June 2014 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.

U.S. says $9-billion BNP Paribas fine is warning to bank shareholders

6/30/2014
Los Angeles Times: U.S. says $9-billion BNP Paribas fine is warning to bank shareholders by E. Scott Reckard, Jim Puzzanghera - Business continues apace and at profit at one of the world's largest banks," said Bartlett Naylor, a financial policy advocate at the consumer group Public Citizen.

Wikileaks: Leaked TISA Text Shows US, EU Aggressively Rolling Back Regulations

6/30/2014
Mint Press News: Wikileaks: Leaked TISA Text Shows US, EU Aggressively Rolling Back Regulations by Carey Biron - “This is a text that big banks and financial speculators may love but that could do real damage to the rest of us,” Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, said in a statement.

BNP Paribas Admits Guilt and Agrees to Pay $8.9 Billion Fine to U.S.

6/30/2014
New York Times: BNP Paribas Admits Guilt and Agrees to Pay $8.9 Billion Fine to U.S. by Ben Protess and Jessica Silver-Greenberg - “Though we appreciate the magnitude of the BNP guilty plea, we believe this does not signify the end of ‘too big to jail,’ ” Public Citizen, a nonprofit watchdog group, said in a statement.

Congress Quietly Deletes a Key Disclosure of Free Trips Lawmakers Take

6/30/2014
The National Journal: Congress Quietly Deletes a Key Disclosure of Free Trips Lawmakers Take by Shane Goldmacher - Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the consumer group Public Citizen who closely tracks the international travels of lawmakers and the actions of the Ethics Committee, said he was "completely unaware" of the change until contacted by National Journal. "There's seems to be no reason I could imagine why the Ethics Committee would minimize the amount of information that gets reported," Holman said.

BNP Paribas accepts $8.9 billion penalty

6/30/2014
Politico: BNP Paribas accepts $8.9 billion penalty by Kate Davidson and Jon Prior - “Requiring the bank to suspend temporarily certain operations represents only a modest penalty,” Bartlett Naylor, financial policy advocate at Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, said in an email. “The DOJ introduced too-big-to-jail when it failed to [prosecute] HSBC. The DOJ has now invented the pain-free guilty plea.”

Peace Train: TPP: secret giveaways to corporations

6/27/2014
Colorado Daily: Peace Train: TPP: secret giveaways to corporations - Director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch said: "Via closed-door negotiations, U.S. officials are rewriting swaths of U.S. law that have nothing to do with trade, and ... have agreed to submit the U.S. government to the jurisdiction of foreign tribunals that can order unlimited payments of our tax dollars to foreign corporations that don't want to comply with the same laws our domestic firms do. U.S. trade officials are secretly limiting Internet freedoms, restricting financial regulation, extending medicine patents and giving corporations a whole host of other powers."

Two top Republicans back generic drugmakers in fight with FDA

6/27/2014
LifeScript: Two top Republicans back generic drugmakers in fight with FDA - for which there is no longer a branded counterpart.

KlearGear.com Ordered To Pay $306K To Couple Who Wrote Negative Review

6/27/2014
The Consumerist: KlearGear.com Ordered To Pay $306K To Couple Who Wrote Negative Review - “Now we’re going to be figuring out where KlearGear’s assets are and how we can collect them,” Public Citizen attorney Scott Michelman, who has been representing the couple in this case, tells Ars Technica.   The French company that appears now to own KlearGear made a series of statements to the media in which they attacked this lawsuit and me in particular but they never made any kind of motion to the court so there was nothing for the court to rule on as far as their objections were concerned.”

What is the Keystone XL Pipeline?

6/26/2014
State Impact Texas: What is the Keystone XL Pipeline? - A November 2013 report by the environmental group Public Citizen alleges many issues and defects with the construction of the southern leg of the pipeline, also known as the Gulf Coast Project, saying that “construction problems and apparent engineering code violations along the Texas portion of the southern segment of the pipeline” should have delayed the start of that section.

Another Secret Pro-Corporate Trade Negotiation Is Leaked

6/26/2014
United Steel Workers: Another Secret Pro-Corporate Trade Negotiation Is Leaked - Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch put out this statement on the leak: “If the text that was leaked today went into force, it would roll back the improvements made after the global financial crisis to safeguard consumers and financial stability and cement us into the extreme deregulatory model of the 1990s that led to the crisis in the first place and the billions in losses to consumers and governments. This is a text that big banks and financial speculators may love but that could do real damage to the rest of us.

Advocacy Group Blasts Mobile Cardiovascular Screening Company for ‘Unethical’ Practices

6/26/2014
TCTmd.com: Advocacy Group Blasts Mobile Cardiovascular Screening Company for ‘Unethical’ Practices - The Washington, DC-based advocacy group Public Citizen mailed letters to 20 US hospitals on June 19, 2014, urging them to “immediately terminate” their relationships with HealthFair and accusing the company of “erroneously suggest[ing] that for most adults in the general population, these screening tests are useful in the prevention of several potentially life-threatening cardiovascular illnesses… and make them sound like an appealing bargain,” according to a press release.

SEC getting cold feet on Dodd-Frank?

6/26/2014
The Hill: SEC getting cold feet on Dodd-Frank? - In the majority of cases, the SEC now tells the public it needs more time to consider or finalize proposals," said Bartlett Naylor, who wrote the report for Public Citizen. “Sorely needed Wall Street reform measures ordered by Congress to protect regular Americans and the markets still have not come to fruition nearly seven years after the financial collapse,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “This is an unacceptable pace for rulemaking.”

As Renewables Grow in Texas, Battles Over Fees and Subsidies Emerge

6/25/2014
KUT.org: As Renewables Grow in Texas, Battles Over Fees and Subsidies Emerge - “Wind is working so well that it is now pushing some of the more traditional sources of generation off the grid,” says Tom “Smitty” Smith, heads the environmental watchdog group Public Citizen in Texas. And as a result, the big coal companies and others are starting to fight back to tax the transmission system for wind and for solar to try and make them less popular,” Smith said.

WSJ Upset Supreme Court Didn't Destroy Class Action Lawsuits In Halliburton

6/24/2014
Media Matters for America: WSJ Upset Supreme Court Didn't Destroy Class Action Lawsuits In Halliburton by Meagan Hatcher-Mays - According to a recent report from consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, the idea that securities class actions are "abusive and meritless does not withstand scrutiny." Moreover, institutional investors who typically bring securities class actions like the one in dispute in Halliburton have no incentive to bring frivolous lawsuits against the companies they've invested in.

Researcher Charged in Major HIV Vaccine Fraud Case

6/24/2014
Associated Press: Researcher Charged in Major HIV Vaccine Fraud Case - "It's a pretty extraordinary case involving clear, intentional falsification," added Mike Carome, a consumer advocate and director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group. "The wool was pulled over many people's eyes."

Rep. Don Young Gets A Slap On The Wrist For A Decade Of Improper Gifts

6/23/2014
Talking Points Memo: Rep. Don Young Gets A Slap On The Wrist For A Decade Of Improper Gifts by Sahil Kapur - "Rep. Young violated congressional ethics rules and federal laws for over a decade in misusing campaign funds, accepting free gifts from special interest who wanted something in return – gifts ranging from luxurious travel junkets to Le Chameau boots – and then failing to report many of those gifts," said Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen. "These are egregious violations of the public trust, violations that should have spurred the ethics committee and the Department of Justice into looking at what Young may have exchanged for these gifts."

Mark Warner and Black Rock: It's Complicated

6/20/2014
Open Secrets: Mark Warner and Black Rock: It's Complicated by Lalita Clozel - The blind trust “is a good way for a senator or a member of Congress to even avoid raising suspicions,” said Craig Holman, who lobbies on governmental ethics for the advocacy group Public Citizen. Holman said members of Congress should trade only on public stocks to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest. “But no member of Congress will do that,” he added. “They won’t get much money out of it.”

Consumer group urges hospitals to stop 'unethical' health screenings

6/19/2014
Los Angeles Times: Consumer group urges hospitals to stop 'unethical' health screenings by Chad Terhune - It is exploitative to promote and provide medically non-beneficial testing through the use of misleading and fear-mongering advertisements in order to generate medically unnecessary but profitable referrals to the institutions partnered with HealthFair," said Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.

Allergan, Defending Its Fort Botox

6/14/2014
New York Times: Allergan, Defending Its Fort Botox by Natasha Singer - “It’s trial and error with a nerve poison,” Dr. Sidney M. Wolfe, the founder of the health research group at Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, said in an interview with The New York Times several years ago.

Clinton super-PAC backs down from 'Ready for Oligarchy' fight

6/13/2014
The Hill: Clinton super-PAC backs down from 'Ready for Oligarchy' fight by Julian Hattem - Dan McCall, the libertarian Minnesota activist behind the shirts, received support in his fight from consumer interest group Public Citizen. After the super-PAC backed down on Friday, the group's attorney, Paul Levy said the case was a victory for free speech. “Although it should never have gone this far in the first place, we are pleased that the Ready for Hillary PAC recognized Dan McCall’s free speech rights and rescinded its takedown demands,” he said in a statement.

Which federal agencies do lobbyist target most?

6/13/2014
PBS Newshour: Which federal agencies do lobbyist target most? by Elizabeth Shell - “It’s not surprising during a period of time in which most environmental rules were pretty stifled, it wasn’t a good expenditure or use of time for lobbyists to go visit that agency,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch. She also noted the uptick for Health and Human Services was likely due to the Affordable Care Act. “I don’t anticipate that going down anytime soon,” she said, referring to the fact that the law is not yet fully implemented.

Appeals court: Labor Dept violated law

6/13/2014
Associated Press: Appeals court: Labor Dept violated law by Pete Yost - The appeals court decision will force the Labor Department to reconsider "the unjust employment standards that it set for sheep and cattle herders," said Julie Murray, an attorney at the advocacy group Public Citizen and counsel for the herders who filed the lawsuit. The ruling "is a victory for U.S. and foreign herders alike, who toil for unconscionably low pay and are often forced to live in abysmal housing conditions," Murray added.  

Supreme Court: Yes, Pom Wonderful Can Sue Coke for False Advertising

6/12/2014
The Morning Star: Supreme Court: Yes, Pom Wonderful Can Sue Coke for False Advertising - Supreme Court: Yes, Pom Wonderful Can Sue Coke For False Advertising; "What's significant about the opinion from the consumer perspective," said Scott Nelson, attorney for Public Citizen's Litigation Group told Benzinga, is that it "clarifies how narrow the FDCA's preemption provisions are, which means that it will simplify bringing consumer claims regarding similarly deceptive marketing."

Sauk Rapids artist draws attention from Clinton group

6/11/2014
Bloomberg: Sauk Rapids artist draws attention from Clinton group by Kevin Allenspach - Bloomberg Businessweek McCall's attorney, Paul Alan Levy, who works with Public Citizen, a government watchdog organization based in Washington, D.C., said McCall's slogan plays off the concern that the next presidential election could feature major-party candidates who are relatives of former presidents.

Yelpers wait for Virginia Supreme Court's five-star review

6/11/2014
The Washington Times: Yelpers wait for Virginia Supreme Court's five-star review by Andrea Noble - “In this case, I think ultimately the question is whether there will be a right to make anonymous commentary about merchants,” said Paul Alan Levy, an attorney who represented Yelp and works with the consumer-advocacy group Public Citizen.  “The law provides a procedure for setting up a question of whether a subpoena is permissible. It doesn’t say if it meets the parameters of the laws that the subpoena must be enforced.” Mr. Levy said.

Preemie Research Highlights Concerns With Human Experimentation

6/10/2014
MintPressNews: Preemie Research Highlights Concerns With Human Experimentation by Frederick Reese - Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, obtained, via a Freedom of Information Act request, a draft of a letter in which the Office of the Secretary and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health knowingly permitted the director of the National Institutes of Health to interfere with the Office of Human Research Protection’s compliance oversight investigation of SUPPORT.

Pro-Hillary super-PAC in fight over ‘Ready for Oligarchy’ merchandise

6/9/2014
The Hill: Pro-Hillary super-PAC in fight over ‘Ready for Oligarchy’ merchandise by Julian Hattem - In a letter to the group on Monday, attorney Paul Levy wrote that “critical speech directed at a candidate for president is squarely protected by the First Amendment, hence any application of trademark law to quash such uses is highly suspect.”

Moms tricked into deadly experimental trial

6/8/2014
WorldNetDaily: Moms tricked into deadly experimental trial by John Aman - “The consent forms for the SUPPORT study had egregious deficiencies, and there was a failure to disclose the serious risks of the research, including the risk of death, brain injury and blindness from an eye disease called retinopathy of prematurity,” says Michael Carome, M.D., director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. “We believe that had parents been adequately informed, many would not have enrolled their premature infants in this study.

Should police get workplace protections?

6/5/2014
The Hill: Should police get workplace protections? - Keith Wrightson, workplace safety advocate at Public Citizen, suggested the new emergency response standards should include protective clothing and equipment, training, respiratory protections and medical surveillance for firefighters who have been exposed to hazards. “Emergency responders, the nation’s bravest workforce, have been historically denied OSHA protections," Wrightson told The Hill. "It is time for the Obama administration to step up and create new workplace protections for those whose sole mission is to protect us from harm and danger.”

Lawmakers’ PSAs for broadcasters could have other benefits

6/4/2014
Politico: Lawmakers’ PSAs for broadcasters could have other benefits by Byron Tau - “This is gift-giving for lobbying purposes,” said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the group Public Citizen. “The National Association of Broadcasters found a clever way of getting around that rule by allowing members to participate in public service announcements,” Holman said. “It gives them free TV in their districts which members of Congress love more than anything else.”

Full Disclosure: Did Government’s Experiment on Preemies Hide Risks?

6/3/2014
The Daily Signal: Full Disclosure: Did Government’s Experiment on Preemies Hide Risks? by Sharyl Attkisson - “The word ‘unethical’ doesn’t even begin to describe the egregious and shocking deficiencies in the informed-consent process for this study,” says Dr. Michael Carome, an internationally recognized expert on research ethics with the Washington, D.C.-based consumer watchdog group Public Citizen.

Texas Environmental Leaders Applaud Landmark Climate Change Initiative

6/2/2014
PR Newswire: Texas Environmental Leaders Applaud Landmark Climate Change Initiative - “Action on climate change now will save money in the future in lower electricity rates, health costs, food prices and disaster-related insurance. Texas's shift to renewables is already generating good, high-paying jobs. Together, they employ five times more people than the state's coal industry. If our state leaders handle these new carbon standards correctly, they can be a springboard for Texas into a new energy future." – Tom "Smitty" Smith, director, Public Citizen's Texas office.

Why environmentalist are already disappointed with the EPA’s new climate change plan

6/2/2014
Slate: Why environmentalist are already disappointed with the EPA’s new climate change plan by Jordan Weissmann - Groups like Public Citizen and Natural Resources Defense Council have called the plan a “good first step” but are going to push for steeper emissions targets during the proposal’s public comment period.

The nine things you need to know about Obama’s new climate rules

6/2/2014
Grist: The nine things you need to know about Obama’s new climate rules by Ben Adler - “They’re trying to get utilities to be on board on with this,” says Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s energy program. “They want utilities to participate in this process.”

Business groups close ranks for climate battle

6/2/2014
The Hill: Business groups close ranks for climate battle by Ben Goad - “There is every reason to believe that scaled-up investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy will be cheaper than relying on coal, especially as new technologies and economies of scale come into play,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group. “Whether the rule keeps electricity costs in check will depend on state implementation plans.”

The GOP Is Freaking Out Over the EPA’s Carbon Rules. Why Aren’t Power Companies?

6/2/2014
The Nation: The GOP Is Freaking Out Over the EPA’s Carbon Rules. Why Aren’t Power Companies? by Zoe Carpenter - “Essentially what’s happening here is an industry split: regulated electric utilities (American Electric Power, Dominion Resources, Xcel and more) are saying relatively benign, if not supportive things about the June 2 power plant rule,” Tyson Slocum, director at Public Citizen’s Energy program, said in a statement. “Southern, Dominion et al. understand that they can work with state legislatures to implement cost-effective compliance measures.”

Gas boom dulls carbon rule's effect

6/2/2014
The Baltimore Sun: Gas boom dulls carbon rule's effect by Don Lee - "If the states do a good job directing investment into cost-effective energy efficiency with a goal of maximizing value for consumers, then households will most likely see electric rates go down as a result of this proposed rule," said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group.

Dems give big to Senate Majority PAC

6/2/2014
Politico: Dems give big to Senate Majority PAC by Burgess Everett & Tarini Part - “It’s an ongoing discussion — how can we engage them on this topic when they want to use every tool in their arsenal to win elections?” said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch. “It’s a sad reality of the system that we hope to change.”

EPA Quietly Signs Off on State Carbon Taxes

6/2/2014
National Journal: EPA Quietly Signs Off on State Carbon Taxes by Ben Geman - Tyson Slocum of the liberal watchdog group Public Citizen said the ad hoc coalition will now push the idea with states, too. "You are absolutely going see that communicated to states as they work thorough this process" of crafting plans to comply with the EPA rules, said Slocum, director of Public Citizen's energy program.

Days Before Obama Announced CO2 Rule, Exxon Awarded Gulf of Mexico Oil Leases

6/2/2014
Daily Kos: Days Before Obama Announced CO2 Rule, Exxon Awarded Gulf of Mexico Oil Leases by Steve Horn - “The Obama Administration has had a problem of stove-pipe energy policy: announcing separate, often competing policies when it comes to reducing emissions,” Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen‘s energy program, told DeSmogBlog.

It’s Time We Learned What Members of Congress Pay in Taxes

6/1/2014
A Guy in New York: It’s Time We Learned What Members of Congress Pay in Taxes - “Senior public officials, especially members of Congress and presidential candidates, should be required to disclose their tax returns so that the public can monitor potential conflicts of interest,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, a nonpartisan watchdog group.

Obama’s proposed power plant rules fall slightly short of environmentalists’ hopes

6/1/2014
Grist: Obama’s proposed power plant rules fall slightly short of environmentalists’ hopes by Ben Adler - “It’s a good first step, and only the proposed rule,” says Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s energy program. “We’ll submit comments pushing for a stronger standard.”

Lawmakers' PSAs for broadcasters could have other benefits

6/1/2014
Politico: Lawmakers' PSAs for broadcasters could have other benefits by Byron Tau - “This is gift-giving for lobbying purposes,” said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the group Public Citizen. “The National Association of Broadcasters found a clever way of getting around that rule by allowing members to participate in public service announcements,” Holman said. “It gives them free TV in their districts, which members of Congress love more than anything else.”