February 2013 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.

Occupy group sues Government to speed up rule reining in Wall Street

2/28/2013
Think Progress: Occupy group sues Government to speed up rule reining in Wall Street by Pat Garofalo - This is the first lawsuit challenging regulators to implement, rather than delay, the Volcker Rule. As Public Citizen’s Bart Naylor wrote, the suit is “making the straightforward case that banks shouldn’t gamble with savings because real people may be harmed.”

Medicines Patent Pool Reaches Licensing Deal for GSK Patents to Expand Access to Medicines for Children With HIV

2/28/2013
Pharmacy Choice: Medicines Patent Pool Reaches Licensing Deal for GSK Patents to Expand Access to Medicines for Children With HIV - "We congratulate the MPP and encourage all of Big Pharma to jump in the patent pool," said Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen's Global Access to Medicines Program. "Where companies fail to negotiate, we will pursue compulsory measures. With civil society partners worldwide, we will challenge any patent barrier that impedes the goal of an AIDS-free generation."  

The Digital Trust Foundation: Facebook’s Unwanted Child

2/27/2013
Nonprofit Quarterly: The Digital Trust Foundation: Facebook’s Unwanted Child by Mike Keefe-Feldman - The nonprofit public interest group Public Citizen lambasted the settlement, saying it leaves Facebook users “worse off than if this case had never been brought.”

Time for Legislature to push back against Citizens United decision

2/27/2013
Concord Monitor: Time for Legislature to push back against Citizens United decision - The people of New Hampshire have seen how the U.S. Supreme Court’s horrendous Citizens United v. FEC decision – the case that declared corporations have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited sums to influence elections – is incompatible with the principles of our democracy.

Elizabeth Warren clocks big Ben

2/27/2013
Bloomberg Businessweek: Elizabeth Warren clocks big Ben - Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch division, said Warren "came out, guns blazing, and did what people expect her to do, which is she showed the problem of big banks still receiving a taxpayer subsidy."

Did a contribution to Obama's inaugural win a crucial nuclear loan guarantee?

2/26/2013
The Nation: Did a contribution to Obama's inaugural win a crucial nuclear loan guarantee? by George Zornick - The development was first flagged by Tyson Slocum at Public Citizen, who has been tracking the Southern Company donation. He raises the obvious and very pertinent question here: is this sudden “movement” and “newly optimistic” attitude a direct result of a major contribution to Obama’s struggling inaugural committee? It’s certainly a reasonable conclusion to draw, and it requires some degree of naiveté about Washington to believe these are just entirely unrelated coincidences. At the very least, this creates a terrible perception problem.

U.S.- EU trade deal is the foundation for a new global economic order

2/26/2013
Indybay Newswire: U.S.- EU trade deal is the foundation for a new global economic order by Dana Gabriel - Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch Director, Lori Wallach cautioned how U.S.-EU talks, "are aimed at eliminating a list of what multinational corporations call 'trade irritants' but the rest of us know as strong food safety, environmental and health safeguards." She went on to say, "European firms are targeting aspects of the U.S. financial reregulation regime, our stronger drug and medical device safety and testing standards and more." Wallach further added, "U.S.

Schwab may apply class- action victory to pending cases

2/26/2013
Townhall Magazine: Schwab may apply class- action victory to pending cases by Jed Horowitz - "If the broker-dealer has harmed a large group of people, they cannot combine their resources to go against the larger corporate entity," said Christine Hines, consumer and civil justice counsel at Public Citizen, a Washington-based consumer advocacy group. "It's just another way for the corporate entity to escape accountability for any wrongdoing or harm that they cause."

Do Facebook and class-action lawsuits mix?

2/25/2013
FindLaw: Do Facebook and class-action lawsuits mix? by Robyn Hagan Cain - Even if Moughni wins, and we suspect he will, this situation raises important issues regarding whether lawyers (and clients) should address pending cases on social media. Paul Levy, a Public Citizen Litigation Group attorney who is representing Moughni, writes that Moughni's situation "struck me as an outrage, and quite typical of what sometimes gets done to class action objectors - and which consequently deters people of good faith from objecting."

Lawmaker wants to limit challenges to Harold Simmons’ radioactive waste dump

2/25/2013
Texas Observer: Lawmaker wants to limit challenges to Harold Simmons’ radioactive waste dump by Forrest Wilder - Darby’s House Bill 1653 is a grab-bag of measures that would put up roadblocks for groups or individuals challenging the company even as it allows Waste Control to bring in “hotter” waste. “It guts the protections of that assure citizens get a fair hearing on any changes in the radioactive waste dump,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith of Public Citizen.

Mike Conaway becomes House's watchdog

2/23/2013
Standard-Times: Mike Conaway becomes House's watchdog - Watchdog groups have questioned the effectiveness of the committee. The guarded committee’s transparency also has come under fire. “It’s been critiqued over the years as in many ways being a black hole,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division.

Merced doctor's license might be revoked

2/23/2013
Merced Sun-Star: Merced doctor's license might be revoked - Dr. Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen, a watchdog group that ranks medical boards annually, said doctors with sex-related offenses are not adequately disciplined. In the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit's 2012 ranking of medical boards, California was No. 28 for its rate of serious disciplinary actions from 2009-2011.

Street Smart: Gas tax won't change gas prices significantly

2/23/2013
Daily Press: Street Smart: Gas tax won't change gas prices significantly - The tax changes are unlikely to reduce the cost of gas significantly, according to Public Citizen, a non-profit consumer watchdog group. Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's energy program, said taxes are not the cause of the higher cost of gas prices. "These gas taxes are mostly static," Slocum said.

Group wants Michigan judge's Facebook ruling overturned

2/23/2013
AP: Group wants Michigan judge's Facebook ruling overturned - Public Citizen said Friday that Wayne County Circuit Judge Kathleen Macdonald's ruling violates the First Amendment. The group filed a motion to have the injunction removed. The McDonald's restaurant chain and one of its franchise owners agreed last month to pay $700,000 to members of Detroit's Muslim community and organizations following allegations that meat on its menu was falsely advertised as being prepared according to Islamic dietary law.

Facebook user challenges order to take down criticism of McDonald's class action

2/23/2013
Forbes: Facebook user challenges order to take down criticism of McDonald's class action by Daniel Fisher - Public Citizen yesterday filed a motion urging the judge to reverse her injunction, saying Moughni spoke “only as a member of the affected community, and the Court’s order holding him to standards that would be inappropriate for a lawyer in the case violated black-letter law against prior restraints of speech.”

Melvin conviction may reignite talk of reform in Pennsylvania

2/23/2013
TribLive: Melvin conviction may reignite talk of reform in Pennsylvania by Brad Bumsted - Complete “transparency” on state records and audits can be a deterrent, said Craig Holman, lobbyist for Public Citizen in Washington. The number of convictions of state officials in a short time span in Pennsylvania is “extraordinarily high,” said Holman. That points to tolerance among too many government officials, he said.

Public, or premature, disclosure case?

2/23/2013
Times Union: Public, or premature, disclosure case? by Lilly Fowler - Consumer advocates say that the decision in the Company Doe case threatens the integrity of the consumer product database and the public's right to access judicial proceedings. If the ruling stands, "companies who find themselves on the verge of having reports included in the database about their products are going to sue and are going to seek judicial secrecy," said Scott Michelman, an attorney with Public Citizen.

Farming Silicon Valley

2/23/2013
Hyphen: Farming Silicon Valley: Farming Silicon Valley - Then in 1995, the North American Free Trade Agreement liberalized trade between Canada, the United States and Mexico in order to stimulate economic growth for all three countries. What it ended up doing was sparking a race to the bottom in agricultural products, sending much of the income of small US farmers into a free fall, according to a report by the nonprofit Public Citizen.

Groups back attorney's free speech against McDonald's

2/23/2013
Detroit Free Press: Groups back attorney's free speech against McDonald's - In addition to the ACLU brief, the Public Citizen Litigation Group, a consumer advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., that is part of a larger group founded by Ralph Nader, filed a brief on Friday against Macdonald's order. "The judge's actions represent a jaw-dropping attack on the First Amendment," said Paul Levy, an attorney for Public Citizen.

Why is Jaafar & Mahdi Law Group trying to squelch criticism of a bad class action settlement?

2/23/2013
Center for Class Action Fairness: Why is Jaafar & Mahdi Law Group trying to squelch criticism of a bad class action settlement? - This is a scary First Amendment violation, and that the court signed off on it makes one wonder whether the court can fairly adjudicate objections to the settlement. Public Citizen is on the right side in this one, and, along with the ACLU, is litigating in favor of the objector's rights.

Can students be sued for blog posts?

2/22/2013
The Open Academic: Can students be sued for blog posts? - Public Citizen provides a useful list of websites with information on the rights to free speech on the Internet. One of these is Legal Perils and Legal Rights of Internet Speakers by Paul Alan Levy of the Public Citizen Litigation Group. It clearly states that “First Amendment rights apply with full force to the Internet.”

Rumored Energy pick stirs fears on left

2/22/2013
The Hill: Rumored Energy pick stirs fears on left by Ben Geman - That's not sitting well with green advocates, who say Moniz’s support for natural gas is at odds with the risks of “fracking,” the controversial drilling process, and the need for tough steps to address climate change. “Moniz is a status quo pick at a time when we can’t afford the status quo,” said Tyson Slocum, who heads the energy program at Public Citizen.

GOP raising stakes for Obama’s treasury pick

2/22/2013
McClatchyDC: GOP raising stakes for Obama’s treasury pick - “We’re concerned that a person who will be overseeing Wall Street chose to go to Wall Street for apparently the same reason that Wall Street is such a danger to the economy,” said Bart Naylor, financial policy advocate for the watchdog group Public Citizen. “It’s a place where one can make a lot of money in a short amount of time.”

U.S. inquiries over automobile safety dragging on

2/22/2013
New York Times: U.S. inquiries over automobile safety dragging on by Christopher Jensen - Millions were left in recall limbo because some of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s investigations into possible safety problems have been taking years longer than the agency’s self-imposed goal. Consequently, some owners may be unknowingly driving vehicles with problems, said Joan Claybrook, the onetime agency administrator and former head of Public Citizen, a consumer protection group.

Facebook user says Halal ruling isn't kosher

2/22/2013
MediaPost: Facebook user says Halal ruling isn't kosher by Wendy Davis - Today, the advocacy group Public Citizen filed a motion to vacate Macdonald's order. As Public Citizen points out, prior restraints on speech -- that is, injunctions issued before there's been a finding that the speech was defamatory -- are unconstitutional.

Republicans join Democrats to back ending donor anonymity

2/22/2013
Bloomberg Businessweek: Republicans join Democrats to back ending donor anonymity - While Republican-leaning organizations spent more than 80 percent of the money outside groups funneled into the 2012 campaign, Democrats are trying to catch up, offering another reason for working out a bipartisan bill, said Craig Holman, who lobbies on campaign-finance issues for Public Citizen. Obama recently converted his campaign committee to a nonprofit group that can raise unlimited donations from anonymous donors, though the president has promised to identify its contributors.

Public Citizen acts to correct CFS Advisory Committee violations of FACA

2/21/2013
ProHealth: Public Citizen acts to correct CFS Advisory Committee violations of FACA by Jennifer Spotila - When I discovered that the CSFAC had violated its own Charter and FACA, I reached out to Public Citizen, a watchdog non-profit that has litigated cases under FACA in the past. They moved quickly to send a letter of protest on my behalf to the Acting General Counsel of HHS on February 14, 2013. The letter points out that the FACA violations deprived “Ms. Spotila and the public generally of important rights to observe and participate in the advisory committee process.”

Gas tax changes unlikely to provide relief at the pump in Virginia

2/21/2013
Individual.com: Gas tax changes unlikely to provide relief at the pump in Virginia - "Taxes are not responsible for the price increases that we've seen," said Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's energy program. "These gas taxes are static. Most states have a flat amount.... The primary driver of gasoline price and availability is the price of crude oil."

'Secret' informal car defect probes more common

2/21/2013
USA Today: 'Secret' informal car defect probes more common by Jayne O'Donnell - Advocacy group Public Citizen as well as Quality Control Systems separately sued the Transportation Department to get it to release the death and injury data it gets from automakers, and NHTSA agreed to release this information starting in 2008.

Three more states consider rebelling against Citizens United ruling

2/20/2013
Raw Story: Three more states consider rebelling against Citizens United ruling by ERIC W. DOLAN - “It is inspiring to see local leaders drive a call to get Big Money out of politics in West Virginia,” Jonah Minkoff-Zern, a senior organizer with Public Citizen, said in a statement. “Passing a constitutional amendment is a momentous task, but one that can be done if we organize block by block, city by city, state by state.”

Obama golfed with oil men as climate protestors descended on White House

2/20/2013
Huffington Post: Obama golfed with oil men as climate protestors descended on White House by Lucia Graves - But Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, said the president's new rhetoric around climate change doesn't square with his choice of golf partners, or with what he called Obama's "all-of-the-above" energy strategy.

Unions hope US- EU trade talks can be lever to change labor laws

2/20/2013
The Hill: Unions hope US- EU trade talks can be lever to change labor laws by Kevin Bogardus & Vicki Needham - Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, argues that corporate interests in both the U.S. and EU that are pushing for a deal will also push for a weak labor chapter.

Trump threatens $25M lawsuit over Macy's protest

2/20/2013
Barrie Examiner: Trump threatens $25M lawsuit over Macy's protest by Tim Kenneally - Carusone's attorney, Paul Levy of Public Citizen, responded to Garten's letter with his own correspondence in January."Your letter repeatedly asserts, without any factual basis, that Carusone has exaggerated the extent to which members of the public have endorsed his boycott effort; you also contend, again without being specific, that Carusone casts Trump in a false light," Levy's letter reads.

Intra- aortic balloon pumps should undergo clinical testing

2/20/2013
AboutLawsuits.com: Intra- aortic balloon pumps should undergo clinical testing by Irvin Jackson - The prominent consumer watchdog group Public Citizen is calling on federal regulators to require that all intra-aortic balloon pumps (IABP) be put through rigorous clinical trials before being placed on the market, to ensure that they are safe and effective.

Prisoners collecting millions in unemployment while behind bars

2/20/2013
KHOU: Prisoners collecting millions in unemployment while behind bars - We showed the figures to Tom “Smitty” Smith with the watchdog group Public Citizen. “Astounded,” said Smith. “This is an outrage.”

Climate Rally In Washington Brought Out 40,000 People, Organizers Estimate

2/19/2013
Huffington Post: Climate Rally In Washington Brought Out 40,000 People, Organizers Estimate by Lucia Graves - "I think we've got a president who, because he has kids, perhaps, or because he's not facing reelection, is willing to get some things done," said Robert Weismann, president of Public Citizen. And while the rhetoric is so far just rhetoric, Weismann noted, "It's a pretty big shift from October."

Report holds up Energy Future Holdings as cautionary tale for capacity market

2/19/2013
SNL Securities: Report holds up Energy Future Holdings as cautionary tale for capacity market by Christine Cordner - Public Citizen is holding up financially stressed Energy Future Holdings Corp. as a warning that a Texas forward capacity market is not likely to encourage investment in new generation to ensure reliable power supplies in the state.

Rally at W.Va. Capitol targets campaign spending

2/19/2013
The Associated Press: Rally at W.Va. Capitol targets campaign spending - Public Citizen wants the Legislature to pass a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment that would overturn a 2010 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. The ruling, known as Citizens United, gave a green light for corporations and labor unions to spend unlimited cash on campaign ads. Public Citizen says the proposed resolution also would call for a constitutional amendment that would allow the federal and state governments to regulate all types of campaign spending.

Obama faces brewing fundraising scandal

2/19/2013
Cutting Edge News: Obama faces brewing fundraising scandal by Alexander Bolton - “It looks like he’s embracing Citizens United and the role of corporate money in politics,” said Craig Holman, the government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen.

Did CFSAC's 'high priority list' illegally bypass public input?

2/19/2013
Phoenix Rising: Did CFSAC's 'high priority list' illegally bypass public input? by Jody Smith - A letter for Spotila was sent to Acting General Counsel William Schulz of the Department of Health and Human Services by Public Citizen. Michael A. Carome, M.D., of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, wrote to Schulz asking that CFSAC be compelled to act in accordance with its own charter and with the FACA. Carome asked that the document from January 2012 be sent back to the full committee, open to public scrutiny, to be reviewed appropriately.

After pills recalled, babies — and lawsuits — arrive

2/19/2013
The Kansas City Star: After pills recalled, babies — and lawsuits — arrive - “The FDA really doesn’t have legal authority to mandate (drug) recalls, believe it or not,” said Michael Carome, a physician and deputy director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. “All FDA can do is twist their arm.”

A data gap on Mass. doctors’ troubles

2/19/2013
Boston Global: A data gap on Mass. doctors’ troubles by Chelsea Conaboy - If access to a complete doctor’s history is important to those entities, “why is it not important to patients?” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen, a national consumer advocate. “The answer is, it is important to patients.” Wolfe said boards should make disciplinary records available to the public - and keep them available.

This isn't Office Depot's first time at the acquisition altar

2/19/2013
Fortune: This isn't Office Depot's first time at the acquisition altar - Consumer advocates immediately pounced, arguing that fewer office superstores would lead to increased prices for everything from pencils to desk chairs. For example, Ralph Nader's Public Citizen group found that a box of fax paper cost $7 less in markets where Staples and Office Depot competed with each other, compared to markets with just a single office superstore.

First step in Austin Energy's independent governance approved by counc

2/18/2013
Community Impact Newspaper: First step in Austin Energy's independent governance approved by counc - Tom Smith, the Texas director of Public Citizen—a consumer and environmental group involved in issues including energy, ethics, campaign finance reforms and urban sprawl—was one of many community members to speak to the council and said he feels the city should not create an independent board for AE and keep the governance of the utility with the council and residents.

Texas grid braces for possible power company restructuring

2/18/2013
Power Engineering: Texas grid braces for possible power company restructuring - Consumer Group Public Citizen has said additional revenue from a capacity market would not help the financial picture at EFH and would not lead to new investment in viable energy projects. Fraser is optimistic that EFH units can keep power flowing to Texans without disruption through any debt restructuring. But some are worried that whoever ends up with the company's assets after a restructuring may have too much market power to raise electricity prices.

Trade pact means job destruction

2/18/2013
Reading Eagle: Trade pact means job destruction by Phila Back - President Barack Obama claimed that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will boost American exports, support Americans jobs and level the playing field. However according to Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, the legacy of trade pacts on which the partnership is modeled has been job destruction.

Reforming FERC

2/17/2013
EnergyBiz: Reforming FERC by Tyson Slocum - WHILE MEDIA COVERAGE of recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission actions against banks for market manipulation and false statements portrays a new, get-tough look for the agency, one can just as easily conclude the opposite: The enforcements expose a commission scrambling to keep up with increasingly intricate manipulation strategies in overly complex markets, with the agency seemingly several steps behind. Indeed, the investigations - against Barclays, J.P. Morgan, Deutsche Bank and Constellation - demonstrate that FERC's experiment with voluntary RTO markets is in need of reform.

White House hits embarrassing milestone

2/15/2013
Hyperculture: White House hits embarrassing milestone - “I think it’s disturbing,” Keith Wrightson, a workplace safety expert at Public Citizen, a non-profit consumer advocacy group, said of the delay. “It’s hard to tell who’s holding this thing up.”

Preventing dirty laundry: Conaway explains his role as ethics panel chairman

2/15/2013
Abilene Reporter: Preventing dirty laundry: Conaway explains his role as ethics panel chairman - “It’s been critiqued over the years as in many ways being a black hole,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division.

Obama Administration's silence on silica is deafening, 2 years and counting for OSHA proposal

2/14/2013
Uncertain Principles: Obama Administration's silence on silica is deafening, 2 years and counting for OSHA proposal by Celeste Monforton - Although the Obama Administration’s silence about the status of OSHA’s proposed silica rule is deafening, a number of groups are expressing their displeasure about the two year delay. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka writing on HuffPost says “White House inaction on silica deadly for workers”; the Center for Effective Government says “it’s time for OIRA to stop blocking the silica rule”; and Public Citizen notes how the “obscure but powerful OIRA works against protecting the public.”

Public Citizen opposes FDA proposals for compounding labs

2/14/2013
Bob Kraft's P.I.S.S.D.: Public Citizen opposes FDA proposals for compounding labs by Bob Kraft - The Tennessean says Public Citizen sent HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius a letter expressing “strong opposition” to and “great concern” with FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg’s proposals for improved oversight of compounding labs in the wake of the fungal meningitis outbreak. In the letter, the consumer advocate said, “Dr.

Sen. Boxer hopes to bring climate legislation to floor by summer

2/14/2013
The Hill: Sen. Boxer hopes to bring climate legislation to floor by summer by Zack Colman - Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s energy program, said he thinks businesses could come around to support the bill. He said the legislation could offer more predictable policy compared with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions rules. EPA has begun moving ahead with climate regulations, and advocates want a more aggressive effort on that front during Obama's second term.

Judicial secrecy turns consumer protection case into a mystery

2/14/2013
Business Ethics: Judicial secrecy turns consumer protection case into a mystery by Lilly Fowler - But consumer groups are crying foul, branding the ruling a serious violation of the public’s right to know. The groups—Consumers Union, Public Citizen and the Consumer Federation of America—have asked an appeals court to lift the veil of secrecy by unsealing records in the case.

Why Canada hates the Volcker rule

2/13/2013
Macleans.ca: Why Canada hates the Volcker rule by Charles Reinhardt - Bart Naylor, a financial policy expert for the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, feels much the same way. “If these markets are real, a fall in volume [of bonds sold] should shortly be reflected in price,” he said in a phone interview from Washington, D.C. “Any mismatch between buyers and sellers [caused by the Volcker Rule] can be addressed by market makers. And any number of firms can replace banks that exit a market, such as hedge funds. In fact, a few of them have spoken up — but many presumably remain quiet as they depend on banks for credit and prime brokerage services.”

Impact, ethics of surgery slammed

2/13/2013
Sacramento Bee: Impact, ethics of surgery slammed - "To do something that has not been tested at all – for which you've been told you need to do rigorous animal studies first … – is extraordinarily serious and unethical," said Carome, now deputy director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, a nonprofit consumer organization with offices in Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas.

Food issues could complicate Obama's proposed European trade deal

2/13/2013
Individual.com: Food issues could complicate Obama's proposed European trade deal - Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, predicted that U.S. firms would try to get Europe to gut tougher regulations on food safety and chemicals, among other things, while European firms would object to stronger drug and medical devices safety and testing standards in the U.S.

Ex- TARP watchdog 'extremely disappointed' SOTU ignored Wall Street; bankers delighted

2/13/2013
Huffington Post: Ex- TARP watchdog 'extremely disappointed' SOTU ignored Wall Street; bankers delighted by Eleazar David Melendez & Bonnie Kavoussi - “I don’t think it’s the right thing to completely omit reform from the State of the Union,” said Lisa Gilbert, a director at pubic interest group Public Citizen. “[It] shows the topic has dropped in priorities, and that’s something we’re not happy about.”

Family awarded $63 million in Motrin case

2/13/2013
Boston Globe: Family awarded $63 million in Motrin case by Todd Wallack & Kay Lazar - “All drugs have risks and people need to be aware of them,” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen, a consumer group based in Washington, D.C.

New legal analysis shows how Obama Administration can avoid trade sanctions by strengthening popular consumer country- of- origin meat labels ruled against by WTO

2/12/2013
Eyes on Trade: New legal analysis shows how Obama Administration can avoid trade sanctions by strengthening popular consumer country- of- origin meat labels ruled against by WTO - “Ensuring American consumers’ right to know where their meat comes from must be the Obama administration’s priority,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “The American public’s antipathy toward our current trade policies would be greatly intensified if a WTO ruling empowered big agribusiness corporations to sell mystery meat here, despite U.S. consumers and Congress demanding these labels on which we all rely in grocery stores nationwide.”

Women should not use silicone breast implants: Public Citizen

2/12/2013
AboutLawsuits.com: Women should not use silicone breast implants: Public Citizen - Public Citizen, a consumer watchdog group, indicates that the FDA did not go far enough in warning women about the risks associated with silicone breast implants last week, suggesting that women should be advised against having the implants.

Texas group backs less peak use of electricity

2/12/2013
Star- Telegram: Texas group backs less peak use of electricity - The Austin office of Public Citizen said Tuesday that its new study shows that paying electricity generators to add capacity is not the solution to meeting the state's growing demand for power.

State of the Union: Obama calls for controversial trade deals

2/12/2013
Huffington Post: State of the Union: Obama calls for controversial trade deals by Zach Carter - "The whole agenda is this deregulatory agenda -- there's not much left in terms of traditional trade policy between the U.S. and the EU," said Lori Wallach, a trade lawyer at Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group. "It's food safety standards, financial regulation, chemical safety, pharmaceutical access rules, Internet freedom and antitrust rules."

NY Fracking Scandal: Seven Groups Demand Conflict of Interest Investigation of Cuomo Administration

2/12/2013
Huffington Post: NY Fracking Scandal: Seven Groups Demand Conflict of Interest Investigation of Cuomo Administration by Steve Horn - "New Yorkers must be assured that policy decisions are made on merit - and not because of the possibility of personal financial gain," Tyson Slocum, Director of the Public Citizen Energy Program told DeSmogBlog. "Given these financial holdings by key Cuomo decisionmakers, New York ought to review all aspects of the fracking review."

FDA May Change Warning Regs For Generic Labels

2/11/2013
Pharalot: FDA May Change Warning Regs For Generic Labels - The petition urging the FDA to make such a change was filed by Public Citizen. “Drug safety would benefit if generic manufacturers – who already have access to real-world information about adverse events – could use FDA procedures currently in place for brand-name manufacturers to revise labeling to warn of risks,” Sid Wolfe, who heads the Public Citizen Health Research Group, said in a statement. “Filling this regulatory gap would help to protect patients”

'Democracy in Motion' Stops in Morgantown

2/11/2013
WBOY-TV: 'Democracy in Motion' Stops in Morgantown - The Public Citizen's "Democracy in Motion" tour made its second stop in Morgantown on Monday.Organizer Angela Barden was traveling around the state to get people to support the overturn of "Citizens United," which allows for unlimited corporate spending in elections."It's important because no matter your background, no matter your beliefs, we have a system where it's one person, one vote. You should at least be able to have your opinion be just as valuable no matter your background and no matter your beliefs," Barden said.

How much will surgery cost? Good luck finding out

2/11/2013
NBC: How much will surgery cost? Good luck finding out by Steve James - Another consumer advocacy group, Public Citizen, noted that health care costs in the United States are higher than in any other industrialized nation. “Some people argue that the free market is the way to go,” said Dr. Michael Carome, who is deputy director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. “But in a free market you can compare (prices).”

Climate: Which Obama will show up Tuesday night?

2/9/2013
The Post Standard: Climate: Which Obama will show up Tuesday night? - "Climate change clearly is a policy priority for the president," Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's energy program, said recently. "But it seems like the frame has always been, 'What is the realistic legislative and political context?' This has generated a lot of frustration with some environmental groups, but the president in some respects is a creature of what Congress can give him."

Pain groups give FDA opioid panel alternatives to label changes

2/8/2013
MedPage Today: Pain groups give FDA opioid panel alternatives to label changes by Kristina Fiore - Within a few weeks of the filing of an FDA citizen petition by Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP) and Public Citizen calling for opioid labeling changes, Fudin founded a group called Professionals for Rational Opioid Monitoring and Pharmaco-Therapy (PROMPT), which voiced its support for a response to the PROP petition filed by the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM).

Canada Denies Patent For Drug, So US Pharma Company Demands $100 Million As Compensation For 'Expropriation'

2/8/2013
techdirt: Canada Denies Patent For Drug, So US Pharma Company Demands $100 Million As Compensation For 'Expropriation' by Glyn Moody - Here's a good example of how this provision is being invoked to contest a refusal by Canadian courts to grant a patent on a drug, as explained on the Public Citizen site: "Eli Lilly and Company has initiated formal proceedings under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to attack Canada's standards for granting drug patents, claiming that the denial of a medicine patent is an expropriation of its property rights granted by the agreement..."

Will an amendment to overturn Citizens United become a reality?

2/7/2013
Legal Speaks: Will an amendment to overturn Citizens United become a reality? - “The outrageous, misguided and illogical Citizens United decision has empowered corporations and endangered our democracy,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “As our report shows, secretive corporate and billionaire donors exerted an outsized influence over Election 2010. Their spending now casts a pall over all lawmaking, because any members of Congress who challenge corporate interests know they now risk facing a barrage of attack ads in the next election.

Non- political nonprofit's spending spikes in election years

2/7/2013
Center for Public Integrity: Non- political nonprofit's spending spikes in election years by Dave Levinthal - Such activity is evidence Americans for Job Security continues operating as a trade association with impunity, unafraid of the IRS, said Craig Holman, the government affairs lobbyist for reform advocacy group Public Citizen, which has filed several complaints against the outfit in recent years.

Bus billboards are a boon

2/7/2013
Record & Herald News: Bus billboards are a boon - According to a February 2012 report titled "School Commercialism: High Costs, Low Revenues," by the non-profit consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen, in schools around the country, advertising can be found on lockers, blackboards, cafeteria lunch trays, cafeteria menus, banners and wall spaces, and on television screens placed in common areas.

Consumer- friendly RTOs are needed

2/7/2013
EnergyBiz: Consumer- friendly RTOs are needed by Tyson Slocum - More than a decade after Enron, the organized markets are unnecessarily complex, plagued with uncompetitive practices, and their operations too opaque. Their only saving grace is that low natural gas prices are keeping marginal costs down, thereby shielding the public from the huge price increases these markets produced only a few years ago. Absent reforms, the trickle of manipulation cases will turn into a flood. Public Citizen recommends two actions: Establish an Office of Consumer Advocate at the commission, and improve RTO governance by reforming stakeholder voting rights.

FDA: Opioid labeling debated at hearing

2/7/2013
MedPage Today: FDA: Opioid labeling debated at hearing by Kristina Fiore - The petition, filed last summer by Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP) and Public Citizen, was signed by nearly 40 doctors, researchers, and public health officials aiming to make it more difficult for drug companies to market opioids for chronic, noncancer pain.

Austin City Council members call for independent Austin Energy board

2/6/2013
Poten & Partners: Austin City Council members call for independent Austin Energy board - Tom "Smitty" Smith, the head of the Texas chapter of watchdog group Public Citizen, said political accountability is critical for oversight of a public utility. He said the best approach would be to appoint four council members to the board, with a fifth board member appointed from among the 50,000 or so Austin Energy customers living outside the city.

Pleasure by association: Lobbyists gifts keep on giving

2/6/2013
KENS-TV: Pleasure by association: Lobbyists gifts keep on giving - “There’s a basic psychological principle, that if you associate somebody with pleasure, whether it be a gift or a fancy trip, that you will go out of your way to try and please them, to return the favor,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, Texas director for Public Citizen, a consumer watchdog group.

BP's U.S. defense contacts doubled since year of Gulf oil spill

2/6/2013
Bloomberg Businessweek: BP's U.S. defense contacts doubled since year of Gulf oil spill - BP should have been suspended directly after the spill, said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program for Public Citizen, a non-profit consumer watchdog group in Washington.

'Sunshine Act' gets guarded reaction

2/6/2013
Health Leaders Media: 'Sunshine Act' gets guarded reaction - Reaction to the final rule was mixed at Public Citizen. Michael A. Carome, MD, deputy director of the Health Research Group at the public advocacy group said it "strongly support[s] this new rule and [is] disappointed that it took CMS so long to issue it in final form, now more than a year after the statutory deadline for issuing the final rule has passed."

CMD and allies applaud re- launch of 'declaration of democracy' campaign to overturn Citizens United

2/6/2013
PR Watch: CMD and allies applaud re- launch of 'declaration of democracy' campaign to overturn Citizens United - We can't both maintain Citizens United as the law of the land and maintain a functioning democracy," said Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen. "A mounting public movement is demanding a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and restore our democracy. The legislators leading the way to winning a constitutional amendment are carrying out the grandest American traditions to defend and expand our democracy."

Head of lobbying firm hired by AshBritt will host Christie fundraiser

2/6/2013
Nj.com: Head of lobbying firm hired by AshBritt will host Christie fundraiser by Jenna Portnoy - "The fundraising event by Haley Barbour’s (firm) not only violates the spirit of the pay-to-play law, it’s outrageous to think that a government contractor can hire a lobbying firm to represent itself and then do fundraising for the same candidate who awards the contract," said Craig Holman, a campaign finance lobbyist with the Washington, D.C.-based Public Citizen. "I think this could cross the threshold of actually violating the law itself."

Rules of the game: Democrats' super PAC promotion signals shift

2/5/2013
Roll Call: Rules of the game: Democrats' super PAC promotion signals shift by Eliza Newlin Carney - “I would have expected them to come to Capitol Hill rallying the cry of campaign finance reform and saying these largely undisclosed or unlimited sources of money have to be reined in,” said Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. “Instead, what we got are these same freshman Democrats saying that they want to participate in this unlimited money slush fund system; these super PACs are a good deal. I find that very troubling.”

Public Citizen calls for new Vicodin restrictions

2/5/2013
AboutLawsuits.com: Public Citizen calls for new Vicodin restrictions by Irvin Jackson - The director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, Dr. Sidney Wolfe, testified at the advisory committee hearing, urging restrictions on the drug’s use.

Daily diet: New warnings on weight- loss drugs Alli and Xenical

2/5/2013
How to Lose Pounds fast: Daily diet: New warnings on weight- loss drugs Alli and Xenical - The consumer group Public Citizen is demanding that the FDA remove these drugs from the marketplace due to repeated reports and studies of adverse side effects to liver, kidneys and the pancreas. While these side effects are serious, they only affect a very small portion of the 40 million people who have taken a version of orlistat. Dr.

Crystal River nuclear reactor restart now delayed indefinitely

2/5/2013
Tampa Tribune: Crystal River nuclear reactor restart now delayed indefinitely - An indefinite shutdown makes sense said Tyler Slocum, director of the energy program at the advocacy group Public Citizen.

Campaign calls for limits on doctors' hours

2/4/2013
MedicineNet.com: Campaign calls for limits on doctors' hours by Amanda Gardner - "There are dangerously lax regulations of medical residents' work hours," said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen, a watchdog organization. "Today we are sending a letter signed by more than 40 organizations to the ACGME urging them to adopt rules to reduce sleep deprivation among tens of thousands of residents in whose hands the safety of millions of American patients are placed."

Stricter penalties needed for HSBC

2/4/2013
The Hill: Stricter penalties needed for HSBC - The U.S. Department of the Treasury, the DOJ and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency should grant Public Citizen’s FOIA requests seeking all records that pertain to the DOJ’s decision not to criminally prosecute HSBC. Public Citizen is not alone in calling for stricter penalties for HSBC’s wrongdoing and a more complete examination of the government’s inadequate response.

Construction fatalities cost California residents $2.9 billion

2/4/2013
AMAXX:: Construction fatalities cost California residents $2.9 billion by Michael B. Stack - Occupational injuries and fatalities in the construction industry cost California residents $2.9 billion between 2008 and 2010, a new Public Citizen report shows. Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization.

Obama embraces 'dark money'

2/4/2013
Washington Free Beacon: Obama embraces 'dark money' by Alana Goodman - “Organizing for Action marks a complete retreat for President Obama from his pledge to try to change the way we finance elections,” said Craig Holman, a government-affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen, a nonprofit organization opposed to corporate money in politics. “It makes a total mockery of any effort to try to limit corporate money.”

Hypertensive patients face higher risk of death

2/4/2013
How to Lose Pounds Fast: Hypertensive patients face higher risk of death - “The evidence is quite strong that home blood pressure monitoring leads to better control of blood pressure, and the evidence is quite strong that blood pressure control lowers the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and sudden death,” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe of the consumer group Public Citizen, adding that a 2-point drop in the reading results in a 4% drop in heart disease deaths.

Feds to disclose what drug companies pay to doctors and hospitals

2/3/2013
Digital Journal: Feds to disclose what drug companies pay to doctors and hospitals by Angela Norwood - "The question is whether there's some residual fondness for the company because they did pay you," said Sidney Wolfe, director of the health policy research group at Public Citizen. "More disclosure is better."

May Granny D's spirit enter all ready to work for our democracy

2/3/2013
Laconia Daily Sun: May Granny D's spirit enter all ready to work for our democracy - Granny D told us what we must do. It cannot stand, that corporations are people. I know that Public Citizen has taken initial steps to achieve a Constitutional amendment about that. Public Citizen, here I come. Time to work with you on this.

Hollywood cardiologist's ties with St. Jude sales rep raises red flags

2/3/2013
Miami Herald: Hollywood cardiologist's ties with St. Jude sales rep raises red flags - Michael Carome, a physician with the Washington watchdog group Public Citizen, said the underlying problem is the cost of healthcare. "Companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on sales and marketing, and they wouldn't be doing that unless they had an effect on their bottom line," Carome said. Those marketing costs are ultimately paid by the government, through Medicare and Medicaid, or by employers and consumers, through private insurers.

Christie urged to separate himself from Sandy relief fund

2/3/2013
NorthJersey.com: Christie urged to separate himself from Sandy relief fund by Melissa Hayes & Harvy Lipman - Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the watchdog group Public Citizen, said he doesn't question Christie's motivation, but said the Republican should distance himself from the charity.

Group urges FDA to take contraceptive off marketplace

2/3/2013
Our Health Life: Group urges FDA to take contraceptive off marketplace - “Ortho-Evra is a poor decision for girls,” Dr. Sidney Wolfe of the group, Public Citizen, wrote the Meals and Drug Administration.

Consumer groups call on President and Congress to pursue strong consumer agenda

2/1/2013
PR Newswire: Consumer groups call on President and Congress to pursue strong consumer agenda - The letter was signed by presidents and executive directors of Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Consumers League, National Consumer Law Center, Public Citizen, and U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

Tip of the iceberg

2/1/2013
Nightingale at large: Tip of the iceberg - Public Citizen found a total of 74 additional settlements, totaling $10.2 billion in financial penalties reached between the federal and state governments and pharmaceutical manufacturers between November 2, 2010 and July 18, 2012. As in the previous study, overcharging government health insurance programs–mainly drug pricing fraud against state Medicaid programs–was the most common violation while the unlawful promotion of drugs gathered the largest penalties.

Senators request USDA & Trade Representative protect COOL rules

2/1/2013
American AG Network: Senators request USDA & Trade Representative protect COOL rules by Shawna Aakre - The Senators’ letter is also supported by the Consumer Federation of America, Public Citizen, R-CALF, Food and Water Watch, and the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association.