November 2012 media hits

Public Citizen is mentioned, or its experts quoted, every day in print and broadcast media around the world. Below are links to some of the recent stories in which we have appeared.

Pharmac vulnerable in trade talks

11/29/2012
The New Zealand Herald: Pharmac vulnerable in trade talks - However, Lori Wallach says that the new text on transparency, submitted to the negotiating parties in September, was apparently so modestly tweaked that they struggled to tell the difference.

As trade rulings against U.S. mount, backlash builds against WTO

11/29/2012
McClatchy: As trade rulings against U.S. mount, backlash builds against WTO - Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch division, a consumer advocacy organization, predicted that the tuna case will go a long way in helping the public understand the expansive reach of the WTO.

5 ways government undermines democracy

11/29/2012
Salon: 5 ways government undermines democracy - “I’ve felt like Diogenes looking for an intelligent Republican and never found one—I am hoping that will change,” said Craig Holman, Public Citizen’s Capitol Hill lobbyist, who puts the blame on the GOP for blocking Obama’s appointments. “But I’ve also been very critical of Obama for not taking on these fights. I’ve been asking Obama since 2009 to replace these commissioners and take on [GOP Senate leader] Mitch McConnell.”

Ethics Commission to consider taking over watchdog job from Austin prosecutors

11/29/2012
American Statesman: Ethics Commission to consider taking over watchdog job from Austin prosecutors - “After all these years of inaction, they want to go and take away the only effective ethics enforcement Texas has and put it in an agency that has done almost nothing,” said Tom Smith, Texas director of Public Citizen.

Advocates Laud President Obama's Signing of Federal Whistleblower Reforms

11/29/2012
Op Ed News: Advocates Laud President Obama's Signing of Federal Whistleblower Reforms - Keith Wrightson, Worker Safety and Health Advocate for Public Citizen's Congress Watch, commented: "President Obama and the 112th Congress have made a significant contribution to how civil employees will be treated when they identify workplace hazards. Civil employees can now live without fear of retaliation from their supervisors when disclosures are made."

Can a “Dracula Strategy” Bring Trans-Pacific Partnership into the Sunlight?

11/29/2012
Common Dreams: Can a “Dracula Strategy” Bring Trans-Pacific Partnership into the Sunlight? - A highly secretive trade agreement aims to penalize countries that protect workers, consumers, and the environment. Luckily, the growing opposition goes beyond the usual trade justice suspects.

FDA asked to reinspect compounding pharmacies

11/29/2012
Tnmed: FDA asked to reinspect compounding pharmacies - Public Citizen on Thursday called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reinspect the 16 compounding pharmacies that received formal warning letters over the past decade in light of the failure to prevent the fungal meningitis outbreak this year.  

Deconstructing California's economy

11/29/2012
San Diego Reader: Deconstructing California's economy - A new report, “The Price of Inaction: A Comprehensive Look at the Costs of Injuries and Fatalities in California’s Construction Industry,” from the DC-based public advocacy group, Public Citizen, shows that workplace accidents in the construction industry are a major drag on the state's economy.

Activists press SEC to expose political giving of US companies

11/29/2012
The Hill: Activists press SEC to expose political giving of US companies - “We clearly want a chairperson to promote the public as well as the shareholders’ interests. Having disclosure of political contributions is very much in favor of the shareholders’ interests,” said Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen.

Reps. Maxine Waters, Ed Royce in line for House leadership posts

11/29/2012
The Advocate-Messenger: Reps. Maxine Waters, Ed Royce in line for House leadership posts -  With her ideological opposite, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), wielding the gavel and setting the committee agenda, "I see fireworks ahead," said Bart Naylor, financial policy advocate for Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group.

EPA Suspends BP

11/29/2012
Corporate Crime Reporter: EPA Suspends BP - “BP’s recent felony guilty pleas for the deaths of 11 people and the dumping of 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico demanded such an action,” said Public Citizen’s Tyson Slocum.

Reps. Maxine Waters, Ed Royce in line for House leadership posts

11/28/2012
The Los Angeles Times: Reps. Maxine Waters, Ed Royce in line for House leadership posts - With her ideological opposite, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), wielding the gavel and setting the committee agenda, "I see fireworks ahead," said Bart Naylor, financial policy advocate for Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group. Waters, in a letter to Democratic colleagues, declared herself "ready to defend" the 2010 overhaul of financial regulations from Republican attack.

Anti-trade camp running debate

11/28/2012
New Zealand Herald: Anti-trade camp running debate - Kelsey has joined up with other anti-trade activists such as Lori Wallach, from Public Citizen, and Sanya Reid Smith, from the Third World Network, to host media seminars in Wellington today and tomorrow in Auckland. The media seminars - no photographs please - are to hear from "International Experts in New Zealand for the 15th round of TPPA Negotiations".

Wealth in America's heartland

11/28/2012
Capital.gr: Wealth in America's heartland - Sully County, South Dakota, has the highest per capita personal income increase over the past five years of all counties. Why is America's wealth shifting from urban areas to the heartland for the first time in hundreds of years? Tyson Slocum, Public Citizen and Dan Mitchell, Cato Institute, weigh in.

5 Ways the GOP (and Obama) have undermined our democracy

11/28/2012
AlterNet: 5 Ways the GOP (and Obama) have undermined our democracy - Craig Holman, Public Citizen’s Capitol Hill lobbyist, who puts the blame on the GOP for blocking Obama’s appointments. “But I’ve also been very critical of Obama for not taking on these fights. I’ve been asking Obama since 2009 to replace these commissioners and take on [GOP Senate leader] Mitch McConnell.” Let’s go through key parts of the federal landscape that are supposed to ensure a fairer and better democratic process, and identify what’s stuck in the political mud.

Newt Gingrich and ‘lobbying’: a deeper look

11/28/2012
The Washington Post: Newt Gingrich and ‘lobbying’: a deeper look - Delk ended up at the center of a campaign finance scandal in which Fannie Mae lobbyists organized fundraisers for members of the House Financial Services Committee between 2000 and 2003. The Federal Elections Commission fined the Freddie Mac a record $3.8 million in 2006 after the consumer-rights group Public Citizen exposed the lender’s wrongdoing. Delk insists Gingrich never lobbied for the company. “What he did was provide counsel on public policy issues,” he told Bloomberg. “There was no expectation that he would do any lobbying, and he did not do any lobbying.”

Good riddance, Mary Schapiro?

11/28/2012
Minyanville: Good riddance, Mary Schapiro? - “If the problem is a culture on Wall Street to make money at all costs, with ethics having very little do with it, then I don’t know a way to cure that other than through perp walks and profiles of senior executives adapting to life in prison,” Bart Naylor, Public Citizen’s financial policy advocate and a former investigator for the Senate Banking Committee, tells me.

What is Malaysia doing about stopping foreign investors preventing improvement of livelihood of Malaysians?

11/28/2012
Charles Hector blog: What is Malaysia doing about stopping foreign investors preventing improvement of livelihood of Malaysians? - Ecuador has to pay $589 million in backdated compound interest and half of the costs of the tribunal, making its total penalty around $2.4 billion. The government had annulled a contract with Oxy because it violated a clause that the company would not sell its rights to another firm without permission. The tribunal agreed the violation took place but judged that the annulment was not fair and equitable treatment to the company. (Ben Beachy, Public Citizen Global Trade Watch)

World Trade Organization rules against Canadian clean energy program

11/28/2012
Smart Energy Universe: World Trade Organization rules against Canadian clean energy program - "Only an attack on this sort of job-creating, climate-chaos-combating policy could put the WTO in worse repute than last year’s string of WTO rulings ordering us to gut popular U.S. laws on country-of-origin meat labels, dolphin-safe tuna labels and limits on candy-flavored cigarettes marketed to kids," said Lori Wallach, Public Citizen Global Trade Watch Director. "Combating the climate crisis and transitioning to a clean-energy economy must include relocalizing production and creating green jobs, so having the WTO declare that governments cannot do this is simply intolerable."

Corporation uses NAFTA to sue Canada for $250 million over fracking ban

11/28/2012
Common Dreams: Corporation uses NAFTA to sue Canada for $250 million over fracking ban - Public Citizen, an advocacy organization for the "the people’s voice," explains NAFTA's chapter 11 further: If a company believes that a NAFTA government has violated these new investor rights and protections, it can initiate a binding dispute resolution process for monetary damages before a trade tribunal, offering none of the basic due process or openness guarantees afforded in national courts.

Banker-owned Obama considers corporate sponsorship for second inauguration

11/27/2012
Info Wars: Banker-owned Obama considers corporate sponsorship for second inauguration - Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, a public interest organization, undertook an analysis of the leaked document on investment and explained that the international corporate tribunal would allow corporations to overturn national laws and regulations or demand enormous sums in compensation, with the tribunal “empowered to order payment of unlimited government Treasury funds to foreign investors over TPP claims.”

Investment treaties can prove damn costly

11/27/2012
The Guatemala Times: Investment treaties can prove damn costly - An ICSID tribunal in October awarded a judgment for U.S.- based Occidental Petroleum (Oxy) against Ecuador of $1.8 billion, its largest ever award, in a case taken under the U.S.-Ecuador BIT. In addition, Ecuador has to pay $589 million in backdated compound interest and half of the costs of the tribunal, making its total penalty around $2.4 billion. The government had annulled a contract with Oxy because it violated a clause that the company would not sell its rights to another firm without permission.

Global banks’ annus horribilis

11/27/2012
The New Age: Global banks’ annus horribilis - Public Citizen, a Washington DC-based consumer advocacy group, remarked that this was probably the first time that a major market player had its market-based rate authority removed since Enron, which ranks as one of the world’s most infamous bankruptcies.

Mary Schapiro's departure creates an opportunity for a stronger SEC

11/27/2012
The Nation: Mary Schapiro's departure creates an opportunity for a stronger SEC - “We think that she was slow and unambitious in using the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform to institute strong, important, necessary rules,” Bart Naylor, a former chief of investigations for the Senate Banking Committee and now a financial policy advocate at Public Citizen, told . “We [also] think that she failed to prosecute criminal referrals to the obvious misdeeds on Wall Street that we witnessed during the financial crash. We hope the president will name somebody that is ambitious, aggressive and assertive as her permanent replacement.”

As the anti-Citizens United movement grows, the plutocrats will surely attack

11/27/2012
AlterNet: As the anti-Citizens United movement grows, the plutocrats will surely attack - Hollings persisted undeterred, only to face ridicule and scorn. By 1997, one organization (U.S.PIRG) began backing the amendment, but others such as Common Cause, Public Citizen, and the League of Women Voters kept their distance. The argument then, still made by some today, was that an amendment was so difficult to pass that it amounted to a harmful distraction from goals that were more achievable in the short term.

Why so secretive? The Trans-Pacific Partnership as global coup

11/27/2012
truthout: Why so secretive? The Trans-Pacific Partnership as global coup - Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, a public interest organization, undertook an analysis of the leaked document on investment and explained that the international corporate tribunal would allow corporations to overturn national laws and regulations or demand enormous sums in compensation, with the tribunal “empowered to order payment of unlimited government Treasury funds to foreign investors over TPP claims.”

What inaugural message should Obama send?

11/27/2012
Washington Post Right Turn: What inaugural message should Obama send? - Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, said that were Mr. Obama to accept corporate contributions this time, it would ‘essentially codify this idea that corporations should be financing politics.’ ”

SEC chairwoman behind overhaul is stepping down

11/27/2012
Star Tribune: SEC chairwoman behind overhaul is stepping down - "At a time when we needed an aggressive chairman of the SEC, I saw someone who was not pushing back," said Bart Naylor, an analyst at Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group.

Can arbitration solve your beef with the bank?

11/27/2012
Yahoo! News: Can arbitration solve your beef with the bank? - But a 2007 study by Public Citizen found that California credit card customers lost 94 percent of arbitration cases handled by the National Arbitration Forum, which has since been barred from handling consumer cases by a legal settlement with the state of Minnesota.

Obama seeks corporate money for inauguration

11/27/2012
Press TV: Obama seeks corporate money for inauguration - According to the watchdog group Public Citizen, top executives from Wachovia, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers bundled at least $700,000 in contributions for inauguration events following Obama’s first election. Craig Holman, of Public Citizen, commented that Obama’s readiness to take on corporate money for this event would “essentially codify this idea that corporations should be financing politics."

Obama considering corporate sponsorship of second inauguration

11/27/2012
Breitbart TV: Obama considering corporate sponsorship of second inauguration - Normally, a president’s private fundraising pays for the inaugural festivities. Although Obama claimed to have foresworn corporate donations for his first inaugural, the watchdog group Public Citizen said he received donations from top executives at Wachovia, Goldman Sachs, and Lehman Brothers.

BP settlement: ‘Record US criminal fine,’ but ‘worth a fraction of last year’s profits’

11/19/2012
Taylor Marsh: BP settlement: ‘Record US criminal fine,’ but ‘worth a fraction of last year’s profits’ - Along those lines, from Public Citizen: We’re stunned. This settlement is pathetic. The $4 billion penalty is equivalent to just a fifth of the company’s 2011 profits...Although the government is right to pursue manslaughter charges against two individuals BP employees, the settlement is inadequate to address BP’s repeated criminal conduct. The government must impose more meaningful sanctions. Nothing in this settlement stops BP from continuing to get federal contracts and leases. BP will earn more in annual federal contracts than it will pay in penalties as a result of this.

Why the 2012 election was a vote for democracy

11/19/2012
The Nation: Why the 2012 election was a vote for democracy - That ruling, decried even by Senator John McCain as the “worst decision ever” from the High Court, ended a century of controls over the corporate dominance of politics. The Montana and Colorado votes align those states with California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont—all of which have passed resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

Bill gives fed employees more whistleblower protections

11/19/2012
ISHN: Bill gives fed employees more whistleblower protections - Bill gives fed employees more whistleblower protections - The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) was unanimously passed by the Senate on Tuesday after being approved by the House of Representatives in September. The bill is now on its way to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it into law. “Millions of civil federal employees no longer need live in fear of retaliation for standing up to wrongdoing in the workplace,” said Public Citizen’s Keith Wrightson.

For BP, image restoration is a bigger task than paying billions

11/19/2012
Business Mirror: For BP, image restoration is a bigger task than paying billions - That financial strength led some consumer advocates to complain about the size of Thursday’s settlement. Tyson Slocum, director of public advocacy group Public Citizen’s energy program, said the deal showed “zero deterrence” because BP previously paid a fine and pleaded guilty to a criminal charge from the 2005 Texas refinery explosion that killed 15 people. “The settlement is inadequate to address BP’s repeated criminal conduct,” Slocum said.

JPMorgan energy trading unit punished

11/19/2012
Business Times: JPMorgan energy trading unit punished - Market-based rates allow power traders like JPMorgan to sell electricity at whatever prices the market will bear. If electricity traders lose the authority to trade at market-based rates, they must trade at much lower cost-based or other rates, hurting their trading profits. "This is the first time I can remember, since Enron, that a major market player has had its market-based rate authority removed," said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy programme at Public Citizen, a Washington DC-based consumer advocacy group. Reuters

DePuy, Stryker, Wright hip implant lawsuits

11/19/2012
PR Web: DePuy, Stryker, Wright hip implant lawsuits - Here is part of the statement of concern submitted by Public Citizen’s Health Research Group to a Feb. 15 hearing by the House Subcommittee on Health of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Statement for Subcommittee on Health of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s health subcommittee: “Recent experience with metal-on-metal hip implants, such as the DePuy (Johnson & Johnson) ASR XL Acetabular System (ASR), shows the threat to patients when devices are approved without appropriate premarket clinical testing.

Campaigners say BP's $4.5bn oil spill fine not enough

11/19/2012
Jakarta Globe: Campaigners say BP's $4.5bn oil spill fine not enough - Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's Energy Program, said the settlement would do little to punish or deter BP or other major oil firms. "Nothing in this settlement stops BP from continuing to get federal contracts and leases," he said. "BP will earn more in annual federal contracts than it will pay in penalties as a result of this. That's appalling."

JPMorgan’s trades ensnared by post-Enron regulator zeal

11/19/2012
Businessweek: JPMorgan’s trades ensnared by post-Enron regulator zeal - Even though Wellinghoff denied FERC is targeting financial companies, the investigations are evidence that Wall Street firms have the savvy to game the system, according to Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at Public Citizen, a Washington-based consumer group. “It appears as though Wall Street is playing a significant role in exploiting overly complex market rules,” Slocum said in an interview. Regulators should revoke energy-trading privileges for all companies accused of alleged market manipulation, he said. “That’s the most significant club that FERC can wield.”

Overnight energy: the aftermath of BP's criminal plea

11/19/2012
The Hill: Overnight energy: the aftermath of BP's criminal plea - “We’re stunned. This settlement is pathetic,” said Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s energy program, arguing it won’t serve as a deterrent. “The government must impose more meaningful sanctions. Nothing in this settlement stops BP from continuing to get federal contracts and leases,” he said.

Why a truly ‘green’ car race might not be possible for Formula One

11/19/2012
NPR State Impact: Why a truly ‘green’ car race might not be possible for Formula One - “Most of the [race organizers] concessions were limited in terms of money or scope, and were designed primarily to give it a green tint without really getting to the fundamental issue: That the enormous amount of pollution from this will have significant economic impact to the City,” Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of the environmental group Public Citizen tells StateImpact Texas.

Crime, no punishment: BP gulf settlement deal "pathetic" say groups

11/19/2012
Common Dreams: Crime, no punishment: BP gulf settlement deal "pathetic" say groups - "We’re stunned. This settlement is pathetic," said Public Citizen's Tyson Slocum. "The $4 billion penalty is equivalent to just a fifth of the company’s 2011 profits." "The point of the criminal justice system is twofold: to punish and to deter. This does neither," he said. Describing the deal as "a weak-tea punishment" Slocum said it would provide zero deterrence against reckless behavior by BP or other companies in the future.

Many unimpressed by record BP oil spill fine

11/19/2012
The Sun Daily: Many unimpressed by record BP oil spill fine - Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's Energy Program, said the settlement would do little to punish or deter BP or other major oil firms. "Nothing in this settlement stops BP from continuing to get federal contracts and leases," he said. "BP will earn more in annual federal contracts than it will pay in penalties as a result of this. That's appalling."

BP gets a slap on the wrist; a silver lining in a cloud of scandal; fixing our broken elections

11/19/2012
Background Briefing with Ian Masters: BP gets a slap on the wrist; a silver lining in a cloud of scandal; fixing our broken elections - We begin with the four billion dollar settlement the Justice Department announced with BP for obstruction of justice and lying to Congress over the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history. Tyson Slocum, the Director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program joins us to discuss this paltry slap on the wrist for BP which will hardly deter criminally negligent behavior of a corporation responsible for 15 deaths in a 2005 refinery explosion and 11 deaths is the 2010 blowout in the Gulf.

JPMorgan’s trades ensnared by post-Enron regulator zeal

11/19/2012
Bloomberg: JPMorgan’s trades ensnared by post-Enron regulator zeal - Even though Wellinghoff denied FERC is targeting financial companies, the investigations are evidence that Wall Street firms have the savvy to game the system, according to Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at Public Citizen, a Washington-based consumer group.“It appears as though Wall Street is playing a significant role in exploiting overly complex market rules,” Slocum said in an interview. Regulators should revoke energy-trading privileges for all companies accused of alleged market manipulation, he said. “That’s the most significant club that FERC can wield.”

JPMorgan faces the nuclear option

11/19/2012
Los Angeles Times: JPMorgan faces the nuclear option - What's more, this is the first time FERC has taken such a stringent action since it took the same action against Enron. But Enron then was already bankrupt; Morgan is still operating. "This is definitely encouraging," says Tyson Slocum, an energy expert at the Washington advocacy group Public Citizen, which has been pressing FERC to take a harder stand against misbehaving traders.

Audit notes: papacare, post problem, trade reporting

11/19/2012
Columbia Journalism Review: Audit notes: papacare, post problem, trade reporting - Public Citizen isn’t having any of it, noting that most of the benefits went to the top: Trade economists widely acknowledge that any U.S. income increases resulting from NAFTA-style trade deals will tend to disproportionately favor the wealthy while real wage reductions are likely to be the result for the rest of us.

Actos bladder cancer lawsuit consultations available

11/19/2012
One News Page: Actos bladder cancer lawsuit consultations available - The federal agency also warned health care professionals about the dangers of long-term use of Actos. Our Actos attorneys also have noticed that the non-profit consumer group Public Citizen has classified Actos as a “Do Not Use” medication because of this dangerous side effect. Here’s what the consumer group had to say about Actos (pioglitazone): “If you are taking pioglitazone or a pioglitazone-containing product, you should consult your physician about switching to equally effective and safer drugs for type-2 diabetes.

Grand Prix romance lost on ‘weird’ Austin natives

11/19/2012
The Star Online: Grand Prix romance lost on ‘weird’ Austin natives - “Many opponents said that this is kind of the wrong image - frivolous emissions, carbon and other pollutants into the air just for amusement purposes - for a city that wants to be seen as the most sustainable city in the United States,” said Tom Smith, director of the Texas office of Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group.

Post-elections, trade deals might face more opposition

11/19/2012
ArcaMax: Post-elections, trade deals might face more opposition - That will make it more difficult for Congress to approve trade deals and for the Obama administration to win public backing for its huge new Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement next year, said Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch."Across the country Americans have been marinated in election ads that focused on the damage of bad trade agreements, which only reinforces their anger -- and the demand to do something about it," Wallach said.

Is the BP criminal settlement enough?

11/19/2012
Mother Jones: Is the BP criminal settlement enough? - Regarding the $4.5 billion settlement agreement, some are wondering if it goes far enough in penalizing BP. The public interest group Public Citizen argues that the fine announced today is little more than a "slap on the wrist" for the company, since it does not include any penalties for the criminal charges beyond the fines. Tyson Slocum, energy program director at Public Citizen, says that the agreement should have included sanctions on the company—like barring it from future government contracts or from obtaining new leases.

Court mulls statutory construction in dispute over “costs” of litigation

11/19/2012
SCOTUS Blog: Court mulls statutory construction in dispute over “costs” of litigation - Allison Zieve from Public Citizen appeared on behalf of Marx. As soon as she stated her position – that the FDCPA bars an award of costs to prevailing parties because it “provides otherwise,” she was greeted by a blizzard of skepticism.

Elections have consequences: fungal meningitis and compounding pharmacies

11/19/2012
Scientific American: Elections have consequences: fungal meningitis and compounding pharmacies - Once again, the FDA is in a no-win position. If they try to be tough enforcers, they are damned by pro-business forces, like Congressman Darrell Issa’s witchhunt report, the FDA’s Contribution to the Drug Shortage Crisis, where he criticizes the FDA warnings to manufacturers about production problems before actual outbreaks occurred, as being unnecessary. Would Issa have preferred the FDA to wait for outbreaks? Then the FDA would have been damned for not being proactive enough, which is what the consumer watchdog group, Public Citizen, has just done.

BP oil spill settlement announced, Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine charged with manslaughter

11/19/2012
The Huffington Post: BP oil spill settlement announced, Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine charged with manslaughter - Tyson Slocum, who heads up the energy program at Public Citizen, the Washington-based civil rights and consumer protection group, called the criminal settlement with BP an outrage. "If I killed 11 people, I would be taken off the streets," Slocum said. "What's the corporate equivalent of that? A few billion dollars? BP's stock will go up after this, and there will be no justice for the families in the Gulf. It's pathetic."

U.S. regulators cut JPMorgan's ability to trade power

11/19/2012
Thompson Reuters: U.S. regulators cut JPMorgan's ability to trade power - The punishment against JP Morgan brought back memories of the Enron-driven California energy crisis of 2001 for some consumer advocates. "This is the first time I can remember, since Enron, that a major market player has had its market-based rate authority removed," said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at Public Citizen, a Washington DC-based consumer advocacy group.

BP reaches $4.5 billion settlement with U.S. government in gulf spill case

11/19/2012
Bloomberg BNA: BP reaches $4.5 billion settlement with U.S. government in gulf spill case - The Sierra Club is working to ensure the remaining civil Clean Water Act and Oil Pollution Act lawsuits will result in penalties “topping $60 billion, which better reflects the harm BP inflicted on the Gulf,” Brune added. Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's Energy Program, called the settlement “pathetic” and a “weak-tea” punishment that provides “zero deterrence to BP or other companies.”

For BP, restoring its image is a bigger task than paying billions

11/19/2012
Los Angeles Times: For BP, restoring its image is a bigger task than paying billions - That financial strength led some consumer advocates to complain about the size of Thursday's settlement. Tyson Slocum, director of public advocacy group Public Citizen's energy program, said the deal showed "zero deterrence" because BP previously paid a fine and pleaded guilty to a criminal charge from the 2005 Texas refinery explosion that killed 15 people. "The settlement is inadequate to address BP's repeated criminal conduct," Slocum said.

Give BP the death penalty

11/19/2012
truthout: Give BP the death penalty - Altogether, this settlement will do very little to change the corrupt scam oil barons are running on the American people. As a spokesperson for Public Citizen said, "We're stunned. This settlement is pathetic ... The point of the criminal justice system is twofold: to punish and to deter. This does neither." In a tragic irony that proves Public Citizen's point, news broke on Friday of another oilrig exploding off the coast of Louisiana. Early reports indicate two workers are dead and another two workers are missing.

Meningitis outbreak: Regulators dropped the ball

11/19/2012
The Tennessean: Meningitis outbreak: Regulators dropped the ball - Dr. Michael Carome of Public Citizen, a nonprofit advocacy group, said one solution to the problems uncovered in the aftermath of the outbreak would be the establishment of a federal requirement that state pharmacy boards notify other regulators, particularly those in the home state of the licensee, whenever disciplinary or other adverse action is taken against a pharmacy or pharmacist.

After the $6 billion election, calls for subpoenas and amendments

11/19/2012
PR Watch: After the $6 billion election, calls for subpoenas and amendments - A recent analysis from Demos and U.S. PIRG found that just sixty-one individuals gave $285.2 million to Super PACs in the 2012 elections, contributing the same amount as 1,425,500 small grassroots donors to the major party presidential candidates. Now reformers want to blunt the influence of a tiny number of wealthy donors by putting more small donors into the mix. Organizations like Common Cause, Public Citizen, the Brennan Center, and Democracy 21, are supporting tax credits for small dollar campaign contributions, and matching those contributions with public funds.

Austin hosts F1 race with mixed emotions

11/19/2012
South China Morning Post: Austin hosts F1 race with mixed emotions - "Many opponents said this is kind of the wrong image - frivolous emissions, carbon and other pollutants into the air for amusement purposes - for a city that wants to be seen as the most sustainable city in the United States," said Tom Smith, director of the Texas office of Public Citizen, a non-profit consumer advocacy group. Officials at Circuit of the Americas, which owns the new racetrack, say they're working to minimise the impact of the event and point out that F1 innovations lead to more efficient passenger cars.

Mr. Dodd goes to Hollywood

11/19/2012
Bloomberg Businessweek: Mr. Dodd goes to Hollywood - Dodd is the latest high-profile legislator to spin through the revolving door connecting members of Congress to highly paid lobbying jobs. While he had the good taste to work for an industry outside of areas where he had drafted major legislation, he’s still a beneficiary of Washington’s money culture. “Hollywood is essentially buying his Rolodex,” says Craig Holman of Public Citizen, a government watchdog organization. “They hired him because of all his connections in Congress, because they know [members of Congress] will take his calls.”

Where's the justice in the BP settlement, it just covers lies

11/19/2012
Kansas City Info Zine: Where's the justice in the BP settlement, it just covers lies - Director of Public Citizen's Energy Program, Tyson Slocum said today: "The point of the criminal justice system is twofold: to punish and to deter. This does neither. It is a weak-tea punishment that provides zero deterrence to BP or other companies. Consider that after the 2005 Texas refinery explosion that killed 15 people, BP pleaded guilty to a criminal charge and paid a fine. Now, after a 2010 event that killed 11 people, BP is again pleading guilty and paying a fine. Zero deterrence."

Groups say BP oil spill fine not enough

11/19/2012
Big Pond News: Groups say BP oil spill fine not enough - Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's Energy Program, said the settlement would do little to punish or deter BP or other major oil firms. 'Nothing in this settlement stops BP from continuing to get federal contracts and leases,' he said. 'BP will earn more in annual federal contracts than it will pay in penalties as a result of this. That's appalling.'

Senate delays vote on bill that would banish financial regulation to cost-benefit analysis hell

11/15/2012
Huffington Post: Senate delays vote on bill that would banish financial regulation to cost-benefit analysis hell - "The industry thinks it has found a magic lever to stop Dodd-Frank and other financial-regulation reforms," Bartlett Naylor, financial policy advocate for the nonprofit group Public Citizen, said of the bill. "This would give the White House enormous power to dilute, if not veto, rules."

Post-elections, trade deals might face more opposition

11/15/2012
Merced Sun-Star: Post-elections, trade deals might face more opposition - Many of the candidates for Congress who made a particularly big deal out of their opposition to trade agreements wound up winning. They included Democratic Sen.-elect Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and a handful of incumbents in contested races, such as Democratic Sens.

Meningitis outbreak spurs calls to boost pharmacy oversight

11/15/2012
Reuters: Meningitis outbreak spurs calls to boost pharmacy oversight - Advocacy group Public Citizen earlier this month called on the Obama administration to launch an independent probe of the FDA’s lack of action against NECC. The group alleges that the FDA already has the authority it needs, but that agency officials failed to take steps that could have prevented the current outbreak.

Austin wonders if Sundays F1 race is ‘weird enough’

11/15/2012
Taipei Times: Austin wonders if Sundays F1 race is ‘weird enough’ - “Many opponents said that this is kind of the wrong image — frivolous emissions, carbon and other pollutants into the air just for amusement purposes — for a city that wants to be seen as the most sustainable city in the United States,” said Tom Smith, director of the Texas office of Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group.

Left and right have irreconcilable views on carbon tax proposals

11/15/2012
The Foundry: Left and right have irreconcilable views on carbon tax proposals - Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, was even more forceful in his assessment: A primary point of pricing carbon is actually generating the federal revenues needed for sustainable energy deployment and development… A mistake would be using carbon pricing revenues not for assisting with this needed transformation, but rather as a fallacious political plug to make up the financial losses associated with slashing corporate income taxes, estate taxes or other ill-advised tax policy misadventures.

US regulators cut JP Morgan's ability to trade power

11/15/2012
Economic Times: US regulators cut JP Morgan's ability to trade power - "This is the first time I can remember, since Enron, that a major market player has had its market-based rate authority removed," said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at Public Citizen, a Washington DC-based consumer advocacy group.

FDA rejects petition to ban Pfizer Alzheimer pill

11/14/2012
Pharmalot: FDA rejects petition to ban Pfizer Alzheimer pill - The bitter wrangling between the FDA and Public Citizen over the Aricept pill for Alzheimer’s continues. Yesterday, the agency informed the watchdog that its petition seeking a ban on the highest dose was rejected, two months after Public Citizen sued the FDA for not responding to its petition.

Fighting Medicaid fraud in Florida - Florida trend

11/14/2012
Pharma Gossip: Fighting Medicaid fraud in Florida - Florida trend - According to a report by Public Citizen, a consumer watchdog group, Ven-A-Care accounts for half of the $6 billion in settlements generated by whistleblowers over a 20-month period ending in July 2012. While others have tried to mimic their success, none have come close, says Patrick Burns, spokesman for Taxpayers Against Fraud.

Petition to recall Aricept 23mg dose rejected by FDA

11/14/2012
AboutLawsuits.com: Petition to recall Aricept 23mg dose rejected by FDA - About Lawsuits: Petition to recall Aricept 23mg dose rejected by FDA - “Allowing drug manufacturer Eisai to exploit and harm vulnerable patients with Alzheimer’s disease is unconscionable,” wrote Dr. Sidney Wolfe, Director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, in a response issued November 6.

The FERC Boldly Takes on Wall Street

11/14/2012
OILPRICE: The FERC Boldly Takes on Wall Street - Tyson Slocum, the director of the energy program for Public Citizen, claimed that the FERC is “the most powerful agency that no one knows about.” Barclays and JP Morgan are aggressively contesting the attacks against them, stating that the accusations are overreaching.

Clean-tech's future hinges on election

11/14/2012
SF Gate: Clean-tech's future hinges on election - Renewable power advocates note that the fossil fuel industry receives its own tax breaks and incentives. Tyson Slocum, head of the energy program at the Public Citizen watchdog group, estimates their value at roughly $6 billion per year. Oil companies have also had more than a hundred-year head start building the infrastructure to extract, process and deliver fuel.

Texas power market changes include little talk of rates

11/14/2012
The Texas Tribune: Texas power market changes include little talk of rates - The Texas Industrial Energy Consumers said in a PUC filing this year that the $9,000 price cap could results in wholesale power costs as high as $13 or $14 billion, if conditions similar to summer 2011 were to recur. That translates, very roughly, to $50 per Texas household. Tom “Smitty” Smith, the Texas head of Public Citizen, a consumer and environmental advocacy group, said the PUC was not focusing on power prices. “I haven’t heard them discuss it,” he said.

Anti-Capitalist meetup: One economy under God

11/14/2012
Daily Kos: Anti-Capitalist meetup: One economy under God - In 1993, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was sold to the American public with grand promises. NAFTA would create tens of thousands of good jobs here. U.S. farmers would export their way to wealth. NAFTA would bring Mexico’s standard of living up, providing new economic opportunities there that would reduce immigration to the U.S.--Public Citizen

Vt call for political funding limits faces national test

11/14/2012
The Times Argus: Vt call for political funding limits faces national test - The national advocacy group Public Citizen is coordinating supporters from almost a dozen organizations under the umbrella “Vermonters Say Corporations Are Not People,” including the national Common Cause and Move to Amend campaigns, Occupy Vermont, the state’s Peace and Justice Center and the Vermont Public Interest Research Group.

Dietary Supplements with prescription drugs may cause complications

11/14/2012
AboutLawsuits: Dietary Supplements with prescription drugs may cause complications - The findings follow a recent report by the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen, which highlighted research from the Journal of Parenteral & Enteral Nutrition that found dietary supplements provided little benefit to healthy adults.

Savings through solar

11/14/2012
The Houston Chronicle: Savings through solar - "They chose not to look at the record and summarily dismiss the petition," said Tom "Smitty" Smith, Texas director for Public Citizen, one of 13 consumer and environmental groups that submitted the petition. "We expected there to be some discussion before the commissioners." We all should have expected more discussion. Regardless of how you feel about solar power, you have already made an investment in it.

Supremes to hear arguments on 'Fraud-on-the-Market' claims

11/14/2012
Therapeutics Daily: Supremes to hear arguments on 'Fraud-on-the-Market' claims - The National Association of Shareholder and Consumer Attorneys, AARP, the New York City Pension Funds, the California Public Employees' Retirement System, Public Citizen and a group of financial economists filed briefs supporting the Connecticut Retirement Plans. In purely legal terms, the case affects all industries, said Cory Andrews, senior litigation counsel at the Washington Legal Foundation.

Maine Voices: In Maine, across U.S., corporate mouthpiece erodes democratic process

11/14/2012
Portland Press Herald: Maine Voices: In Maine, across U.S., corporate mouthpiece erodes democratic process - Attendees and speakers included the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Public Citizen, the Main Street Alliance, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the Business Ethics Network and a local Falmouth business owner and member of the Maine Small Business Coalition, Melanie Collins, owner of Melanie's Home Childcare.

Bigger than Libor: Major banks at risk for energy manipulation

11/14/2012
Forbes: Bigger than Libor: Major banks at risk for energy manipulation - Comments by observers like Tyson Slocum, the director of the energy program at Public Citizen, suggest an ambiguous prognosis. “It’s the most powerful agency that no one knows about,” he says, but he also observes that FERC continues to rely on private companies to ferret out instances of manipulation. In that sense, he suggests, the current bank cases are anomalous because of their unique magnitude and not necessarily indicative of an invigorated regulator.

Prop 37 and corporate lies in the post truth era

11/14/2012
truthout: Prop 37 and corporate lies in the post truth era - And finally, who do you trust to make decisions about what you know about the food you eat, pesticide and junk food companies or Prop 37 supporters like the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, and Public Citizen?

The op-Ed: Compounding & laissez faire rules

11/14/2012
Pharmalot: The op-Ed: Compounding & laissez faire rules - Once again, the FDA is in a no-win position. If they try to be tough enforcers, they are damned by pro-business forces, like Congressman Darrell Issa’s witchhunt report, the FDA’s Contribution to the Drug Shortage Crisis, where he criticizes the FDA warnings to manufacturers about production problems before actual outbreaks occurred, as being unnecessary (read here and here). Would Issa have preferred the FDA to wait for outbreaks? Then the FDA would have been damned for not being proactive enough, which is what the consumer watchdog group, Public Citizen, has just done.

Board terminates review of Calvert Cliffs 3

11/14/2012
The Baynet: Board terminates review of Calvert Cliffs 3 - Despite overwhelming community support from elected officials, local businesses, residents and the trade unions a group of organizations intervened, formally lodging a protest against the project. The groups—Nuclear Information Resource Service, Beyond Nuclear, Public Citizen and Southern Maryland Citizens Alliance for Renewable Energy Solutions—cited several factors for their protest, including a foreign company’s participation in the project. Federal law has restrictions on the involvement of foreign entities in nuclear projects.

Pfizer's JAK inhibitor Xeljanz approved, set to launch in RA

11/14/2012
Pharmacy Choice: Pfizer's JAK inhibitor Xeljanz approved, set to launch in RA - Following the approval of Xeljanz, Pfizer received another piece of good news from the FDA, which rejected an effort by Public Citizen to ban Aricept (donepezil hydrochloride) 23 mg tablets from the market. The drug is manufactured by Eisai Co. Ltd. and marketed by Pfizer.

Romney's tax secret: 1500 percent profit using TARP funds to ship Delphi jobs overseas

11/14/2012
The Huffington Post: Romney's tax secret: 1500 percent profit using TARP funds to ship Delphi jobs overseas - The Nation's story and the group's letter have attracted media attention in Ohio -- Delphi's home -- but the Romney campaign slammed the reports to the Dayton Daily News, claiming they resulted from a "partisan, left-wing study meant to distract from the $1 billion of taxpayer funds the Obama Administration handed over to the UAW in the Delphi bankruptcy." The group includes Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, People for the American Way, Public Campaign, Public Citizen, SEIU, UAW and The Social Equity Group.

The day after the elections in Woody Guthrie's country

11/14/2012
truthout: The day after the elections in Woody Guthrie's country - The past year has seen the rise of the Occupy and the 99% movements, which have brought to the center of attention the urgency of reigning in corporate capitalism and redistributing wealth. We have groups seeking to wrest political power from the corporations and put it into the hands of the people, led by Public Citizen, Public Campaign, Move to Amend, and friends.

Why Obama must win

11/14/2012
NOW: Why Obama must win - Some $6 billion will have been spent on the U.S. federal elections this go-round, according to the Center for Responsive Government. A good chunk of that comes from Super PACs (Political Action Committees) and right-wing groups headed by the likes of former Bush Prince of Darkness Karl Rove, funneled to Republican candidates. The Washington D.C.-based advocacy group Public Citizen says big money’s influence on the American electoral system has handed control of elections to a “financial oligarchy.”

Did Romney profit from auto bailout?

11/14/2012
All Voices: Did Romney profit from auto bailout? - In a letter dated November 1, 2012, Public Citizen, Public Campaign, Social Equity Group, People for the American Way, Service Employees International Union, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers (UAW), has asked the United States Office of Government Ethics to conduct an investigation into whether Romney has been forthcoming in financial disclosures. They’re a requirement for a presidential run.

Inside the mind of climate alarmist Jeremy Rifkin

11/14/2012
Right Side News: Inside the mind of climate alarmist Jeremy Rifkin - Rifkin believes that people can combat climate change, in part, by reducing or eliminating their beef consumption, because cattle (from which beef is derived) release into the atmosphere a certain amount of the greenhouse gas methane.[1] In his book Beyond Beef, Rifkin describes the elimination of meat from people's diets as a “revolutionary act” that could help usher in “a new chapter in the unfolding of human consciousness.” In 1992 Rifkin launched a Beyond Beef Campaign, a coalition of six environmental groups (including Greenpeace, the Rainforest Action Network, and Public Citizen) cal

Is NY getting special treatment compared to Houston?

11/14/2012
KTRH 740: Is NY getting special treatment compared to Houston? - Tom 'Smitty' Smith at Public Citizen in Austin says one reason is obvious. "In Manhattan most of the power lines are buried underground in rock tunnels that enable them to not be taken down by the wind and enable them to very quickly be restored." Terry Hadley at the Texas Public Utility Commission says New York's population isn't spread out like Houston.

Austin’s love -hate relationship with F1

11/14/2012
Free and Independent: Austin’s love -hate relationship with F1 - “Many opponents said that this is kind of the wrong image – frivolous emissions, carbon and other pollutants into the air just for amusement purposes – for a city that wants to be seen as the most sustainable city in the United States,” said Tom Smith, director of the Texas office of Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group.

FERC takes aim at Wall Street

11/14/2012
NY Times Dealbook: FERC takes aim at Wall Street - “It’s the most powerful agency that no one knows about,” said Tyson Slocum, the director of the energy program for Public Citizen, a nonprofit advocacy group. And it is a regulator that has so far had unusually fierce clashes with Wall Street.

A slight step into sunlight for TPP negotiations?

11/14/2012
Open and Shut: A slight step into sunlight for TPP negotiations? - The cognescenti such as Public Citizen know that a wide range of domestic governance issues are at the centre of the negotiations. Twenty six draft chapters cover financial, health-care, energy, telecommunications, and other service-sector regulation; patents and copyrights; food and product standards; land use and natural resources; professional licensing and immigration; and government procurement. Two chapters-on intellectual property and the environment- have been leaked.

AG won't join plaintiff lawyers in battle over consumer arbitrations

11/14/2012
The Recorder: AG won't join plaintiff lawyers in battle over consumer arbitrations - A big chunk of the plaintiff bar is mobilizing for Dec. 11 en banc arguments in Kilgore v. KeyBank. The case will determine whether the Federal Arbitration Act preempts a California rule that prohibits the arbitration of claims for broad, public injunctive relief. Public Citizen, the California Employment Law Association and the National Employment Lawyer Association are squaring off as amici curiae on one side with the Chamber of Commerce of the United States and the American Bankers Association on the other.

"Money Out, Voters In" a new joint effort to protect democracy Is launched

11/14/2012
PR Watch: "Money Out, Voters In" a new joint effort to protect democracy Is launched - In addition to CMD, groups joining this statement include: 350.org; the AFL-CIO; the American Sustainable Business Council; Ben & Jerry's; CODEPINK; Common Cause; Communications Workers of America; the Constitutional Accountability Center; Consumer Action; CREDO Action; Democracy 21; Democracy Unlimited; Democrats.com; Demos; Food & Water Watch; Franciscan Action Network; Free Speech For People; Greenpeace; International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America; the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; the Main Street Alliance; t

Big money breakdown: Why 2012 is the most expensive election ever

11/14/2012
truthout: Big money breakdown: Why 2012 is the most expensive election ever - "Single-candidate super-PACs are making a mockery of the campaign finance system," said Taylor Lincoln, Public Citizen researcher and author of the report. "Donors seeking to dodge contribution limits can simply give unlimited amounts to the candidate's super-PAC." This undercuts the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, Public Citizen argues, which was premised on the assumption that donations by corporations and third-party groups to super-PACs were "independent" and would not risk corrupting the candidate they support.

Ex-U-T owner was "good guy"; in Romney's alleged auto bailout profiteering

11/14/2012
The San Diego Reader: Ex-U-T owner was "good guy"; in Romney's alleged auto bailout profiteering - Shortly, there will be a press conference in Toledo seeking to get the government to compel Romney to disclose his investments or divest them. Those pushing the investigation are the United Auto Workers (UAW), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Public Citizen, People for the American Way, Public Campaign, and the Social Equity Group.

Wednesday at the 2nd Circuit: crucial Goldman discrimination case

11/14/2012
Thompson Reuters News and Insight: Wednesday at the 2nd Circuit: crucial Goldman discrimination case - Parisi (who was represented in the trial court by Outten & Golden and Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein and now has appellate counsel from Public Justice) argues that unless the appeals court permits employees to uncover evidence of employers' alleged discriminatory practices, it will be sanctioning a violation of federal civil rights. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the securities industry have joined as amici supporting Goldman; Public Citizen and a host of public interest groups filed briefs for Parisi.

"Free Trade" Adds to Middle East Woes

11/14/2012
Peace, Earth, and Justice News: "Free Trade" Adds to Middle East Woes - "Nothing short of amending the labor law to allow workers to organize and bargain collectively will fix this situation. There ought to be a lot of nervous people in Amman right about now." American labor advocates point to the November election, in which twenty-nine House and seven Senate seats switched from an unchecked free-trade agenda to a fair-trade one, as a sign that they'll soon get their seat back at the negotiating table.

Portable bed rails pose serious danger: report

11/14/2012
About Lawsuits: Portable bed rails pose serious danger: report - According to a letter sent in September by Public Citizen and the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, bed rail products made by Bed Handles, Inc. are unreasonably dangerous, despite claims that they make beds safer.

In record spending year, millions in election cash not disclosed

11/14/2012
CBS: In record spending year, millions in election cash not disclosed - In Washington a few days earlier, Public Citizen had left gift-wrapped boxes of fake money on the front steps of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as a mock presents for the Chamber's 100th birthday. "What the Chamber is doing is taking money from the giant multinationals around the country, laundering it, and then spending it in huge ways in election races across the country," said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. "We don't know which companies are behind this money. Today, we are calling as a first step for the source of that money to be disclosed."

Trade was sleeper issue in Senate wins

11/14/2012
Unions.org: Trade was sleeper issue in Senate wins - An analysis of the 2012 election reveals a bipartisan race to align campaign positions with the American public’s opposition to current U.S. trade policies and the job offshoring they cause. Over the course of the past three months, a wave of ads focused mainly on job offshoring and secondarily on trade with China, has spotlighted the damage caused by current U.S.

Is Sunday's F1 race weird enough for Austin, Texas?

11/14/2012
Chicago Tribune: Is Sunday's F1 race weird enough for Austin, Texas? - "Many opponents said that this is kind of the wrong image - frivolous emissions, carbon and other pollutants into the air just for amusement purposes - for a city that wants to be seen as the most sustainable city in the United States," said Tom Smith, director of the Texas office of Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group.

Researchers raise concerns over chelation heart study

11/14/2012
The Californian: Researchers raise concerns over chelation heart study - "All of these factors call into question the results," says Michael Carome, deputy director of the advocacy group Public Citizen's Health Research Group.

Letter to the Editor: U.S. Chamber election spending needs disclosure, reform

11/14/2012
Letter to the editor: Letter to the Editor: U.S. Chamber election spending needs disclosure, reform - Among “dark money” groups, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the biggest or second-biggest outside spender in 28 Senate and House of Representatives races in the 2012 elections, according to a new analysis released today by Public Citizen’s Chamber Watch and the Main Street Alliance

North Kitsap School District considers allowing advertisers in

11/14/2012
Kitsap Sun: North Kitsap School District considers allowing advertisers in - More and more schools across the nation are turning to advertising as an alternative revenue stream, according to a February report from Public Citizen titled, "School commercialism: High Costs, Low Revenues." But the practice conflicts with the values of education and can affect children's self-esteem, values, body image and development, the report from the citizen watchdog group argued.

Power of the vote magnified for N. Harris couplePower of the vote magnified for N. Harris couple

11/14/2012
The Houston Chronicle: Power of the vote magnified for N. Harris couplePower of the vote magnified for N. Harris couple - Tom "Smitty" Smith, head of Public Citizen's Texas office, said MUDs can be effective tools to provide services outside cities, but said rules governing the districts often are abused, with rubber-stamp reviews and high levels of indebtedness for the future homeowners.

Campaign finance reformers get back to work after record election spending

11/14/2012
The Huffington Post: Campaign finance reformers get back to work after record election spending - The watchdog group Public Citizen, along with supporting the Disclose Act and other legislative fixes for campaign money and lobbying, has been at the center of efforts by a coalition of groups to enact a constitutional amendment overturning the Citizens United decision as well as the holding in the 1976 Supreme Court decision Buckley v. Valeo that campaign spending cannot be regulated because that would be tantamount to regulating speech.

Meningitis outbreak in 19 states sparks calls for stricter regulation of US drug industry

11/14/2012
GMA News: Meningitis outbreak in 19 states sparks calls for stricter regulation of US drug industry - Advocacy group Public Citizen earlier this month called on the Obama administration to launch an independent probe of the FDA's lack of action against NECC. The group alleges that the FDA already has the authority it needs, but that agency officials failed to take steps that could have prevented the current outbreak.

A House Majority Leader with a suspect attitude toward corruption

11/14/2012
TruthOut: A House Majority Leader with a suspect attitude toward corruption - It's not just his consistent aversion to the STOCK Act that makes the mea culpa suspect; Mrs. Cantor has ties to lobbyists allegedly opposed to political intelligence regulation. She is a director of the Chamber of Commerce's think tank, the National Chamber Foundation (NCF). The Chamber itself was opposed to political intelligence regulation, according to Public Citizen lobbyist Craig Holman. The Chamber claimed to have taken no position on the STOCK Act, even though disclosures show that its lobbyists repeatedly brought up the bill with members of Congress.

Public Citizen's analysis: Candidates nationwide used trade-themed ads to appeal to U.S. majority opposing trade status quo

11/14/2012
PR Watch: Public Citizen's analysis: Candidates nationwide used trade-themed ads to appeal to U.S. majority opposing trade status quo - An analysis of the 2012 election reveals a bipartisan race to align campaign positions with the American public's opposition to current U.S. trade policies and the job offshoring they cause. Over the course of the past three months, a wave of ads focused mainly on job offshoring and secondarily on trade with China, has spotlighted the damage caused by current U.S.

eBay policy change sparks debate -- should you opt out of arbitration? Deadline approaching

11/14/2012
ABC 5: eBay policy change sparks debate -- should you opt out of arbitration? Deadline approaching - In essence, class action lawsuits are prohibited. eBay said arbitration is more informal than a courtroom. True. However, Public Citizen wants the arbitration clause removed adding that it disproportionately favors the company in disputes. Independent arbitrators are used, but many believe the consumer doesn’t have a shot with this type of dispute resolution.

Ten grassroots lessons from Monsanto's swift-boating of the Prop37/label GMO campaign

11/14/2012
Huff Post Green: Ten grassroots lessons from Monsanto's swift-boating of the Prop37/label GMO campaign - Mr. Nice Guy got dumped on Election Day. Grassroots progressives need to fight fire with fire. In 1988, Public Citizen and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) mounted a campaign to ban Alar, a chemical sprayed on apples to lengthen hang-time. The campaign to ban Alar focused on the substance's health risks.

We... The People

11/14/2012
Down With Tyranny: We... The People - A poll taken late last month for Public Citizen-- despite what we saw on election day-- shows that the vast majority of Americans "condemn high levels of corporate political spending, overwhelmingly support strong transparency and accountability reforms." What about Americans in Santa Clarita, Staten Island and Miami-Dade?

Did Mitt Romney break the law by failing to disclose Delphi investments?

11/14/2012
The Nation: Did Mitt Romney break the law by failing to disclose Delphi investments? - Thursday afternoon in Toledo, Ohio—where the story has received significant play in local media—United Auto Workers president Bob King joined Palast and Service Employees International Union vice president Tom Woodruff to call upon the US Office of Government Ethics to look into Romney’s financial disclosures and their failure to list the Delphi investments. Along with several groups like CREW and Public Citizen, the union leaders also sent a letter to OGE demanding a formal investigation.

Role of 'dark money' in senate races comes to light

11/14/2012
National Journal: Role of 'dark money' in senate races comes to light - "The effect of Citizens United has been to deny the public the opportunity to learn the identity of sponsors behind a large percentage of political ads," said Public Citizen's Lisa Gilbert in a statement. "It is likely that the donors that have been kept secret are those that would be the most controversial, such as corporations seeking favors. Until Congress or agencies mandate disclosure, we will not know the truth. "

Get on the train

11/14/2012
City Weekly: Get on the train - Allison Fisher, of Public Citizen’s Climate and Energy Program, writes that not one word in the presidential election was said about fossil fuel and relationship to meteorology.

California's GMO food-label ballot bill could have nationwide impact

11/14/2012
Mail Tribune: California's GMO food-label ballot bill could have nationwide impact - The pro-labeling campaign has raised about $7 million. It's supported by advocacy organizations such as the Environmental Working Group and Public Citizen. Mercola Health Resources, which sells nutritional supplements, and the Organic Consumers Fund, a lobbying group, are major backers. It also has support from organic producers such as Amy's Kitchen and Dr. Bronner's Soaps, two of its biggest corporate contributors

Statins may reduce cancer deaths, but they come with risks

11/14/2012
Drug Watch: Statins may reduce cancer deaths, but they come with risks - Public Citizen, a nonprofit health advocacy group, has asked the Food and Drug Administration to recall Crestor before more people suffer permanent damage to their health. The FDA has not recalled Crestor, but has issued a safety alert to health professionals about the side effects and required the manufacturer, AstraZeneca, to add a warning to the drug’s package.

Is the world’s ‘cleanest coal-fueled power plant’ a climate bait-and-switch?

11/14/2012
Grist: Is the world’s ‘cleanest coal-fueled power plant’ a climate bait-and-switch? - Tom “Smitty” Smith, an Austin lobbyist of 25 years for Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen, marched arm in arm with Miller to fight the dirty coal plants. Smith said Public Citizen’s unequivocal view remains that there’s no such thing as clean coal, due to the environmental costs of mining coal and shipping it to even a clean power plant. Ultimately, however, the group decided there was little chance to stop the project in oil-rich Texas and that it was still better than a dirty coal or a natural gas plant.

High Court asked to decide whether securities suit may proceed as a class action

11/14/2012
Litigation Resource Community: High Court asked to decide whether securities suit may proceed as a class action - The Colorado Public Employees' Retirement Association of the City of New York is represented by Gregory W. Smith of the Colorado Public Employees' Retirement Association in Denver. Public Citizen Inc. is represented by Scott L. Nelson and Allison M. Zieve of the Public Citizen Litigation Group in Washington. The financial economists are represented by Ernest A. Young in Durham, N.C., and William C. Fredericks and Ann M. Lipton of Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossman in New York.

Meningitis outbreak: Congress prepares questions for drug compounders

11/14/2012
The Tennessean: Meningitis outbreak: Congress prepares questions for drug compounders - Meanwhile, Michael Carome, who tracks medical issues for Public Citizen, said the FDA has a lot to answer for in these hearings. Carome has argued that the FDA, under Depression-era legislation, already has all the authority it needs to regulate compounders. What Congress needs to ask, he said, is what kind of follow-up there was after the FDA first issued warnings to NECC about its compounding processes in 2005.

Meningitis outbreak: 150 patients received older medications

11/14/2012
WBIR: Meningitis outbreak: 150 patients received older medications - Dr. Michael A. Carome, deputy director of health research for Public Citizen, a nonprofit that advocates for public safety, said the medical journal article is further proof that New England Compounding violated its license.

"Involuntary porn" site tests the boundaries of legal extortion

11/14/2012
ars Technica: "Involuntary porn" site tests the boundaries of legal extortion - We asked Paul Alan Levy, a free speech lawyer at Public Citizen, whether a victim of IsAnybodyDown would have a case against the site. He drew a parallel to other cases that have dealt with allegedly extortionate websites. For example, Levy cited litigation over the website PissedConsumer.com. It collects negative comments about businesses, posts them to its website, and then charges businesses for the "service" of making those negative reviews less conspicuous.

Congress has lots to ask about drug compounders, some say

11/14/2012
WBIR: Congress has lots to ask about drug compounders, some say - Meanwhile, Michael Carome, who tracks medical issues for the watchdog group Public Citizen, said the FDA has a lot to answer for in these hearings. Carome has argued that the FDA, under Depression-era legislation, already has all the authority it needs to regulate compounders such as NECC.

Commission asks schools judge to force newspaper to release of web comments, commenters

11/14/2012
Tech News: Commission asks schools judge to force newspaper to release of web comments, commenters - It is only in private conversation, with individuals assumed to share their bigotry, that open statements of discrimination are made, so it is rare that these statements can be captured for purposes of proving racial discrimination in cases such as this." Chris Peck, editor of The Commercial Appeal, has called the subpoena a "fishing expedition" and Memphis attorney Lucian Pera and Washington attorney Paul Alan Levy, a member of the Public Citizen Litigation Group, have been fighting the requests.

Steffy: Texas needs to make hay on power while the sun shines

11/14/2012
Fuel Fix: Steffy: Texas needs to make hay on power while the sun shines - “They chose not to look at the record and summarily dismiss the petition,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, Texas director for Public Citizen, one of 13 consumer and environmental groups that submitted the petition. “We expected there to be some discussion before the commissioners.”

Meningitis outbreak: Second Mass. compounder recalls all its drugs

11/14/2012
The Tennessean: Meningitis outbreak: Second Mass. compounder recalls all its drugs - Noting that Ameridose is a much larger company than New England Compounding, Dr. Michael Carome of Public Citizen, a nonprofit advocacy group, said there was clearly cause for concern. According to several published reports, Ameridose’s annual revenues are more than 10 times those of New England Compounding. “This raises serious concerns for the public at large. It’s of great concern,” Carome said.

Chamber biggest non-disclosing outside spender in 15 congressional races

11/14/2012
National Journal: Chamber biggest non-disclosing outside spender in 15 congressional races - Public Citizen's Chamber Watch and the Main Street Alliance examined the Chamber's spending in 35 House and Senate races using data from the Center for Responsive Politics. They found that as of Oct. 31, the Republican-leaning organization has spent $31.87 million in outside money on congressional contests. The Chamber, which reportedly plans to spend $100 million in such races, has long been criticized by such groups for not disclosing its donors. As a 501(c)(6), the Chamber isn't required to disclose its donors.

2012 election priciest to date: $4.2 billion tab and rising

11/14/2012
NBC 33 News: 2012 election priciest to date: $4.2 billion tab and rising - But the watchdog group Public Citizen recently found that 60% of super PACs have devoted themselves to helping just one candidate. And many of those super PACs are founded, funded or operated by friends, family members or political allies of the candidate they support, said Taylor Lincoln, research director of Congress Watch at Public Citizen, an advocacy group.

‘Dark money’ nonprofits spent $300-million on political campaigns

11/14/2012
The Chronicle of Philanthropy: ‘Dark money’ nonprofits spent $300-million on political campaigns - The activity by 501(c)(4) social-welfare organizations amounted to nearly a quarter of the money spent by independent political entities on this year’s campaign, according to the foundation, which reviewed Federal Election Commission spending disclosures. Another watchdog organization, Public Citizen, found that 86 percent of campaign spending by outside groups paid for negative attack ads.

Government Associations offer ample opportunities for corporations to buy influence

11/14/2012
The Paramus Post: Government Associations offer ample opportunities for corporations to buy influence - Public Citizen suggests there should be criteria and guidelines in place for associations so that conflicts of interest are avoided, with no special access to decision makers provided to companies willing to pay for the privilege of being “sponsors.” “It’s important for state government officials to come together to share ideas, experience and best practices,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.

In U.S., corporate cash pouring into state campaigns

11/14/2012
IPS: In U.S., corporate cash pouring into state campaigns - “What we shouldn’t have is corporate financing of elections. Corporations are not people. They don’t vote and should not be involved in selecting our government,” said Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy NGO in Washington, DC.

Global corporate governance

11/14/2012
infoNews: Global corporate governance - U.S. negotiators are alone in seeking to expand this extra-judicial enforcement system to also allow the use of foreign tribunals to enforce contracts foreign investors may have with a government for government procurement or to operate utilities contracts and even for concessions related to natural resources on federal lands. (Text that is not yet agreed in the leaked text appears in square brackets and Public Citizen has seen a version of the text that lists which countries support various proposals.)

Regulators decry bill to force study of new rules' cost

11/14/2012
Oregon Live: Regulators decry bill to force study of new rules' cost - "The additional cost-benefit analysis is not an appropriate method for rulemaking across the board," said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch. "It's hard to estimate the true benefits of stopping the economy from a meltdown, for instance."

Meningitis-linked US firm not a drug maker in 2003 -report

11/14/2012
Reuters: Meningitis-linked US firm not a drug maker in 2003 -report - The advocacy group Public Citizen earlier this month called on the Obama administration to launch an independent probe into FDA's lack of action against NECC. The group alleges that FDA already has the authority it needs, but that agency officials failed to take steps that could have prevented the current outbreak

UAW files charges against Romney on his auto bail-out profiteering

11/14/2012
Current TV: UAW files charges against Romney on his auto bail-out profiteering - According to ethics law expert Dr. Craig Holman of Public Citizen, who advised on the complaint, Ann Romney does not have a federally-approved blind trust. An approved "blind" trust may not be used to hide a major investment which could be affected by Romney if he were to be elected President. Other groups joining the UAW and CREW include Public Citizen, the Service Employees International Union, Public Campaign, People for the American Way and The Social Equity Group.

Five things to watch for in Obama’s second term

11/14/2012
Common Dreams: Five things to watch for in Obama’s second term - Many of the candidates and issues backed by the biggest money actually lost, but the indebtedness of our system to big funders remains. Look for ways to bring on tough campaign finance rules (momentum is building for a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United), stop the suppression of the votes of the poor and minorities, and end having secretaries of state who are partisan. Who would trust a referee committed to making sure one team wins? Move to Amend, Public Citizen, Common Cause, Color of Change, and Free Speech for People are trusted sources on these issues.

Delphi pension cut debate surfaces in presidential election campaign

11/14/2012
The Oakland Press: Delphi pension cut debate surfaces in presidential election campaign - The groups sending the complaint letter, including Service Employees International Union, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Public Citizen, Public Campaign, People for the American Way and The Social Equity Group, believe Romney’s undisclosed stock holdings create serious conflicts of interest. They point to the auto rescue as a key example.

Gov't report: Meningitis-linked firm not a drug maker in 2003

11/14/2012
FOX News: Gov't report: Meningitis-linked firm not a drug maker in 2003 - The advocacy group Public Citizen earlier this month called on the Obama administration to launch an independent probe into FDA's lack of action against NECC. The group alleges that FDA already has the authority it needs, but that agency officials failed to take steps that could have prevented the current outbreak

Putting brands in their place

11/14/2012
AD Week: Putting brands in their place - Before his appointment by FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz, he spent seven years as the director of Georgetown University’s Center on Health Regulation and Governance at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. But it was his three decades as a lawyer for the Public Citizen Litigation Group that shaped his aggressive, take-no-prisoners style, arguing more than 60 cases before both federal and state courts.

FDA rejects petition to remove high Aricept dose

11/14/2012
Pharmacy Choice: FDA rejects petition to remove high Aricept dose - "Allowing drug manufacturer Eisai to exploit and harm vulnerable patients with Alzheimer's disease is unconscionable," said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, in a statement. He noted that Aricept is the best-selling Alzheimer's drug of all time, with sales of $2.4 billion in 2010. Sales have declined since the drug lost patent protection in the U.S.

McConnell already looking at 2014 - Dems pound chest on victories - The billion-dollar bust? - Political scores to be settled (over fried rice)

11/14/2012
Politico: McConnell already looking at 2014 - Dems pound chest on victories - The billion-dollar bust? - Political scores to be settled (over fried rice) - Nearly half of all spending by outside groups in top Senate races this year was by nonprofit groups that do not typically disclose their donors, according to a report by Public Citizen. http://bit.ly/Z6KJfj

Meningitis outbreak: Tests reveal fungi, but cause is mystery

11/14/2012
Bucyrus Telegraph Forum: Meningitis outbreak: Tests reveal fungi, but cause is mystery - “Those findings are not surprising, given how appalling the conditions were when those drugs were being made,” said Dr. Michael Carome of Public Citizen, a nonprofit advocacy group. “It would be surprising if they don’t find more contaminants.”

Buck McKeon And Northrup Grumman's global hawk drone boondaggle

11/14/2012
Buck McKeon And Northrup Grumman's global hawk drone boondaggle - There are many examples of lobbyists burrowing into government to work in policy areas that impact their former employers. These lobbyists, as Public Citizen’s Craig Holman, an expert on lobbying, has explained, seem happy to accept low-paid public service salaries, perhaps because they can expect extremely high pay once they return to K Street.

Wake-up call for Harper and Ford

11/14/2012
NOW: Wake-up call for Harper and Ford - Some $6 billion was spent on the U.S. federal elections this go-round, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. A good chunk of that was raised through Super PACs (Political Action Committees) and right-wing so-called “citizens” groups headed by the likes of former Bush Prince of Darkness Karl Rove, and funnelled to Republican candidates. Washington D.C.-based advocacy group Public Citizen says big money’s influence on the American electoral system has handed control of elections to a “financial oligarchy.”

Elsewhere in the influence world

11/14/2012
Politico: Elsewhere in the influence world - Elsewhere in the influence world - Associations of elected and other governmental officials are a “haven for influence-peddling, offering special access to decisionmakers and regulators in exchange for corporate sponsorship,” a new report from Public Citizen asserts.

Pricing carbon: where we’ve been, where we are and where we may be going

11/14/2012
Think Progress: Pricing carbon: where we’ve been, where we are and where we may be going - Economists and others in academia, including important Republican economists such as Harvard’s Greg Mankiw and Columbia’s Glenn Hubbard, remain enthusiastic supporters of a national carbon tax. And a much-publicized meeting in July at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. brought together a broad spectrum of Washington groups – ranging from Public Citizen to the R Street Institute – to talk about alternative paths forward for national climate policy. Reportedly, much of the discussion focused on carbon taxes.

What’s your vision?

11/14/2012
Times Union: What’s your vision? - How much of that bottled up nastiness are we talking about? Public Citizen’s analysis covered almost $609 million spent by just 15 groups, both conservative and liberal. Of that, by their estimate, $521 million was spent on negative ads. And that’s just a piece of it. Estimates are that super PACS will have spent more than $1 billion in this election.

Compounding the problem

11/14/2012
Contract Pharma: Compounding the problem - Meanwhile, Public Citizen Health Research Group last month maintained that the FDA was aware as far back as 2006 that the NECC was engaged in large-scale manufacturing “that went well beyond the traditional narrow role of a compounding pharmacy, yet the agency failed to implement follow-up measures that could have prevented the current outbreak.”

The Day after the Election in Woody Guthrie’s America

11/13/2012
Common Dreams: The Day after the Election in Woody Guthrie’s America - The past year has seen the rise of the Occupy and the 99% movements, which have brought to the center of attention the urgency of reigning in corporate capitalism and redistributing wealth. We have groups seeking to wrest political power from the corporations and put it into the hands of the people, led by Public Citizen, Public Campaign, Move to Amend, and friends.

Freeport’s Sensata workers join in urging Romney to disclose investments or divest

11/13/2012
The Rock River Times: Freeport’s Sensata workers join in urging Romney to disclose investments or divest - The letter was sent by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, D.C., People for the American Way, Public Campaign, Public Citizen, SEIU, UAW and The Social Equity Group, and it follows up on a previous letter sent to the Office of Government Ethics Aug. 23 that urged the office to act.

U.S. Bush-era trade deal with Panama goes into force

11/13/2012
AG Professional: U.S. Bush-era trade deal with Panama goes into force - Critics such as Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, said they expect the pact, which locks in Panama's current duty-free access to the United States, to destroy more U.S. jobs than it creates. ????:www.capital.gr

When will 'gas lines galore' end?

11/13/2012
Capital.gr: When will 'gas lines galore' end? - CNBC's Mary Thompson reports on long gas lines in New Jersey, and Tyson Slocum, Public Citizen Energy Program director, weighs in on just how long this could last.

UAW to hit Romney with bailout profiteer accusation

11/13/2012
truthdig: UAW to hit Romney with bailout profiteer accusation - An approved “blind” trust may not be used to hide a major investment which could be affected by Romney if he were to be elected President. Other groups joining the UAW and CREW include Public Citizen, the Service Employees International Union, Public Campaign, People for the American Way and The Social Equity Group.

Unions, good government groups file ethics complaint against Romney for failing to disclose big auto rescue profit

11/13/2012
Noodls: Unions, good government groups file ethics complaint against Romney for failing to disclose big auto rescue profit - The letter was sent by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, People for the American Way, Public Campaign, Public Citizen, SEIU, UAW and The Social Equity Group, and it follows up on a previous letter sent to the Office of Government Ethics on Aug. 23, 2012, that urged the office to act.

Some wonder about Jim DeMint at helm

11/13/2012
Politico: Some wonder about Jim DeMint at helm - Joan Claybrook, a former administrator for NHTSA and the long-tenured former president of Public Citizen, said not all regulations should be viewed as resulting in a monetary cost. In fact, Claybrook said, there is recent precedent for spending a bit extra to keep travelers safe and medical costs down.

U.S. Bush-era trade deal with Panama goes into force

11/1/2012
Reuters: U.S. Bush-era trade deal with Panama goes into force - Critics such as Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, said the pact, which locks in Panama's current duty-free access to the United States, is expected to destroy more U.S. jobs than it creates.

Meningitis outbreak: Second Mass. compounder recalls all its drugs

11/1/2012
The Tennessean: Meningitis outbreak: Second Mass. compounder recalls all its drugs - Noting that Ameridose is a much larger company than New England Compounding, Dr. Michael Carome of Public Citizen, a nonprofit advocacy group, said there was clearly cause for concern. According to several published reports, Ameridose’s annual revenues are more than 10 times those of New England Compounding. “This raises serious concerns for the public at large. It’s of great concern,” Carome said.