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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The Other Blackwaters

By Matt Lewis, OMB Watch
Published October 12, 2007 at
In the wake of the Blackwater shooting scandal, P.W. Singer of the Brookings Institution is making the case that private contractors harm military counterinsurgency campaigns. The same could be said of privatization of government services back home.

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Bush's Budget Bluster

By Matt Lewis and Adam Hughes, OMB Watch
Published August 2, 2007 at
The debate over Iraq has overshadowed an important, and bitter, budget fight brewing between Congress and the president, who has threatened to veto a host of modest, responsible congressional spending proposals. With the battle lines drawn, Congress can make clear with whom they stand: an out-of-touch president and a bankrupt ideology, or the best interests of the American public.

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Citizens Have a Right to Know About Lobbying Efforts

May 16, 2007
By Gary D. Bass
Special to Roll Call
Reprinted with permission
In a May 10 Roll Call Guest Observer ("Citizens Don't Need 'Protection' From Lobbying"), Douglas Johnson and Caroline Fredrickson posed a question: "Do ordinary citizens need to be protected from groups that may urge them to contact their elected Representatives in Congress about some pending bill?" The authors were referring to H.R. 2093, the latest proposal to shine a light on who is behind big-money, federal grass-roots lobbying expenditures.

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Look closely at the grassroots

By Gary D. Bass, OMB Watch
Published in the March 19, 2007 edition of The Hill
We see and hear the ads all the time: "Call your senators today and tell them to oppose this bill!" Have you ever wondered where those messages come from, who pays for them and who creates them? Sometimes, the groups sponsoring the television commercials, newspaper spreads, or evening phone calls will come right out and tell you exactly who they are. Often, however, those behind such communications, called grassroots lobbying, don't provide us with the information we need to figure out who the messenger really is.

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Paralysis: Real Consequences, for Real People

By Gary D. Bass, OMB Watch
Published in the March-April 2007 edition of The Environmental Forum
More than just a power grab, the changes President Bush implemented with his newest amendments to Executive Order 12866 and his bulletin requiring the Office of Management and Budget to review agency guidance documents have larger consequences. The requirement to conduct market failure assessments adds more layers of analysis for agencies — a paralysis by analysis. The requirement to have political appointees oversee all steps in the regulatory process allows politics to trump science and shapeshift the regulatory process in ways that can benefit regulated interests. The requirement for OMB review of thousands of agency guidance documents means massive delay in providing advice to regulated industries and further shifts agency discretion to the White House. Each of these actions upsets the constitutional balance between Congress and the presidency, in pursuit of the administration's goal of a "unitary executive."

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Bush Executive Order Will Make It Harder to Protect the Public

By Gary D. Bass and Rick Melberth, OMB Watch
Published February 27, 2007 at
President Bush last month issued revisions to an executive order that further centralizes regulatory power within the White House budget office. His actions, nearly unnoticed at the time, set in motion changes that could further delay or hinder public health, safety, environmental, and civil rights protections.

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No New Taxes? Don't Read His Lips

By Adam Hughes and Craig Jennings, OMB Watch
Published February 23, 2007 at
President Bush is planning on raising taxes, but he won't come out and say it. In fact, he has continued to loudly proclaim he can balance the federal budget by 2012 and not raise taxes one cent. His rhetoric on the budget is misleading, if not outright deceitful, precisely when having an honest discussion is paramount to implementing policies to confront the long-term fiscal challenges our nation faces.

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All PART Of The Game

By Gary Bass and Adam Hughes, OMB Watch
Published March 25, 2005 at
The Program Assessment Rating Tool, or PART, is a system in the President's Management Agenda that's supposed to be used to evaluate a program's effectiveness so decisions about expansion and funding can be more accurate. But a little digging reveals that Fiscal Year 2006 budget cuts were made based on ideology -- not on a measured, objective system. Gary Bass and Adam Hughes of OMB Watch explain.

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Bush Should Be Tough on Budgets - Not People

By Adam Hughes, Budget Policy Analyst, OMB Watch
Indiana's Republican Governor Mitch Daniels, former Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director under President Bush, made a startling announcement Jan. 18: he said he wants to raise taxes in his state.

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2005 Op-eds on Government Secrecy and Freedom of Information

Read the best published op-eds on the need for open government and threats to information access contributed by OMB Watch,, and our allies. Permission is granted for free reprinting of any of these articles, provided it credits the author and includes this attribution: "© 2003-2005, distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services." Read op-eds.

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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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