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

Over 40 Briefs Filed In Citizens United

As the Supreme Court prepares to potentially alter the campaign finance system, over 41 briefs have been filed to weigh in on the Citizens United case. BNA Money and Politics ($$) considers the brief that stands out the most was filed by the AFL-CIO, which called for elimination of the ban on corporate and union funding of electioneering communications.

read in full

Judge Rules New Mexico Nonprofits Are Not Political Committees

A federal court ruled that New Mexico state officials were wrong to order two nonprofits to register as political committees and disclose the funding of mailers the groups sent out two months before the 2008 primary. The New Mexico Independent reports that the judge found that the materials were not unambiguously campaign related. "Therefore, she wrote, the nonprofits were not subject to a state law that would have required the nonprofits to register as a political committee."

read in full

Just Don't Call Yourself a Lobbyist

Business Week reports that, "just because a new President vowed to change business-as-usual in Washington and Congress heightened scrutiny," not much has really changed, except perhaps for the terminology. "At a time when lobbying is under assault, the most effective practitioner is sometimes someone who technically isn't a lobbyist."

read in full

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.

read in full

Procedural Issue Ends IRS Exam into Possible Partisan Intervention

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has closed an investigation into Warroad Community Church in Warroad, Minnesota regarding a sermon the pastor delivered that criticized both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. According to the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), the IRS began an audit of the church in August 2008, and the IRS has now stated "that it is closing its examination of the sermons due to a procedural problem."

read in full

Supplemental Briefs Filed in Citizens United Case

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) and Citizens United have filed their supplemental briefs in Citizens United v. FEC. On June 29 the Supreme Court ordered a rehearing of the case to address whether the Court should overturn two previous rulings. One is the decision in Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce, ruling that a state ban on corporate spending in election campaigns does not violate the First Amendment. And secondly, McConnell v. FEC, upholding the ban on corporate and labor union spending for electioneering communications.

read in full

Advocates Say New Recovery Act Lobbying Guidance Doesn’t Go Far Enough

On July 24, Peter Orszag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), released further guidance that amends restrictions on lobbying for Recovery Act funds. The document states that it is meant "to supersede all prior written OMB and other agency guidance on the subject." Despite the adjustments within the guidance, which advocates note is a significant step in the right direction, many say the changes do not go far enough to prompt disclosure of all lobbying and other contacts associated with Recovery Act spending.

read in full

Senate Set to Lift Legal Services Corporation Restrictions

On June 25, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill that increases funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in FY 2010 and drops some speech restrictions on legal aid grant recipients that have been in place since 1996. The Senate version of the bill increases legal aid services by $10 million over FY 2009 levels, but it contains $35 million less than the Obama administration's request. The House version of the bill has $40 million more than the Senate version, but it continues a number of speech restrictions dropped by the Senate bill.

read in full

FEC to Consider Advisory on Political Committee Status

On July 28 the Federal Election Commission (FEC) will consider a draft advisory opinion in response to a request from a consulting company called The Black Rock Group (BRG).

read in full

DOJ Withdraws Appeal Involving Pledge Requirement

The Department of Justice has temporarily withdrawn the government's appeal of a federal court injunction prohibiting enforcement of the anti-prostitution pledge under the U.S. Global AIDS Policy. The pledge was enacted as part of the U.S. Global AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act of 2003, requiring organizations that receive federal funds under the Act to pledge their "opposition to prostitution." In 2005, the Alliance for Open Society International and Pathfinder International filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the policy, arguing that it violated the First Amendment.

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