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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Charities Challenge Anti-Terrorism Law

The Supreme Court heard arguments today (Feb. 23) in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, a case challenging the constitutionality of the definition of material support. Human rights and humanitarian aid charities say the law is so broad that it squelches their speech and advocacy work. The definition of material support includes services, training, expert advice, and could criminalize their work even when they have peaceful goals.

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The Problem Remains Money in Politics

Global Integrity, an international nonprofit organization that tracks global corruption trends, released the Global Integrity Index: 2009. The report analyzed 35 countries' ability to counter corruption, and the tools available to citizens to hold the government accountable.

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Webcast Thursday: The Administration's Approach to Lobbyists

The Washington Post reports that, "President Obama is escalating his war on K Street, proposing a series of tough restrictions a year after he first issued policies aimed at tamping down the influence of lobbyists." On Thursday, Feb. 18 OMB Watch will host a webcast where panelists will discuss a review of the administration's efforts to reform lobbying and ethics during the past year.

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Letter Sent to Congress in Support of Civil Access to Justice Act

Over 150 national, state and local groups, including OMB Watch signed on to a letter supporting passage of the Civil Access to Justice Act (S.718 / H.R. 3764). The legislation was introduced last year to reauthorize the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) and expand access to civil legal aid.

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Groups Call on Obama to Reform Faith-Based Office

OMB Watch, along with religious and public policy organizations, sent President Barack Obama a letter on the anniversary of the Executive Order establishing the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The groups asked Obama to, "take additional actions to prevent government-funded religious discrimination and protect social service beneficiaries from unwelcome proselytizing."

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President and Congress Continue to Respond to Citizens United

Earlier this week Norm Eisen, special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform, wrote a blog post defending President Obama's call for legislation restricting foreign corporations from getting involved in federal elections. As evidence, Eisen references news reports that discuss a lobbying campaign on behalf of subsidiaries of foreign corporations.

read in full Seeks Unlimited Individual Contributions for 527 Groups

Almost two years ago, a 527 organization called, asked for a court ruling that would have blocked the Federal Election Commission (FEC) from enforcing limits on contributions to the group. On Jan. 27, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard oral arguments in the case. The court must consider whether the group should be subject to an annual limit on donations from individuals and comply with disclosure requirements.

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Obama Seeks More Lobbyist Disclosure

During President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, he said he came to Washington "to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; to give our people the government they deserve. [. . .] That's why we've excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs, or seats on federal boards and commissions." However, as a group of nonprofits have recently noted, in the process of attempting to limit the influence of special interests, the administration has successfully "[excluded] the voices of citizen- and community-based organizations."

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Citizens United Aftermath

Almost a week has passed since the Supreme Court issued the very significant ruling in the Citizens United case. There has been nonstop commentary and discussion of the possible ramifications. During a news conference, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) announced plans to hold hearings and introduce legislation to curtail the effects of the decision. One suggestion from the lawmakers would require shareholders to vote before a corporation could spend money in elections.

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Citizens United: The Supreme Court Decision and Its Potential Impacts

The long-awaited decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was issued on Jan. 21. With a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that corporations and unions may now directly and expressly advocate for the election or defeat of candidates for federal office, as long as they do not coordinate their efforts with campaigns or political parties. Many predict the impacts of the decision will be immense and far-reaching, both for nonprofit voter engagement and political discourse as a whole.

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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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