buys in substantial areas of key states during the current election season.

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DATA Act Passes House, Moves on to Senate

Today, the House passed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, or DATA Act (H.R. 2146), by a voice vote with strong bipartisan support. The bill to strengthen the transparency of federal government spending was sponsored by Oversight and Government Reform committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and 13 other representatives.

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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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