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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Americans United Files IRS Complaint Against L.A. Church for Electioneering Through Social Media

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service against Oasis Church in Los Angeles. Americans United alleges that the church encouraged visitors to its website and followers on Twitter to support a specific political candidate.

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House Hearings Highlight Criticisms of DISCLOSE Act

During the first House hearings on the DISCLOSE Act, disagreements and debate arose over the scope and potential impacts of a bill that sponsors say is designed to create new disclosure requirements for various corporate entities that are promoting or opposing candidates for federal office. As Congress continues to move forward with the bill, controversy will likely follow.

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Committee Holds Second Hearing on DISCLOSE Act

The House Administration Committee held its second hearing on the DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 5175), a bill that would require increased reporting of political campaign spending. House Administration Committee Chairman Robert Brady (D-PA) said, "The bill does not play political favorites. It applies alike to corporations, labor unions, trade associations and nonprofit advocacy organizations."

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House Administration Committee Holds Hearing on DISCLOSE Act

The Committee on House Administration, chaired by Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA) held the first hearing on the DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 5175), and has already announced a second hearing on the bill scheduled for May 11. In his opening statement, Brady said, "The DISCLOSE Act recognizes that American voters are at minimum entitled to full and accurate reporting of campaign spending so that voters may know who is attempting to influence their vote."

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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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Supreme Court Hears Arguments on State Disclosure of Petition Signatures

On April 28, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Doe v. Reed, a lawsuit filed by a political action committee in Washington State. The case could decide whether public disclosure of referendum petition signatures is permitted or if signing such a petition is a private political act protected by the First Amendment.

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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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After Much Delay, the DISCLOSE Act is Introduced

In front of the Supreme Court, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced the introduction of legislation meant to diminish the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The much anticipated bill is titled as expected, the DISCLOSE Act, which stands for Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections. Four Democrats signed on as co-sponsors, including Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Al Franken (D-MN).

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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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Supreme Court Denies Review in Challenge to FEC Rules

The Supreme Court sent back to a lower court a case originating from the 2008 presidential election, challenging Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosure rules. A 527 organization, the Real Truth About Obama (RTAO), wanted to sponsor ads covering President Obama's record on abortion and other issues. After the group lost their appeal of a federal district court decision, RTAO requested the Supreme Court to review the case.

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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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