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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Call for Investigation into White House

An article from the New York Times last week detailed the widespread use of the Caribou Coffee on Pennsylvania Avenue as a meeting place between White House officials and lobbyists. Now, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) asked the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for an investigation.

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Obama Blocks Lobbyists from Government Panels

Today, President Obama issued a memo barring registered lobbyists from serving on federal advisory committees, boards, and commissions.

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"Shadow Congress": 172 Former Lawmakers Now Lobbyists

TPM Muckraker has found that 172 former members of Congress currently work as lobbyists, regarding this system as "the Shadow Congress." TPM notes that "over the last few decades, a vast army of what might be called uber-lobbyists has taken shape in the capital, made up of retiring lawmakers eager to cash in on K Street after a lifetime of making do with public sector salaries."

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Could These Corporate Failures Have Been Prevented?

In recent months, failures at BP's Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico facility injured and likely killed 11 oil rig workers and spawned an unprecedented environmental catastrophe; an explosion at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia killed 29 miners; and a recall of millions of Toyota vehicles occurred after an acceleration defect was linked to injuries and deaths. These events have a few things in common, not the least of which is that they all illustrate a governmental failure to effectively regulate business activity and protect the public.

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Bill Would Ban Lawmakers from Becoming Lobbyists, Forever

Last week Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced the Close the Revolving Door Act of 2010, (S. 3272), which would permanently ban Members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists after leaving office. The measure would also increase the "cooling off" period for congressional staff from lobbying their former bosses and Committees from one year to six years. Lobbyists would be prohibited from joining congressional staffs that they lobbied for six years.

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After Much Delay, the DISCLOSE Act is Introduced

In front of the Supreme Court, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced the introduction of legislation meant to diminish the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The much anticipated bill is titled as expected, the DISCLOSE Act, which stands for Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections. Four Democrats signed on as co-sponsors, including Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Al Franken (D-MN).

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Public Citizen Works to End the Revolving Door

Public Citizen has asked 47 retiring lawmakers to sign a pledge not to take a lobbying job upon leaving Congress. The pledge states, "Upon leaving Congress, I will not accept employment or a leadership position for two years with any business that lobbies, issues lobby communications or has hired lobbyists to lobby my office, committee or staff during my last term."

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Study Finds Errors in Lobby Reports

Roll Call ($$) reports on a CQ MoneyLine study that found that over the past twelve years many companies, unions and other groups often made a mistake of reporting only its in-house expenses on lobbying disclosure reports. The Lobbying Disclosure Act requires that entities with in-house lobbying disclose all lobbying costs, including money spent on outside firms, even though outside firms must also separately disclose revenue they receive from the clients.

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The Problem Remains Money in Politics

Global Integrity, an international nonprofit organization that tracks global corruption trends, released the Global Integrity Index: 2009. The report analyzed 35 countries' ability to counter corruption, and the tools available to citizens to hold the government accountable.

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Webcast Thursday: The Administration's Approach to Lobbyists

The Washington Post reports that, "President Obama is escalating his war on K Street, proposing a series of tough restrictions a year after he first issued policies aimed at tamping down the influence of lobbyists." On Thursday, Feb. 18 OMB Watch will host a webcast where panelists will discuss a review of the administration's efforts to reform lobbying and ethics during the past year.

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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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