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

Group Asks FEC if Federal Election Law Preempts State Robocall Laws

Robocalls – automated phone messages – are one of the least expensive methods that political candidates use to reach voters. However, restrictions on unsolicited calls have complicated efforts by candidates who want to use political robocalls. While political robocalls are exempt from the national "do not call" registry, some states have implemented restrictions on them. A political organization is now asking whether these state laws run afoul of federal law.

read in full

Midnight Regulations Roundup

The Obama administration continues to chip away at the Bush administration’s midnight regulations campaign. Obama agencies took action on two more Bush-era midnight regulations this week and a third last week.

read in full

FEC Ruling Could Block State Laws on Robocalls

Robocalls, automated phone messages, are exempt from the national "do not call" registry. However, some states have implemented restrictions on robocalls. Some states require that a live operator talk first before connecting to the recording, while Arkansas and Wyoming have even banned them.

read in full

Many Agree Lobbying Policies May Not Actually Reduce Corruption

The most recent effort to curb lobbyists' influence, excluding registered lobbyists from federal advisory panels, continues to get press coverage since first announced in September. The Washington Post predicts that it, "may turn out to be the most far-reaching lobbying rule change so far from President Obama, who also has sought to restrict the ability of lobbyists to get jobs in his administration and to negotiate over stimulus contracts."

read in full

Should Religious Organizations be required to Disclose Their Spending on Lobbying?

Earlier this month, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) suggested that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) look into the work of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for their extensive lobbying on the health care bill. Woolsey charged the work "was more than mere advocacy."

read in full

Lawmakers Use Statements Written by Lobbyists, Is Congress Just Lazy?

The New York Times found that more than a dozen members of Congress used almost indistinguishable talking points on health care reform ghostwritten by lobbyists. Lobbyists representing a biotech firm drafted separate language for Democrats and for Republicans. "The lobbyists, employed by Genentech and by two Washington law firms, were remarkably successful in getting the statements printed in the Congressional Record under the names of different members of Congress."

read in full

Study Reveals the Focus on Lobbyists Could be Flawed

According to a study conducted by OMB Watch and the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), 1,418 federally registered lobbyists "deregistered" with Congress in the second quarter of 2009 (between April and June). This is a considerably higher rate than that seen in the average reporting period, when a few hundred lobbyists terminate their active status. The groups cautioned that this finding does not necessarily mean that the Obama administration's policies on lobbyists are leading to fewer outside influences on government policy, or that those policies are creating more transparency.

read in full

Senate Passes Appropriations Bill, Including Removing LSC Restrictions

The Senate finally passed the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill for FY2010, which includes funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). Importantly, it removes some flawed speech restrictions on grant recipients' non federal funds.

read in full

Federal Lobbyists have Increasingly Terminated Their Registrations

OMB Watch and the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) have found that lobbyists have began terminating their formal registrations at significantly higher rates than usual. The OMB Watch-CRP press release states that there have been "1,418 'deregistrations' of federally registered lobbyists during the second quarter of 2009, a marked increase for any reporting period during all of 2008 and 2009.

read in full

Common Cause Reports on Possible Ramifications of Citizens United Case

The Supreme Court may soon decide the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (FEC) case, which could drastically change elections with an increased amount of corporate political spending. In preparation for the outcome, Common Cause has released a report titled, "Corporate Democracy: Potential fallout from a Supreme Court decision on Citizens United."

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