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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Foxes in the Henhouse: OSHA, MSHA Nominees Appear Pro-Industry, Anti-Worker

Employing an all-too-familiar strategy, the White House has put forward two industry-insiders as its nominees for the top posts at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

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Friends in High Places

With lobbying and ethics reform proposals starting to abound in Washington, additional details are continuing to emerge about the real difference it makes to have powerful lobbyists with access to unscrupulous lawmakers, particularly at the last minute.

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Statement on Congress's Ethics and Lobbying Reform Proposals

Gary D. Bass, Executive Director
On Jan. 17, the Republican congressional leadership unveiled its ideas for addressing the growing culture of corruption in Washington. The following day the Democrats provided a set of specific principles to address the same issues. The two efforts overlap in key areas, but a closer look reveals the Democrats' principles to be far more comprehensive.

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GOP Considers Ban on Privately Funded Travel

Check out this New York Times article on the possible banning of privately funded travel. This could have impacts for nonprofits, which we discuss more extensively in our Watcher article on the new lobby reform bills before Congress.

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Letter from Gary Bass: Washington's Corruption Woes

Guilty pleas by super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his partner Michael Scanlon, former key staffer of former-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, have put a spotlight on graft and corruption in Washington--and the obscene influence money exerts over politics today. Both Republican and Democratic leaders are now poised to offer "solutions" to this unseemly situation. These solutions, however, must do more than simply scratch the surface of this enormous problem. And dramatic changes to this dysfunctional dynamic of Washington politics are unlikely unless the public gets engaged.

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House Democrats Put Forth Reform Package

House Democrats David Obey (D-WI), Barney Frank (D-MA), David Price (D-NC), and Tom Allen (D-ME) have produced a 14-point package to reform House rules. The package is cosponsored by 120 House Democrats, including Minority Leader Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Whip Hoyer (D-MD).

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Summary of the H.R. 2412, the Special Interest Lobbying and Ethics Accountability Act of 2005

On May 17, Reps. Marty Meehan (D-MA) and Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) formally filed H.R. 2412, the Special Interest Lobbying and Ethics Accountability Act (SILEA), a lobbying reform bill. The bill amends the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (LDA) and focuses on four main areas of reform: enhancing lobby disclosure, slowing the revolving door, curbing excesses in privately funded travel, and strengthening enforcement and oversight of ethics and lobbying disclosure. This summary provides background on LDA and details on the bill.

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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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