Page 1 - Public Citizen News November-December 2013

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Public Citizen celebrates milestones in effort
to overturn
Citizens United
,
page 6
Compounding pharmacies or big drugmakers?,
page 8
see
Briefing
, page 4
see
Visibility
, page 5
INSIDE
Vol. 33, No. 6 • November/December 2013
November/December 2013
Nonprofit Org.
US POSTAGE
PAID
Frederick, MD
Permit No. 435
1600 20th St. NW, Washington, DC 20009
NEWS
see
Trade
, page 16
Photo Courtesy of Columbia Law School. Photographer: Jay Mallin
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) (at the podium) opens the Oct. 30 briefing on Capitol Hill
about corporate disclosure of political spending. Other experts participating in the Public
Citizen-organized briefing included Pat Doherty of the New York State Comptroller’s
Office (far left) and professor John Coates of Harvard Law School (left, next to the
podium). Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) (far right) also took part.
By Kelly Ngo
“Disclosure of corporate po-
litical spending has, in my mind,
very clear value for our democ-
racy. It comes in the form of
transparency,” said Sen. Robert
Menendez (D-N.J.), at an Oct. 30
panel discussion on Capitol Hill
organized by Public Citizen. “It
comes by cleaning up campaign
finance, and keeping the elec-
tions process fair and free of su-
per-funded outside influence.”
Menendez and other speak-
ers at the briefing, held before
a standing-room-only crowd,
made a strong case for a Securi-
ties and Exchange Commission
(SEC) rule that would require
publicly traded companies to
disclose their political spending.
Public Citizen’s push for this
rule started roughly two years
ago when 10 corporate law pro-
fessors filed a petition with the
SEC asking the agency to require
companies that are publicly
traded to disclose any corporate
money being spent on politics to
its shareholders. Working with
a wide array of investors, labor
and transparency groups in what
is known as the Corporate Re-
form Coalition (CRC), Public Citi-
zen has propelled the petition for
rulemaking to the forefront of
the SEC’s and the public’s atten-
tion. More than 640,000 people
have submitted comments fa-
voring the rule to the SEC.
Hammering home a point that
Demanding Disclosure
Briefing Emphasizes Need to Inform About Corporate Political Spending
Lawsuit Presses for Improved Rear Visibility in Vehicles
By Ben Somberg
Greg Gulbransen, a pediatri-
cian in Syosset, N.Y., was just
going outside to move his SUV in
his driveway. Minutes later, his
life would be changed forever.
He looked through the rearview
mirror and the side mirrors, but
there was something they could
not show him: His 2-year-old
son, Cameron, in his pajamas,
had followed his father out of the
house and was directly behind
the vehicle. When Gulbransen
backed up, he ran over and killed
his own son.
That was 10 years ago. Since
then, Gulbransen has dedicated
himself to stopping the same
tragedy from happening to
others.
Two children are killed each
week in “backover” accidents,
and dozens of others are injured.
The auto industry has developed
a pretty good fix: the backup
camera. They have become in-
creasingly popular in new cars,
although often they are available
only as part of luxury options
packages. For now, they are not
required equipment.
Gulbransen worked with oth-
er advocates, including Public
Citizen, to persuade Congress to
order the Department of Trans-
portation (DOT) to address the
problem of inadequate rear vis-
ibility. Many lawmakers were
horrified when they heard about
the lack of visibility behind their
own vehicles. It took a few years
of campaigning, but in Febru-
ary 2008, Democrats and Re-
publicans in Congress came to-
gether and passed the Cameron
By Angela Bradbery
The mid-November New York
Times story was explosive: Just
as the Obama administration
was pushing other countries to
concede to corporate demands
and complete the Trans-Pacific
Partnership agreement (TPP) by
year’s end, nearly half the mem-
bers of the U.S. House of Repre-
sentatives were signaling their
opposition to granting Fast Track
trade authority. Because the Fast
Track process would delegate
away to the executive branch
much of Congress’ constitutional
authority over trade, the White
House views it as crucial to get-
ting the increasingly controver-
sial TPP through Congress.
The news hit the TPP negotia-
tions like a shock wave. For the
other countries, the only thing
worse than conceding to long-
opposed U.S. demands that
Almost Half
The U.S. House
Opposes
Fast Track