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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Take Action to Shine a Light on Public Officials' Financial Dealings

Last week, President Obama signed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act — a historic piece of open government legislation. OMB Watch staff were there to see it happen and were pleased to witness an important transparency policy becoming law. In moments like this, we realize that our hard work and dedication are paying off!

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Federal Government Increases Online Access to Conflict-of-Interest Data

On March 22, the U.S. Senate passed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act, which will put thousands of disclosures from congressional and executive branch officials online for the first time. President Obama will sign the legislation into law on April 4. Many state governments already provide some online access to similar disclosures, and others, such as Maryland, are considering following suit.

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States Releasing Information Online that Can Ensure Public Official Accountability

On March 19, OMB Watch released a new report that evaluates state and federal websites designed to ensure the accountability of public officials. The report, Upholding the Public's Trust: Key Features for Effective State Accountability Websites, examines state efforts to release public officials' integrity information online. Such transparency is crucial to guard against self-dealing and patronage. While states and the federal government have made progress in this area, more work lies ahead.

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Time to Take Regulations Seriously: How Legislative Sleight-of-Hand is Being Used to Undermine Public Protections

When the 112th Congress convened, it agreed to a rule that, barring emergencies, no bill would be voted on until its text had been publicly available for three days. Recently, however, anti-regulatory legislators have become adept at using amendments and seemingly innocuous provisions to attempt to undercut long-standing safeguards without providing sufficient time for debate and discussion of the implications of their actions. These tactics threaten public protections and the legislative process itself.

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How to Strengthen Transparency in the U.S. Open Government Plan

Yesterday, OMB Watch submitted its recommendations for the Obama administration's national plan for the Open Government Partnership (OGP). The administration will unveil its plan, with new concrete commitments to increase transparency, at the international OGP meeting on Sept. 20.

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Let's Have Contractor Disclosure Already

A disclosure document

Last week, a group of more than 60 House lawmakers sent a letter to President Obama offering their "full support" for final release of a proposed executive order (EO) that would require disclosure of contractors' political spending. After more than three months of baseless attacks on the prospective EO from a relentless special interest smear machine, it's time for the president to establish this basic measure of accountability within the federal contracting system.

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Big Business Still Fighting Like Mad Against Disclosure EO*

Filthy rich businessmen simply do not care for disclosure

On Wednesday, a veritable who's who of business interests wrote to the Senate Armed Services Committee to cheerlead an anticipated amendment from Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rob Portman (R-OH). Expected during markup of the fiscal year (FY) 2012 Senate defense authorization act, the amendment would prohibit the Department of Defense (DOD) from implementing President Obama's draft executive order (EO) on contractor disclosure, should he sign it.

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WaPo and the GOP Take Aim at Disclosure EO

Kaplan Inc. and the Global Oppression Party

In a thoroughly confused editorial published last weekend, the Washington Post told readers it simply does not care for President Obama’s draft executive order (EO) on contractor disclosure, claiming it’s “uneasy” with the “well-intentioned but flawed” proposal. Coming to the Post’s rescue, though, congressional Republicans have introduced stand-alone legislation similar to the recently passed Cole amendment that would prevent federal agencies from requiring contractors to disclose political spending to the public.

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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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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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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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