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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Administration Releases More Visitor Logs

On Friday, the Obama administration released another set of visitor logs.  The list of 110 White House guests was compiled from public requests and includes names such as Brad Pitt, Jesse Jackson, and several business leaders.  This release is a positive step toward building a system of government transparency that is responsive to the public interest but we would still like to see the administration go further with this effort.

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Hearing to Investigate Forged Letters

The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming held a hearing on the fraudulent letters sent to Congress on clean energy and climate legislation. Chairman Edward Markey (D-MA) wanted to know why congressional offices were not notified until after the vote occurred, even though the existence of the fake letters was discovered beforehand. The letters were sent out by Bonner & Associates, a subcontractor hired by Hawthorn.

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Administration Defends Policies toward Lobbyists

On Oct. 19 the chairs for the Industry Trade Advisory Committees (ITAC) sent President Obama a letter expressing opposition to the announcement that registered lobbyists should be prohibited from serving on federal advisory boards. The group asked Obama to reconsider the guidance.

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"What's In a Name?"

Politico reports on the practice of former Members of Congress giving campaign contributions, and engaging in other perfectly legal advisory roles, and not in fact lobbying. The article focuses on two former Representatives, Bud Cramer (D-AL) and Jim McCrery (R-LA). They have both entered the private sector and plan on registering as lobbyists as soon as their cooling off period is complete, which bans them from directly lobbying former colleagues.

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Hearing on Forged Letter Scandal Postponed

The Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming scheduled a hearing to investigate the forged advocacy letters sent to members of Congress before the House considered legislation on clean energy. The hearing notice states it will address the specific events of the case and "the practice of Astroturf."

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Sunlight Foundation Dissects TARP Lobbying Rules

Last month rules were released regarding communications with federally registered lobbyists concerning the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Since then, there has not been much news about disclosure reports or any follow through.

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Lobbyists Removed from Industry Trade Advisory Committees

Last week we noted the paradoxical new policy limiting the role of lobbyists on federal advisory committees. Reportedly, the Commerce Department and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative took this request very seriously and contacted companies and organizations with representatives serving on Industry Trade Advisory Committees (ITAC). With an Oct. 30 deadline, participants must certify they are not lobbyists, or a replacement must be found before their term is complete. About 132 people on ITACs are registered lobbyists.

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Lobbyists Serving on Advisory Committees – Where’s the Problem?

The new White House policy aimed at ridding federal advisory committees of lobbyists raises more questions than answers, as OMB Watch discusses in an article released yesterday.

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Business and Anti-Regulatory Lobbyists Divided over Climate Policy

Increasingly, businesses are severing their ties to industry lobbying groups that oppose climate change legislation, according to an article in today’s New York Times by reporters Clifford Krauss and Kate Galbraith.

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White House Moves to Limit Lobbyists on Federal Advisory Committees

The White House announced Sept. 23 that it informed executive branch agencies and departments that federally registered lobbyists are not to be appointed to federal agency advisory boards and commissions. This is the latest attempt at removing the influence of federally registered lobbyists within the executive branch.

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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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