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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OMB Watch Applauds White House Move to Quickly Fill Ethics and Government Reform Roles upon Norm Eisen Departure

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2010—Today, OMB Watch joined with several other good government groups to applaud the work of Norm Eisen, Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform. The groups also expressed appreciation that the White House has moved swiftly to replace Eisen, who is departing to become Ambassador to the Czech Republic.

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Bill Would Create a Task Force for Enforcing the LDA

The Lobbying Disclosure Enhancement Act passed the House to establish a task force to strengthen enforcement of rules for federally registered lobbyists. Originally, the bill was the Fees on Lobbyists Act. It would have set up registration fees and fines for lobbyists' late filings to fund enforcement. However, the bill was amended to simply create the Lobbying Disclosure Enforcement Task Force.

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Groups Work to Change the LDA

Reportedly, the American League of Lobbyists is working with the Sunlight Foundation to change the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA). Once again Tom Daschle is the poster child for why such reform is needed. "Daschle, working with his firm's lobbyists, uses his decades of congressional experience to tell clients how to favorably influence policy.

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New Report Finds that Lobbyists' Deregistration Peaked in 2008

The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) released a new report addressing the question of whether federal lobbyists are "deregistering." CRP found that the increase in deregistrations increased before President Barack Obama took office. As it turns out, policies meant to limit lobbyists' influence may not have played as great of a role in deregistrations as originally thought. CRP points out that "the process of deregistering is not straightforward."

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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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"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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Citizens United Decision Spurs State Campaign Finance Legislation

State legislators across the nation are introducing campaign finance legislation to mitigate the impact of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations and unions may now directly and expressly advocate for the election or defeat of candidates for federal office.

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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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DISCLOSE Act Seeks to Blunt Impacts of Citizens United

To blunt the impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) recently introduced companion bills, both called the DISCLOSE Act (the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act). The legislative response would create new, rigorous campaign finance disclosure requirements meant to prevent moneyed interests from drowning out the voices of citizens and smaller advocacy organizations.

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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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