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...

read in full
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...

read in full
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...

read in full
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...

read in full
more news

As Predicted, Agencies Reporting Relatively Few Meetings with Lobbyists

Despite President Obama's order that officials have to disclose their contacts with registered lobbyists that try to influence Recovery Act funding, the government continues to capture very little information. The Associate Press reports that "few such communications have been reported even though lobbyists say they are busier than ever with the multibillion-dollar stimulus.

read in full

Bonner & Associates Update

A total of nine nonprofits' names have been used by the lobbying firm Bonner & Associates in letters falsely advocating opposition to climate change legislation. As an update to this controversy, investigators have recently found more letters sent to members of Congress. The Washington Post has copies of the letters.

read in full

Public Citizen Launches Don' to Highlight Citizens United Case

Public Citizen launched a campaign to bring attention to the potentially significant consequences of the Citizens United case, which the Supreme Court will rehear very soon on Sept. 9. Public Citizen warns that the Court may "roll back - a century's worth of legal precedents designed to curb corporate influence over federal elections."

read in full

McCain and Feingold Introduce a Bill to Replace the FEC

Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) introduced a bill (S.1648) on Aug. 7 to replace the current Federal Election Commission (FEC) with a new three member administrative body, called the Federal Election Administration. The measure would replace the current six member bipartisan FEC with a three member agency. The bill is the latest version of a similar proposal which was first introduced in 2003, but no congressional action has ever taken place.

read in full

Two More Ethics Waivers

Two more ethics waivers have been issued to White House associate counsels, permitting Chris Weideman and Jonathan Kravis to continue working on issues involving former President George W. Bush. A White House blog post announced that "authorization is needed because President Bush's counsel this summer joined a firm at which the two Associate Counsels formerly worked.

read in full

Forged Letter Scandal Highlights Need for Greater Disclosure

In June, Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) received a letter that was supposedly authored by Creciendo Juntos, a nonprofit group in his district. The letter urged him to oppose the American Clean Energy and Security Act, a bill designed to combat climate change. Perriello's office also received similar letters on letterhead from the local NAACP chapter. These letters turned out to be fake; they were sent by a lobbying firm hired by a trade group representing coal producers and power companies. Government ethics and transparency watchdog organizations responded, saying that using forged letters as part of a lobbying campaign is outrageous misconduct that harms the legislative process and highlights the need for increased disclosure.

read in full

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.

read in full

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.

read in full

Real Truth About Obama Again Denied Request for Preliminary Injunction

In a case from the 2008 campaign, the Real Truth About Obama (RTAO) lost its bid for a preliminary injunction. RTAO is a 527 organization that wanted to run ads examining then presidential candidate Barack Obama's position on abortion and other policy issues.

read in full

Proposed IRS Rules Address Ranking of Official Pursuing Church Tax Inquiries

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has proposed rules that would give the Director of Exempt Organizations the authority to pursue church tax inquiries. This became a big issue when a lawsuit, United States v. Living Word Christian Center, was filed challenging the IRS’ assertion of what officials were high ranking enough to initiate church tax inquiries. The federal district court in that case ruled that the Director of Exempt Organizations Examinations was not a high enough ranking official to initiate the inquiries.

read in full


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...

read in full

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...

read in full
more resources