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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Revisiting Grassroots Lobbying Disclosure

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, who opposed the House passed climate change bill remains under attack for sending fake letters to House lawmakers. The firm sent out letters using the names of an N.A.A.C.P. chapter and a network of nonprofit organizations serving Latinos. Reportedly, more nonprofits' names were used including the American Association of University Women and the Jefferson Area Board for the Aging.

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Former Lobbyist Missed the Cutoff to need an Ethics Waiver

Controversy still surrounds the rules covering executive branch hiring and former lobbyists who now work in the Obama administration. Three new U.S. Attorney nominations have been made including former Business Software Alliance lobbyist and aide to Vice President Joe Biden, Neil MacBride, for the Eastern District of Virignia. Reportedly, a waiver is not needed in this case.

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New State Hire Highlights Loophole in Revolving Door Rules

Robin Raphel has been hired by the State Department, but may either be exempt from the administration's new revolving door rules or require a waiver. Raphel was a senior vice president for Cassidy and Associates since 2007.

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Coming Soon: TARP Lobbying Rules

According to The Hill, the Treasury Department is waiting for the administration's approval before finalizing restrictions on lobbying for Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funding, only ten months after the program began.

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A Case for Disclosure?

The Washington Post follows up on an interesting case revealed last week. An employee of a lobbying firm forged a letter from a Latino social service group to Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA), urging him to make changes in a bill capping greenhouse-gas emissions. Reportedly, the firm found out about the issue and promptly fired the employee. The letter used the letterhead of Creciendo Juntos, and asked Perriello to add "pro-consumer" changes to the bill.

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Committee Would Get Rid of Earmark Requests Because There Wasn't Enough Space

Roll Call ($$) reports that the House ethics committee is looking into connections between earmarks and campaign contributions. The investigation will likely come across a roadblock; documentation may have been destroyed on earmark requests before 2007.

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Lobbying Guidance Now Clarified

After new guidance was issued regarding when the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) allows individuals to terminate their registrations, many recognized that a new loophole may have been created to avoid lobbying restrictions imposed by the Obama administration. Questions led to a review of last week's new guidance and now, the guidance has been clarified.

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Strategic Giving

USA Today reports that regardless of the gift ban under the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA), signed into law in 2007, lobbyists continue to spend a vast amount of money to honor members of Congress or donate to nonprofits connected to them. The law requires lobbyists and entities that employ lobbyists to report payments to events or groups associated with legislators or top federal officials.

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Food Safety Agency Left Untended; Nomination Forestalled by Lobbying Order

President Obama has yet to nominate an individual to lead the Food Safety and Inspection Service, leaving the agency headless at a time when food safety consistently shows up on the national radar.

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Waiting for Guidance on Stimulus Lobbying Restrictions

After the White House announced on Friday evening changes to rules on communications between registered lobbyists and officials about stimulus projects, several questions remain until any further guidance is released. First, the ban on oral communications regarding specific stimulus matters will be extended to include everyone, not only federally registered lobbyists.

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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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