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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Another Shameful Attack on Our Public Protections

By Gary D. Bass, OMB Watch
Simultaneously published July 21, 2010 in the Huffington Post
There they go again. Amid some of the most spectacular market failures the country has ever seen, business lobbyists and their friends in Congress want to reinvigorate their discredited deregulatory agenda.

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Will USDA's Food Safety Agency Ever Have a Leader?

by Matthew Madia, OMB Watch
Published on The Fine Print (June 3, 2010) and Food Safety News (June 7, 2010)

Food Safety News reported June 3 that there is no timetable for moving the nomination of Elisabeth Hagen to the Senate floor. Hagen, currently the chief medical officer at USDA, is the nominee to lead the Food Safety and Inspection Service, the USDA agency responsible for ensuring the safety of meat and poultry products.

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Could These Corporate Failures Have Been Prevented?

By Gary D. Bass, OMB Watch
Simultaneously published May 20, 2010 in The Huffington Post
In recent months, failures at BP's Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico facility injured and likely killed 11 oil rig workers and spawned an unprecedented environmental catastrophe; an explosion at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia killed 29 miners; and a recall of millions of Toyota vehicles occurred after an acceleration defect was linked to injuries and deaths.

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White House Sidelines the Public in Coal Ash Debate

By Gary D. Bass, OMB Watch
Simultaneously published April 2, 2010 in The Huffington Post
On Dec. 22, 2008, an earthen dam holding back a pond of coal ash in Kingston, Tenn., broke, sending 5.4 million cubic yards of toxic goo cascading across the landscape. That's enough to fill the White House from top to bottom 200 times over.

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How to improve Obama's ethics and lobbying executive order

By Gary D. Bass, OMB Watch
Published May 6, 2009 in the DC Examiner
President Barack Obama’s effort to eliminate the corrupting influence of special interests should be applauded, but it needs some refinement.

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The Case for Sunlight

By Gary D. Bass, OMB Watch
Published September 25, 2008 on, the website of the Columbia Journalism Review
Only a few days ago, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson asked Congress to pass legislation that would allow his department to use $700 billion to purchase mountains of bad debt. That's 5 percent of the nation's total annual economic output, or to put it another way, that's even more than what has been spent on the war in Iraq. The magnitude of the funds requisitioned is matched only by the administration's requested level of unchecked power and opacity in how it would execute this historic market intervention.

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How Bush Undermines Government Regulation

By Rick Melberth and Matt Madia, OMB Watch
Published January 31, 2008 at
Under the guise of ensuring the cost-effectiveness of government regulations, the Bush administration has expanded the role of cost-benefit analysis in ways that threaten to undermine each and every policy decision agencies make to protect the health and safety of Americans.

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Election Coverage of Nonprofits Misses the Point

by Gary D. Bass, OMB Watch
Published on
December 6, 2007
In an editorial on Dec. 4, The Washington Post concluded "the growing involvement of nonprofits in electoral politics … is a troubling and dangerous development." The next day, the Post ran a front page headline: "Nonprofits Become a Force in Primaries." Like the editorial, the article describes the work of Common Sense Issues, Inc., a 501(c)(4) organization that is operating "Trust Huckabee," but also describes the partisan activities of other 501(c)(4) groups. Reading the article and editorial, it is clear that the Post is concerned that nonprofits are becoming back door conduits for exceeding campaign contribution limits and, as they do so, mask who is bankrolling the activities. The Post also suggests that some groups, like Common Sense Issues, might be gaming the system by structuring their activities to minimally meet the requirements, but not the spirit, of the law.

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Regulatory Proposals from Industry Don't Address Underlying Problems

By Gary D. Bass and Rick Melberth, OMB Watch
Published on
October 31, 2007
In light of stories of tainted lettuce, lead paint on toys, disease-causing flavorings in microwave popcorn, safety concerns with cough medicine, and other hazards, many industries and business associations are proposing new regulations they hope will restore consumer confidence. Many of these proposals call for new quality assurance programs and stronger regulation of foreign imports. Some of the approaches even call for strengthening federal agencies' regulatory powers or increasing their budgets, many of which have been cut to the bone during the Bush administration's business-friendly flurry of dismantling public protections. But most of these industry-led efforts are palliatives and do not solve the underlying problems.

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Advocacy Is Not a Dirty Word

By Gary D. Bass, OMB Watch
Published in the November 1, 2007 edition of The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Reprinted with permission
Lobbying has increasingly become a dirty word. It is associated with backroom deals negotiated by those with lots of money. It is unseemly, made all the more ugly by the likes of the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

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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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