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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Super (Loud) PACs and Soft-spoken Issue Advocates

Outside groups are spending nearly 1,300 percent more on broadcast advertising for the 2012 election than they did in 2008, according to an analysis released on Jan. 30. This is the clearest demonstration yet that Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has fundamentally rewritten the rules for political spending.

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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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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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AU Asks IRS to Investigate Florida Church for Electioneering Against Gay Mayoral Candidate

Americans United for Separation of Church and State asked the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to investigate a Florida church for improper electioneering. Americans United filed the complaint against Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, as a result of the church posting a sign on its property that read, "No Homo Mayor," in an apparent attempt to deter people from voting for Craig Lowe, an openly gay Gainesville mayoral candidate.

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U.S. Supreme Court Unleashes Money Pit by Striking Down Corporate Spending Limits in Citizens United Ruling

money pit

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2010—The long-awaited decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was issued today. With a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a 20-year-old precedent, which had stated that corporations can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to pay for their own campaign-related advertisements. Justices also struck down parts of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, also known as the McCain-Feingold bill, which prohibited unions and corporations from running issue ads before primary and general elections. OMB Watch is disappointed in today's decision and fears it will lead to moneyed interests drowning out the voices of citizens and smaller advocacy organizations.

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Nonprofits Play Role in Legislative Push to Remove Barriers to Voting

Nonprofits are playing a key role in a recent legislative push to remove barriers from the voting process. Various organizations have kept voting issues at the forefront by continuously informing the public about policies and tactics that disenfranchise voters. These organizations' efforts focus on military voting concerns, online voter registration, and election reform as a means to ensure that all citizens are able to vote as easily as possible.

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Recent Push for Bipartisan Voter Reform Measures

Recent efforts to reform and modernize the voter system have received bipartisan support. The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, which would allow overseas troops and American citizens to access voter information online, passed Congress last week with bipartisan support from legislators who "decried an antiquated voting system that left as many as one out of four overseas ballots uncounted," according to Roll Call.

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Group Formed to Modify Voter Registration

The Committee to Modernize Voter Registration has been formed to work on overhauling the nation's voter registration system. The group consists of bipartisan members led by co-chairs Trevor Potter, general counsel for Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) presidential campaigns, and Marc Elias, lawyer for Senator Al Franken (D-MN) during the recount. The two charge that their campaign experiences have led them to believe that the country needs to move toward a more automated registration system.

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Advocacy Groups File Suit over Violations of Voter Registration Law

A coalition of voting rights groups has filed lawsuits against two states, Indiana and New Mexico, for failing to adequately implement a section of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), commonly known as the Motor Voter law. The groups charge that the states' public assistance agencies and motor vehicle offices have not met their responsibilities to offer residents the opportunity to register to vote.

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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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