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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Memo Released on Citizens United Bill

After much hullabaloo, more details have been revealed about Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Chris Van Hollen's (D-MD) legislative response to counter the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC. Even though it has not been formally introduced, a memo has been disclosed outlining the bill.

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Public Citizen Works to End the Revolving Door

Public Citizen has asked 47 retiring lawmakers to sign a pledge not to take a lobbying job upon leaving Congress. The pledge states, "Upon leaving Congress, I will not accept employment or a leadership position for two years with any business that lobbies, issues lobby communications or has hired lobbyists to lobby my office, committee or staff during my last term."

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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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FEC Announces Rulemaking Schedule to Address Court Rulings

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) released a proposed rulemaking schedule to write new campaign finance regulations in response to multiple recent court decisions. The most predominant cases are the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC and the U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in EMILY's List v. FEC.

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Grassroots Lobbying Disclosure Laws and the First Amendment

On April 15, the Institute for Justice (IJ) filed a lawsuit on behalf of two volunteer groups challenging part of Washington State's grassroots lobbying disclosure law as a violation of their First Amendment rights to free speech, assembly, and petition. In Many Cultures, One Message v. Clements, the groups claim that having to register as grassroots lobbying organizations is burdensome, and revealing information about their financial supporters could leave donors open to threats from opponents.

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Preparations for Citizens United Response Continues in Light of Court Vacancy

Many are predicting that because of the Citizens United decision, the issue of campaign finance may become a hot topic during the confirmation of the Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice John Paul Stevens. President Obama has made some public statements indicating that he would like a nominee who also disapproves of the case. Stevens authored the 90 page dissent in that case.

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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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Should Cell Phone Companies Have Control Over Nonprofits' Messaging?

Over two years ago, we reported that Verizon Wireless prohibited the content in a text message campaign from Naral Pro-Choice America because they claimed, "it had the right to block 'controversial or unsavory' text messages." The issue of whether or not wireless phone companies can restrict what nonprofits say in a text message to its members has come up again.  An opinion article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy discusses these issues, written by Vincent Stehle a philanthropic consultant.

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Groups Continue to Look For Ways Around Campaign Finance Disclosure

Rick Hasen has an interesting column at Slate, discussing efforts to chip away at campaign finance regulations. Hasen suggests it will only get worse. "Opponents of reasonable regulation have a new target: trying to keep the flow of campaign money secret." For example, Citizens United submitted an advisory opinion request to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), asking if it qualifies for the "media exemption" under the Federal Campaign Finance Act.

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On March 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a unanimous opinion in v. Federal Election Commission. The court decided that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) could not limit donations to independent political groups that will spend money to support or oppose candidates. This is the first major court ruling to apply the U.S. Supreme Court's holding in Citizens United v. FEC.

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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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