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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Super (Loud) PACs and Soft-spoken Issue Advocates

Outside groups are spending nearly 1,300 percent more on broadcast advertising for the 2012 election than they did in 2008, according to an analysis released on Jan. 30. This is the clearest demonstration yet that Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has fundamentally rewritten the rules for political spending.

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More Citizens are Using the Internet to Engage with Government

The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project released a new report which found that most Internet users have visited a government website to get information or complete a transaction during the last year. The findings are based on a survey of 2,258 adults 18 or older. According to the report, about a quarter of adults have posted their own comments online about government issues, participated in an online town hall meeting or joined a group that tries to influence policies.

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Gold Mouse Awards Reveal the Best Congressional Websites

The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) announced the Gold Mouse Awards for the 111th Congress. 620 websites were evaluated, including all Members, committees, and leadership sites, to determine the best congressional websites. 131 offices were selected for a Gold, Silver or Bronze Mouse Award.

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New Tools to Help Advocates with Campaign Finance Data

A new site,, is acclaimed as "a central source for all federal and state campaign contributions made in the last twenty years." The Sunlight Foundation teamed up with the National Institute on Money in State Politics and the Center for Responsive Politics, and by merging data from these groups, produced a new development in the availability of campaign finance data.

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National Broadband Plan Seeks to Increase Civic Engagement

On March 16, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its 376-page National Broadband Plan, setting forth a strategy to expand access to broadband Internet services to millions of people. Chapter 15 of the broadband plan is specifically intended to make it easier for Americans to actively participate in civil society and hold their government accountable.

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Study Reveals the Focus on Lobbyists Could be Flawed

According to a study conducted by OMB Watch and the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), 1,418 federally registered lobbyists "deregistered" with Congress in the second quarter of 2009 (between April and June). This is a considerably higher rate than that seen in the average reporting period, when a few hundred lobbyists terminate their active status. The groups cautioned that this finding does not necessarily mean that the Obama administration's policies on lobbyists are leading to fewer outside influences on government policy, or that those policies are creating more transparency.

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"Dollar Politics"

National Public Radio (NPR) has started an interesting series of investigative reports called Dollar Politics, examining the relationships between Congress and interest groups in regards to current major legislative issues: health care, energy policy and financial regulation.

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Senate May Soon Consider Bill Requiring Electronic Filing of Campaign Finance Data

POLITICO reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) are negotiating when to bring up a common sense bill that has been held up for years. The Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, S.482, would require campaign fundraising reports to be published on online as House candidates, presidential candidates and other political committees already do.

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Groups Call on Senators to Support S.482

OMB Watch signed on to a letter sent to every Senator asking them to support S. 482, the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act and oppose any amendment to the bill. S482 would require Senate candidates and committees to file their campaign finance reports electronically, as House candidates, presidential candidates and other political committees already do.

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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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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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