September 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.

Do voters want regulators to be tougher on businesses?

10/1/2014
Philadelphia Business Journal: Do voters want regulators to be tougher on businesses? by Kent Hoover - “The results turn upside down conventional wisdom about voters’ views on regulations,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.

Is the Senate Ethics Committee Working?

10/1/2014
National Journal: Is the Senate Ethics Committee Working? by Sarah Mimms and Billy House- - "The Senate Ethics Committee is not doing its job. Despite many news stories of scandal and transgressions among senators, the committee has dismissed every complaint filed with it over the last couple years," said Holman. "Something is gravely amiss here."

Sunshine Act Database Debuts to Skepticism

10/1/2014
MedPage Today: Sunshine Act Database Debuts to Skepticism by Joyce Frieden - Michael Carome, MD, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group here, agreed that the data is not very user-friendly and said he hoped that another organization would be able to take the data and make it easier to use. Carome noted that his organization "thinks this type of transparency is a very good thing and we have long supported it."

Support Strong for Regulating Politics and Nonprofits

9/30/2014
The New York Times: Support Strong for Regulating Politics and Nonprofits by Carl Hulse - A bipartisan poll of 800 Americans by the conservative Hudson Institute and the liberal group Public Citizen found that eight out of 10 of those polled supported clear rules being put in place on the activities of political groups.

As Dark Money Floods U.S. Elections, Regulators Turn a Blind Eye

9/30/2014
Newsweek: As Dark Money Floods U.S. Elections, Regulators Turn a Blind Eye by Leah McGrath Goodman - “The sheer numbers on display have caused this year to be christened the dark money election,” says Lisa Gilbert, a director at Public Citizen, a nonprofit think tank in Washington that lobbies for government transparency and financial reform. “Our goal is to get new rules in place before 2016, so that by the time we get to the next presidential election, we have a lot more transparency and disclosure in the system.”

Doctors Pull In $3.5 Billion in 5 Months From Drug and Device Companies

9/30/2014
Bloomberg: Doctors Pull In $3.5 Billion in 5 Months From Drug and Device Companies by Caroline Chen, Michelle Fay Cortez and Alex Wayne - The pay has “an insidious corrupting influence on the practice of medicine, research, the development of clinical guidelines and clinical practice,” said Michael Carome of Public Citizen, a Washington-based nonprofit watchdog group. “The reason companies pay physicians honoraria and give them gifts and consulting fees is ultimately to influence the prescribing practices.”

Poll: Voters support stronger nonprofit rules

9/30/2014
The Hill: Poll: Voters support stronger nonprofit rules by Bernie Becker - The poll, conducted for the good government group Public Citizen and the conservative Hudson Institute, also found that eight in 10 voters believe it’s an issue that political operatives and donors take advantage of vague and blurry rules.

Detailing Financial Links of Doctors and Drug Makers

9/30/2014
The New York Times: Detailing Financial Links of Doctors and Drug Makers by Katie Thomas, Agustine Armendariz and Sarah Cohen - “When you look at why do drug companies and device companies make gifts and offer consulting payments and honoraria to physicians, the main goal is to influence prescribing practices,” said Dr. Michael Carome, the director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. “The interest of those companies is to improve their financial bottom line, and not necessarily represent the best interest of patients.”

Bank critics: Get tough with DOJ pick

9/30/2014
The Hill: Bank critics: Get tough with DOJ pick by Peter Schroeder - “Big corporations are subjected to a double standard, and they’re given an opportunity to enter into deferred nonprosecution agreements almost as a normal course of business now,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.

Week ahead: Advocates plan new front in war over regs

9/29/2014
The Hill: Week ahead: Advocates plan new front in war over regs by Benjamin Goad and Tim Devaney - “When it comes to enforcement, do agencies have authority to hold violators accountable? Sadly, the answer is often no,” said Amit Narang, a regulatory policy advocate at Public Citizen.

The Trans Fat-cific Partnership - Clogging the artery of local democracy and sustainability

9/28/2014
Twin Cities Daily Planet: The Trans Fat-cific Partnership - Clogging the artery of local democracy and sustainability by Lee Samuelson - Such trans-national autocracy is already happening. Under the WTO “trade authority”, the American Electronics Association, (AeA) took the European Union “to court” to resist proposals for a ban on toxic components and for the use of a minimum 5% recycled plastic in the manufacture of electronic goods. According to the American NGO Public Citizen, the AeA "made the astounding claim that there is no evidence that heavy metals, like lead, pose a threat to human health or the environment".

Was Gwen Graham a Washington lobbyist?

9/28/2014
PolitiFact Florida: Was Gwen Graham a Washington lobbyist? by Joshua Gillin - "I think her firm is right by saying they were being overly compliant," said Lisa Gilbert, director of the Congress Watch Division for liberal consumer-advocacy group Public Citizen. "Under the definitions at the time, she certainly did not perform lobbying activities. That said, to a layman, her support would seem like lobbying. You can't tell from the documentation."

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Bombing ISIS

9/27/2014
Daily KOS: Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Bombing ISIS by Greg DworkinThe attorney general secured no big-name convictions from the financial crisis. Can his reputation overcome that. - “That area of his record is terrible,” says Robert Weissman, president of the progressive nonprofit, Public Citizen.Weissman is criticizing U.S. attorney general Eric Holder for his “utter failure to prosecute any [major] institution or person for the events that led to the financial crisis and all the ensuing social devastation."

Medicare payment system needs overhaul

9/26/2014
Talk Radio News Service: Medicare payment system needs overhaul - An obscure, secretive medical association committee that recommends Medicare physician payment levels should be replaced to eliminate a conflict of interest, Public Citizen said in a report, Inside Job: How an influential group of doctors exerts influence over Medicare payments to physicians.

Public Citizen Calls For End of Industry Influence on FDA Advisory Councils

9/26/2014
About Lawsuits: Public Citizen Calls For End of Industry Influence on FDA Advisory Councils by Irvin Jackson - The prominent consumer advocacy group Public Citizen indicates that former FDA advisory committee members who now work for corporate interests should not be allowed to speak before the same committees they used to sit on to try and influence votes.

Eric Holder's Biggest Failure

9/25/2014
New Republic: Eric Holder's Biggest Failure by Danny Vinik - “Holder came into office in the immediate aftermath of a devastating financial crisis caused by an epidemic of corporate crime and wrongdoing,” Robert Weismann, the president of the regulatory watchdog Public Citizen, said in a statement Thursday. “Five years later, he has failed utterly to hold the perpetrators of the crisis accountable.”

GOP bids farewell to top target in Holder

9/25/2014
POLITICO: GOP bids farewell to top target in Holder by Josh Gerstein and Burgess Everett - "Holder came into office in the immediate aftermath of a devastating financial crisis caused by an epidemic of corporate crime and wrongdoing. Five years later, he has failed utterly to hold the perpetrators of the crisis accountable,” Robert Weissman of Public Citizen said. “‘Too big to jail’ became de facto policy, as the U.S. Department of Justice declined to prosecute or even seriously investigate the Wall Street banks or their CEOs who crashed our economy and devastated communities across the country.”

FDA Advisory Panels Reject Testosterone Replacement Therapy

9/25/2014
FDA News: FDA Advisory Panels Reject Testosterone Replacement Therapy - There is no solid evidence that age-related hypogonadism exists or that TRTs are helping patients who take them for this purpose, said Public Citizen’s Michael Carome, who offered testimony at the meeting. About 50 percent of men stop taking the therapy after three or four months, according to industry and FDA data. Carome said that this suggests the products are not particularly effective.

GovBeat: Yelp, Facebook, Google and Microsoft reconsider their relationship with free-market group ALEC

9/25/2014
A Breaking News: GovBeat: Yelp, Facebook, Google and Microsoft reconsider their relationship with free-market group ALEC by Niraj Chokshi - The Center for Media and Democracy maintains ALEC Exposed, an online encyclopedia about the organization featuring hundreds of documents. Other progressive groups, including Greenpeace, Sierra Club, People for the American Way, Public Citizen, Color of Change and Forecast the Facts, have also campaigned against ALEC.

Despite split from group, Google’s links to climate change denial run deep

9/25/2014
SF Gate: Despite split from group, Google’s links to climate change denial run deep by Joe Garofoli and David R. Baker - Google’s willingness to tolerate that contradiction demonstrates just how badly the company wants to make inroads with conservatives, said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at the Public Citizen watchdog group.“That just tells you that Google’s number one priority is getting access to powerful individuals,” Slocum said. “Google likes to present itself as this company that goes about things in a totally different way. And that’s not the case. They’re playing the same influence games as everyone else does.”

Members of Congress enjoy lax regulations on personal investments

9/25/2014
LJWorld: Members of Congress enjoy lax regulations on personal investments - “It's particularly ironic also because the executive branch has a much tougher conflict of interest requirement,” said Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for the watchdog group Public Citizen. “People who are appointed to presidential posts, for instance, are required to divest themselves of any stocks that pose a conflict of interest with their appointments, with their official position.”“And Congress will hold hearings on all these presidential appointments and make sure that these appointees divest themselves of all stocks that pose a conflict of interest,” Holman said.

Obama Lauds Holder But Mum as to Successor

9/25/2014
Real Clear Politics: Obama Lauds Holder But Mum as to Successor by Alexis Simendinger - Public Citizen weighed in, too, offering measured praise but also faulting Holder and his team for failing to punish any of the top Wall Street financial executives who helped plunge the globe into the 2008 financial crisis. (Obama on Thursday praised Justice for securing $85 billion in fines from cases brought against big banks and other financial firms.)

Austin Energy Offers Solar Expansion as City Zeroes in on Carbon-Free Goal

9/25/2014
KUT: Austin Energy Offers Solar Expansion as City Zeroes in on Carbon-Free Goal by Mike Kanin - Still, task force Chair Michael Osborne (himself a former utility honcho) and task force member Tom “Smitty” Smith (whose day job is with Public Citizen) told Council members that the gas market is headed for steeper prices as fracking production begins to wind down. That could drive up prices and decrease demand, or increase demand for comparable or cheaper resources. Both have also said that the plan is imminently feasible — and affordable.

Eric Holder Resigns, Setting Up Fight Over Successor

9/25/2014
The New York Times: Eric Holder Resigns, Setting Up Fight Over Successor by Michael D. Schear - Mr. Holder’s record was “badly blemished by his nearly overwhelming failure to hold corporate criminals accountable,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a corporate watchdog group. “ ‘Too big to jail’ became de facto policy.”

The Blotch on Eric Holder’s Record: Wall Street Accountability

9/25/2014
The Nation: The Blotch on Eric Holder’s Record: Wall Street Accountability by George Zornick - It did seem that Justice became more responsive to these criticisms after Obama was re-elected, and Weissman hopes that continues after Holder. “With a clean slate, Obama should apply a litmus test: a new nominee has to clearly show their willingness to hold accountable the institutions and individuals on Wall Street who devastated Main Street,” he said. “And they have to be crystal clear that they are abandoning the too-big-to-jail doctrine.”

Across the aisle, voters are speaking – The IRS should listen

9/25/2014
The Hill: Across the aisle, voters are speaking – The IRS should listen by Lisa Gilbert - Op-ed by Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.

State comptroller criticizes wind power subsidies

9/24/2014
Energybiz: State comptroller criticizes wind power subsidies - It understates the subsidies given to natural gas, nuclear and coal plants, said Tom Smith, head of the Austin office of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, and "ignores totally the costs of hidden environmental damages caused by these types of plants -- such as the wastes from coal mining, fracking or nuclear power generation."

Devin Fergus remembers late congressman who played pivotal role in mortgage crisis

9/24/2014
Rolling Out: Devin Fergus remembers late congressman who played pivotal role in mortgage crisis by Devin Fergus - Various financial special interests took a special interest in the Rhode Islander. For instance, according to a study conducted by the non-partisan Public Citizen’s Watch of 231 members of Congress in 1983, St. Germain received nearly nine times more than the average campaign contribution amount from political action committees. St. Germain would be hounded out of office, losing his reelection bid in 1988.

OGE Director Shaub wants a stronger, more transparent ethics community

9/24/2014
Federal News Radio: OGE Director Shaub wants a stronger, more transparent ethics community by Jason Miller - One common complaint from good government groups, such as Public Citizen, is the inconsistency in how agencies apply the ethics rules and laws. Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen, said OGE should have more authority and oversight around ethics rules and laws. He said the current setup isn't working, because agency ethics officials answer to department and deputy secretaries and do not have enough independence.

Groups sue DOT over entry-level truck driver training

9/24/2014
Safety + Health: Groups sue DOT over entry-level truck driver training - According to Public Citizen, which is representing the advocacy groups, Congress first instructed DOT to complete rulemaking on driver training by 1993. But DOT never fully complied, Public Citizen said. The lawsuit calls for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to order DOT to issue entry-level driver training regulations.

Can a company stop you from writing a negative online review? Not if Congress passes this bill

9/23/2014
Today Money: Can a company stop you from writing a negative online review? Not if Congress passes this bill by Herb Weisbaum - Earlier this year, Public Citizen, a non-profit consumer group, sued KlearGear on behalf of the Palmers. In May, a judge ruled the Palmers did not owe KlearGear anything based on its non-disparagement clause. After several attempts, NBC News was unable to reach anyone at the company for comment.Scott Michelman, a staff attorney at Public Citizen, calls these clauses “a tool to bully, harass and threaten” people who question or criticize a company in any way and prevent them from sharing opinions that other people might find valuable.

Google Takes Step to Rectify Conflicting Climate Message: Public Citizen Calls for Google to Also Leave U.S. Chamber of Commerce

9/23/2014
Southeast Green: Google Takes Step to Rectify Conflicting Climate Message: Public Citizen Calls for Google to Also Leave U.S. Chamber of Commerce - At Google’s 2014 shareholder meeting, Public Citizen helped organize a rally of 100 people calling for Google to make its political spending more transparent and to leave ALEC and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Inside the meeting, when Jewler noted in Q&A how many tech companies have more transparent political spending policies than Google, Schmidt acknowledged the calls for greater political spending transparency, saying, “We need to be more transparent – is that right? We get it. We’ve heard that from a number of other shareholders, so let us come back with some ideas.

Move To Curb U.S. Corporate Tax Dodges Could Delay Reform

9/23/2014
NPR: Move To Curb U.S. Corporate Tax Dodges Could Delay Reform by Marilyn Geewax - Public Citizen said it "applauds the action" by Treasury, but the consumer-rights group said broader reform legislation is still needed.

Lawmakers push for new limits to political intelligence brokers

9/23/2014
The Hill: Lawmakers push for new limits to political intelligence brokers by Peter Schroeder - “It definitely improves the prospects of this going forward,” said Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. “Now that Eric Cantor is no longer in the House ... there may not be that much opposition to this legislation.”

US Agency Under Fire for Alleged Telework Fraud

9/22/2014
Voice of America: US Agency Under Fire for Alleged Telework Fraud by Jeffrey Young - “It is always difficult for an employer to ensure that teleworking employees are not sleeping on the job,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. “But if administrators at the Patent and Trademark Office mislead ethics watchdogs as to the extent of the problem at that government agency, it is the agency itself that needs to be investigated for wrongdoing.”

“Wal-Mart Running Illegal PAC Scheme, Watchdog Groups and Employees Charge in FEC Complaint”

9/22/2014
Election Law Blog: “Wal-Mart Running Illegal PAC Scheme, Watchdog Groups and Employees Charge in FEC Complaint” by Rick Hansen - “Wal-Mart is running an illegal scheme to prod employees into contributing to its political action committee, circumventing a federal law that bars companies from putting corporate funds into political campaigns, Public Citizen, Common Cause and two Wal-Mart employees and shareholders charged today. In a complaint to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the public interest organizations and employee-shareholders Cynthia Murray and Evelin Cruz detailed a program in which Wal-Mart reportedly solicits managers for contributions to its political action committee (PAC).

Moynihan's Next Act: Getting BofA Back to Bread & Butter Business

9/22/2014
On Wall Street: Moynihan's Next Act: Getting BofA Back to Bread & Butter Business - Bartlett Naylor, a financial policy advocate at Public Citizen, a nonprofit watchdog group, denounced the agreement, saying the profits that Bank of America made from the securitization of nearly $1 trillion of loans sold to investors far exceeded the penalties.“They had a machinery that was full of fraud, and this is a settlement made outside of the courts with little transparency,” Naylor said. “We don’t know how much they gained, but the figure is not in the same order of magnitude.”

FEC complaint accuses Walmart of breaking campaign finance law

9/22/2014
Al Jazeera: FEC complaint accuses Walmart of breaking campaign finance law by Naureen Khan - Nevertheless, in the late 1980s, the FEC declared it legal for companies to make matching contributions to charities in exchange for employee PAC contributions, providing an incentive for workers to financially support corporations’ political agendas and elect company-favored candidates. Still, the three groups filing the complaint — campaign finance watchdog organizations Common Cause and Public Citizen and Our Walmart, an employee advocacy group — say Walmart has gone beyond the parameters of the programs approved in the past.

Business slams plan to expand consumer protection bureau's complaint website

9/22/2014
The Hill: Business slams plan to expand consumer protection bureau's complaint website by Kevin Cirilli - “We’ve long believed that the addition of narratives gives individuals a much richer understanding of the problems reported, and allows the public to assess their validity and draw its own conclusions,” according to another comment letter signed by 49 groups, including the NAACP and Public Citizen.

Walmart goes too far in pushing PAC donations, groups say

9/22/2014
Daily KOS: Walmart goes too far in pushing PAC donations, groups say - Three advocacy groups have teamed up to file a complaint about Walmart's dodgy campaign finance practices with the Federal Election Commission. Public Citizen, Common Cause, and OUR Walmart say that Walmart's reward for workers donating to the company's PAC crosses the line; by offering to contribute two dollars to a charity for every dollar workers give to the PAC, Walmart is going beyond what the FEC has previously approved, the groups argue.

Wal-Mart running illegal PAC scheme, groups charge

9/22/2014
MarketWatch: Wal-Mart running illegal PAC scheme, groups charge by Robert Schroeder - The groups Public Citizen and Common Cause joined a labor group called OUR Walmart in a complaint to the Federal Election Commission on Monday. The complaint asks the FEC to investigate a program that matches every dollar donated by employees to the company’s PAC with a $2 donation to the Associates in Critical Need Trust.

Up To Speed: Wal-Mart accused of skirting elections law (Video)

9/22/2014
Business Journal: Up To Speed: Wal-Mart accused of skirting elections law (Video) by David A. Arnott - Several advocacy groups are charging Wal-Mart with improperly administering a political-action committee. In a complaint expected to be filed to the Federal Election Commission, the groups pointed to a Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) program that solicits donations from employees to the PAC and offers to make matching donations to its Wal-Mart Associates in Critical Need Trust, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

Labor Groups Seek Probe of Wal-Mart's PAC

9/22/2014
Wall Street Journal: Labor Groups Seek Probe of Wal-Mart's PAC by Shelly Banjo - Labor and advocacy groups are seeking an investigation into whether Wal-Mart Stores Inc. violated federal election laws by soliciting employees for donations to its political-action committee in exchange for charitable contributions to a fund that helps Wal-Mart employees in need.

Groups Accuse Wal-Mart Violating Campaign-Finance Laws

9/22/2014
Bloomberg: Groups Accuse Wal-Mart Violating Campaign-Finance Laws by Renee Dudley - Public Citizen, Common Cause and Organization United for Respect at Walmart filed a complaint about the matter to the Federal Election Commission in Washington today. Wal-Mart’s donation-solicitation strategy was first reported by Bloomberg News in December. The groups allege in the complaint that Wal-Mart’s offer of a 2-for-1 match “provides a powerful financial incentive -- in the form of indirect compensation -- to an employee.” Campaign-finance laws forbid companies from reimbursing for donations, including through a bonus or through indirect pay.

Wal-Mart's Unusual Rewards for Employees Who Give to Its PAC

9/22/2014
Bloomberg Businessweek: Wal-Mart's Unusual Rewards for Employees Who Give to Its PAC by Josh Eidelson - In an FEC complaint filed Monday, Common Cause, Public Citizen, and labor group OUR Walmart note that under the double-matching system, employees can generate a larger charitable donation to help their co-workers by giving to the PAC than they could by giving directly to the charity.

Despite similar messages, Senate campaigns say there's no coordination with outside groups

9/21/2014
Alaska Dispatch News: Despite similar messages, Senate campaigns say there's no coordination with outside groups by Nathaniel Herz - "This is coordination," said Craig Holman, the government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen, a liberal-leaning group pushing for campaign finance reform and tighter rules."It only is not coordination in the eyes of the Federal Election Commission," added Holman, referring to the federal entity charged with enforcing the law.

Mobilising a Counter-hegemonic Climate Movement

9/20/2014
Dissident Voice: Mobilising a Counter-hegemonic Climate Movement by Rajesh Makwana - As Robert Weissman (President of Public Citizen) and Annie Leonard (Executive Director for Greenpeace US) explain: “Congress has become a platform for climate change denialists and has endeavored to block any meaningful federal government action…Energy and natural resource companies spent more than $142 million on the 2012 federal elections. Last year, they spent more than $350 million lobbying — and that was their lowest total in the past half dozen years!”

Ex-Halliburton manager charged in Gulf spill probe

9/19/2014
Fort Worth Business Press: Ex-Halliburton manager charged in Gulf spill probe by Michael Kunzelman - The plea deal has its critics, however. Allison Fisher, an outreach director for the Public Citizen nonprofit advocacy group, called it a "travesty.""Rather than rubber stamp the plea agreement," she said in a statement, "the court should have rejected the bargain-basement deal because it fails to hold the corporation accountable for its criminal acts and will not deter future corporate crime."

Mobilizing for Justice in the Anthropocene

9/19/2014
Counter Punch: Mobilizing for Justice in the Anthropocene by Javier Sethness Castro and Alexander Reid Ross - Public Citizen documents the change after NAFTA, showing that in just ten years, the income of farm workers dropped by two-thirds, while millions of people became refugees from the lack of opportunity, growing violence, and drug wars that emerged particularly in Southern Mexico.

The Saudi Lobbying Complex Adds a New Member: GOP Super PAC Chair Norm Coleman

9/19/2014
The Nation: The Saudi Lobbying Complex Adds a New Member: GOP Super PAC Chair Norm Coleman by Lee Fang - “Regrettably, even former lawmakers serving as hired guns for foreign governments is not unusual. But this is the first I’ve heard of a revolver serving both on the lobbying side for a foreign government and running a domestic campaign spending operation through a super PAC and dark money nonprofit group, which are not supposed to receive or spend foreign money in our elections,” said Craig Holman, a lobbying expert with Public Citizen, in an e-mail to The Nation.

Lawsuit Seeks Stricter Rules for Truck Driver Training

9/18/2014
The New York Times: Lawsuit Seeks Stricter Rules for Truck Driver Training by Aaron M. Kessler - “Enough is enough,” said Adina Rosenbaum, a lawyer for Public Citizen, which is among the groups filing the lawsuit. “Twenty years, two lawsuits and two congressional mandates have not been successful at prodding the D.O.T. into issuing the entry-level driver training rule. The court should step in and order the agency to act.”

FERC fails to act on complaint of New England electricity market manipulation

9/18/2014
Boston Globe: FERC fails to act on complaint of New England electricity market manipulation by Jack Newsham - Tyson Slocum, who runs Public Citizen’s energy program, called Tuesday’s notice “an outrage” and said his group would ask for a rehearing and seek review of the auction in federal court.“This is a clear case of power manipulation,” Slocum said.

Analysis: Bay comments may signal shift at FERC

9/18/2014
Analysis: Bay comments may signal shift at FERC - Argus: Analysis: Bay comments may signal shift at FERC - Norman Bay was sworn in as a FERC member last month and his votes and statements are the first indication of how he might run the commission when he becomes chairman next April. Those who follow the commission closely said his recent statements and dissents he authored indicate FERC under Bay's leadership could see significant shifts.

Group slams federal energy regulators over alleged market manipulation

9/17/2014
New Haven Register: Group slams federal energy regulators over alleged market manipulation by Luther Turmelle - Article describing Public Citizen’s efforts to end energy market manipulation. Includes quotes by Tyson Slocum.

Victoza Risks Make it Bad Drug for Weight-Loss, Consumer Group Warns FDA

9/17/2014
About Lawsuits: Victoza Risks Make it Bad Drug for Weight-Loss, Consumer Group Warns FDA by Irvin Jackson - The prominent consumer advocacy group Public Citizen is urging the FDA not to expand approval of the diabetes drug Victoza for use as a weight loss treatment, indicating that the medication is already too dangerous due to the increased risk of thyroid cancer, pancreatitis and cardiovascular concerns.

Anthony Weiner and the Revolving Door

9/17/2014
Huffington Post: Anthony Weiner and the Revolving Door by Sen. Elizabeth Warren - I could go on -- and I will. Soon after they crashed the economy and got tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts, the biggest Wall Street banks started lobbying Congress to head off any serious financial regulation. Public Citizen and the Center for Responsive Politics found that in 2009 alone, the financial services sector employed 1,447 former federal employees to carry out their lobbying efforts, swarming all over Congress. And who were their top lobbyists? Members of Congress -- in fact, 73 former Members of Congress.

Swalwell bill would put a stop to penalties on online business critics

9/17/2014
Pleasanton Weekly: Swalwell bill would put a stop to penalties on online business critics by Jeb Bing - Others supporting the measure are Public Citizen, Yelp, Consumers Union, Trip Advisor, Consumer Federation of America, Public Participation Project and the National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients).

Financial industry players enable each other's bad practices

9/16/2014
The Hill: Financial industry players enable each other's bad practices - blog post by Lisa Gilbert and Christine Hines of Public Citizen

On Post-White House Circuit, Talk Isn't Cheap

9/16/2014
Bloomberg: On Post-White House Circuit, Talk Isn't Cheap by Anthony Effinger and Katherine Burton - Speaking fees aren’t campaign donations, but they can buy influence, says Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, a watchdog group in Washington. “If she wasn’t a contender, she wouldn’t be earning these fees,” Holman says. “This is a means of endearing yourself to Hillary Clinton.”

Streamline the rules-making process

9/16/2014
The Hill: Streamline the rules-making process - blog post by Taylor Lincoln of Public Citizen

The FDA ‘Revolving Door’ Fosters Conflicts on Advisory Panels

9/15/2014
The Wall Street Journal: The FDA ‘Revolving Door’ Fosters Conflicts on Advisory Panels by Ed Silverman - “The FDA advisory committee-industry revolving door is wide open and risks compromising the integrity of the vital committee process,” says Sammy Almashat of Public Citizen in a statement. “A company’s use of respected committee members to present its case at these meetings is clearly intended to leverage the collegiality existing among committee members to increase the odds of a favorable vote. Such a revolving door creates the appearance of a conflict of interest and threatens to undermine public confidence in the objectivity of FDA advisory committee members.”

Senate has a secret book of rules

9/14/2014
USA Today: Senate has a secret book of rules by Donovan Slack and Paul Singer - "If it's describing Senate rules of procedure, and it's not public information and even describes and offers guidance to senators as to how they're supposed to use official resources and it's not public, that is outrageous," said Craig Holman, chief legislative affairs representative for nonpartisan watchdog Public Citizen.

Activists target Colorado in "ground game" fight

9/13/2014
Denver Post: Activists target Colorado in "ground game" fight by Mark K. Matthews - "They all seem to want those television ads more than anything," said Craig Holman, an expert on campaign-finance reform with the liberal advocacy group Public Citizen.

Flight Risks: When foreign governments host U.S. lawmakers.

9/13/2014
National Journal: Flight Risks: When foreign governments host U.S. lawmakers. by Shane Goldmacher - The foreign-paid trips operate under a half-century-old law called the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act, known as MECEA. Once a country gets State Department approval to participate, the particulars of its trips face next to no oversight. And after a trip is complete, it can be as long as almost a year and a half before lawmakers are required to make any public acknowledgment of it at all. Even then, details are sparse.

Record Response Urges SEC To Require Disclosure Of Corporate Political Spending

9/12/2014
MintPress News: Record Response Urges SEC To Require Disclosure Of Corporate Political Spending by Carey L. Biron - “The SEC has complete authority to require this disclosure, given that its purview is anything that would be material for investors — as indicated by the huge amount of support this [petition] has received,” Lisa Gilbert, director of the Congress Watch program at Public Citizen, a consumer group, told MintPress.

Republicans Block Campaign Finance Reform

9/12/2014
KRWG (NM State): Republicans Block Campaign Finance Reform by The Office of Sen. Tom Udall - And I want to thank the diverse coalition of groups who have worked tirelessly to build support for our amendment. Groups like People For the American Way, Public Citizen, Common Cause, Free Speech For People, the Sierra Club, the NAACP, and all the organizations working under the banner of United For The People.

In Face of Super-Rich, Corporate Influence on Elections, 'Nuns on the Bus' Rides Again

9/11/2014
Common Dreams: In Face of Super-Rich, Corporate Influence on Elections, 'Nuns on the Bus' Rides Again by Andrea Germanos - The U.S. citizenry is "fed up with a system in which the super-rich and giant corporations are effectively able to buy politicians and policy," as Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, stated this month. That influence in thanks in part to two Supreme Court decisions—Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission—which dismantled campaign finance laws.

Broad Coalition Calls For a New Model of Trade

9/11/2014
Common Dreams: Broad Coalition Calls For a New Model of Trade by Dan Byrnes - “There is no ‘acceptable’ version of fast track,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “Fast-track must be replaced so Congress can steer international trade in a new direction and create agreements that actually work for most Americans.”

Poll: Most Ohioans Say "No" to Coal Plant Bailouts

9/11/2014
Public News Service: Poll: Most Ohioans Say "No" to Coal Plant Bailouts - Allison Fisher, outreach director with Public Citizen's Energy Program, says the utilities originally wanted to use the free market to sell energy, but the plants are not competitive with today's market prices for electricity.

Mobile Health Screenings Come Under Scrutiny

9/10/2014
Media Health Leaders: Mobile Health Screenings Come Under Scrutiny by Tinker Ready - A handful of hospitals have discontinued their relationships with Florida-based HealthFair after Public Citizen's Health Research Group (HRG) accused the company of "fear-mongering." In June, Public Citizen contacted HealthFair's hospital clients and The Joint Commission to complain that company overstates the health benefits of its screening programs.

U.S. groups leery of fast-track trade deals demand transparency

9/10/2014
Reuters, CNBC: U.S. groups leery of fast-track trade deals demand transparency by Elvina Nawaguna - The groups, led by the Sierra Club, AFL-CIO, the Communications Workers of America, the Citizens Trade Campaign, and Public Citizen, said TPA should be replaced with a new system that gives both Congress and the public a louder voice in trade negotiations.

Hundreds of groups call for new framework to negotiate trade deals

9/10/2014
The Hill: Hundreds of groups call for new framework to negotiate trade deals by Vicki Needham - “There is no acceptable version of fast track,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.

About Free Trade Agreement

9/9/2014
Chron: About Free Trade Agreement by Steve Greechie - Criticism of America’s free trade agreements, particularly of NAFTA, has been widespread. As Public Citizen and others have pointed out, NAFTA is less of a trade treaty than an investment treaty. At its core is a set of regulations facilitating investment across borders and allowing the privatization of public goods such as energy. Further, they cite data showing that it has been detrimental to ordinary people in all three countries.

The New War on Big Money in Politics

9/9/2014
The Daily Beast: The New War on Big Money in Politics by Eleanor Clift - “People believe the system is rigged, and they tie that sentiment to the campaign finance system, correctly in my view,” says Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, which advocates for more regulation of corporate political spending. When voters are offered the solution of a constitutional amendment, he notes, they support it by margins of 3-to-1, and that includes Republicans.

Lawmakers Rally Against Citizens United on Eve of Vote

9/8/2014
TRNS: Lawmakers Rally Against Citizens United on Eve of Vote by Celina Gore - “Our elections are not auctions to the highest bidder,” Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), the lead sponsor of the bill, told reporters at the rally, which was hosted by nonprofit group Public Citizen.

Is Washington The Only Place Where Campaign Finance Is A Partisan Issue?

9/8/2014
Huffington Post: Is Washington The Only Place Where Campaign Finance Is A Partisan Issue? by Paul Blumenthal - There also are a handful of polls commissioned by groups campaigning for the amendment that asked more specific questions. In one such poll, the reform group Public Citizen released findings in August showing 55 percent in support of a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision. Support topped 50 percent for Democrats, Republicans and independents.

Senate advances constitutional amendment

9/8/2014
POLITICO: Senate advances constitutional amendment by Burgess Everett - Ahead of the vote, Sanders and other pro-reform Democrats like Al Franken of Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Tom Udall of New Mexico held a rally on the Capitol grounds with amendment supporters and supporting groups like People for the American Way, Common Cause and Public Citizen. The crowd was a solid mix of reporters and demonstrators with signs reading “Democracy is not for sale.”

Schnurman: Power to confuse? Sneaky fees obscure costs for Texas electricity shoppers

9/6/2014
Dallas Morning News Business: Schnurman: Power to confuse? Sneaky fees obscure costs for Texas electricity shoppers by Mitchell Schnurman - Electricity retailers “make it look like you know what you’re getting, but they’re obfuscating the real costs,” said David Power, deputy director of Public Citizen in Austin.

In 'Historic Moment,' US Senate Set to Vote on Campaign Finance Amendment

9/5/2014
Common Dreams: In 'Historic Moment,' US Senate Set to Vote on Campaign Finance Amendment by Deirdre Fulton - “It’s time for Congress to act on the people’s demand for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and restore our democracy,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, in a statement. “This poll shows that the public, including Republican voters, forcefully rejects arguments from Senator Mitch McConnell and Senator Ted Cruz in defense of the status quo.”

D.C. Circuit Shows Interest in Rehearing Panel’s SEC Conflict Minerals Rule Decision

9/5/2014
Bloomberg BNA: D.C. Circuit Shows Interest in Rehearing Panel’s SEC Conflict Minerals Rule Decision by Yin Wilczek - Julie Murray, a Public Citizen Litigation Group attorney who represents Amnesty in the case, Aug. 29 told Bloomberg BNA that the court order indicates that the D.C. Circuit is “seriously considering” the SEC and Amnesty's petitions.

Left and Right Agree -- Let Ex-Im Expire

9/5/2014
Huffington Post Politics: Left and Right Agree -- Let Ex-Im Expire by Ralph Nader - Robert Weissman of Public Citizen explained: "Ex-Im puts the federal government in a role which ought to be filled by private lenders and insurers. It forces taxpayers to bear the risk that should be absorbed by business."

SEC Faces Renewed Pressure to Consider a Corporate Disclosure Rule

9/5/2014
The Nation: SEC Faces Renewed Pressure to Consider a Corporate Disclosure Rule - by Zoë Carpenter - The point of requiring corporations to disclose their political donations is twofold. First, it’s intended to protect investors, which is the SEC’s responsibility. Shareholders “understand that they have a right to know if the company they invest in is spending money on controversial political causes,” said Lisa Gilbert, the director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Project.

Mortgage Reform Bill Drafter Takes Wall Street Gig

9/5/2014
The Washington Free Beacon: Mortgage Reform Bill Drafter Takes Wall Street Gig by Alana Goodman - “This is the worst of the revolving door use, when you go both ways through it,” said Public Citizen’s Craig Holman. “That really shows his lack of public commitment, and shows that he’s much more interested in personal gain.”

SEC Inundated by One Million Requests for Corporate Campaign Contribution Transparency

9/5/2014
Trouthout: SEC Inundated by One Million Requests for Corporate Campaign Contribution Transparency by Mark Karlin - The organization announced that one million people in the United States had either sent formal comments to the SEC or signed a petition to bring transparency to corporations contributing shareholder-owned funds to elections without full disclosure. Public Citizen is urging the SEC to require all publicly traded companies to disclose political spending information to their shareholders.

Supporters Prepare For “Watershed” Vote On Overturning Citizens United

9/5/2014
Mint Press News: Supporters Prepare For “Watershed” Vote On Overturning Citizens United by Carey L. Biron - “The U.S. Senate vote on a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and restore democracy is a sign that the American people are being heard,” Aquene Freechild, co-director, of the Democracy Is For People Campaign at Public Citizen, which co-sponsored the new poll, told MintPress.

American Airlines Top Airline Donor to Political Campaigns This Year

9/4/2014
Skift: American Airlines Top Airline Donor to Political Campaigns This Year by Dan Peltier - “I’m expecting campaign contributions in the transportation industry to actually exceed 2010 midterm contributions,” said Craig Holman, a campaign finance and lobbying expert at Public Citizen. “But travel lobbyists are staying away because of how dysfunctional this Congress is, even protesters are staying away.”

Iowa hospitals drop controversial mobile testing firm

9/4/2014
Des Moines Times Register: Iowa hospitals drop controversial mobile testing firm by Tony Leys - The national consumers group Public Citizen filed a complaint Thursday morning with the Federal Trade Commission, saying that HealthFair inflates the value to patients of its screenings."The most egregious claims in this regard are those explicitly stating or strongly implying that the cardiovascular disease screening packages offered by the company save lives, extend life, and prevent heart attacks and strokes," Public Citizen wrote in a 30-page letter to the federal agency.

“From the beginning, I was in it for real”: Ice cream legend’s plan to radically up-end America

9/4/2014
Salon.com: “From the beginning, I was in it for real”: Ice cream legend’s plan to radically up-end America by Elias Isquith - “We have two jobs [in] The Stampede: one is to get more people to buy stamps, and the other is to motivate people who have stamps to keep on stamping. The word we use is “TKITKOS” — the key is to keep on stamping. So we have partnerships with People for the American Way ,with Public Citizen, with Root Strikers, with Represent.us, with the New Hampshire Rebellion, etc. I’d say the huge majority of the major organizations that are working on this have promoted stamps to their members.” – Ben Cohen, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

Philly controller: SEC should force 'dark' corporate political gifts to light

9/4/2014
Philly.com: Philly controller: SEC should force 'dark' corporate political gifts to light by Joseph N. DiStefano - By killing the proposal off her agenda earlier this year, "White is ignoring the material nature of political spending with its inherent risks to shareholders," including spending on "dark money groups that don't disclose their donors," according to a statement by groups backed by Ralph Nader's Public Citizen and other corporate-governance activists, that was released by Butkovitz's office.

Businesses accusing Yelp of extortion lose another round in court

9/4/2014
LA Times, Detroit Free Press: Businesses accusing Yelp of extortion lose another round in court by David Pierson and Paresh Dave - Paul Alan Levy, a lawyer at the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, said cases against Yelp are unlikely to succeed until one of the businesses is able to produce specific evidence that Yelp is deliberately altering ratings."There's strong protections for websites that accept user reviews," Levy said. "If a company like Yelp knows it's going to be dragged around by any business owner, then it would create an enormous disincentive for them to allow negative reviews, and then what good does a review site do at that point?"

Questions Come Up Again Over a Candidate’s Dual Roles

9/4/2014
New York Times: Questions Come Up Again Over a Candidate’s Dual Roles by Jay Root - “This is a conflict of interest problem, clearly,” said Craig Holman, a government ethics expert at the liberal watchdog group Public Citizen, based in Washington. “But the structure of state government in Texas nurtures it.”

Activists demand U.S. SEC rule to make companies reveal political spending

9/4/2014
Baltimore Sun, Yahoo! Small Business Advisor, CNBC, New York Times (Originally on Reuters): Activists demand U.S. SEC rule to make companies reveal political spending by Sarah N. Lynch - "As we start to see the wave of dark corporate political money crest in the 2014 elections, the need for this rule has really never been more obvious," said Lisa Gilbert, the director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch, a nonprofit that promotes good government.

Watchdogs urge House leaders to keep ethics panel

9/4/2014
The Hill: Watchdogs urge House leaders to keep ethics panel by Mike Lillis - “Groups signing the letter include the Sunlight Foundation, Public Citizen, the Campaign Legal Center, Democracy 21, Common Cause and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.”

Rally: Corporations' campaign money drowning out voice of people

9/3/2014
Indy Star: Rally: Corporations' campaign money drowning out voice of people by Barb Berggoetz - “In addition to Common Cause, groups represented by the coalition are: Public Citizen, MoveOn.org. Communication Workers of America, Citizens Action Coalition, Sierra Club, Jobs With Justice, American Friends Service Committee (Quakers), People for the American Way and CREDO Action.”

Activists Hold Democracy is For All Rally in Portsmouth

9/3/2014
Portsmouth Patch: Activists Hold Democracy is For All Rally in Portsmouth - in Portsmouth by Tony Schinell - “Activists representing nationwide organizations, including Public Citizen, MoveOn.org Political Action, People For the American Way, CREDO Action and Common Cause, deliver thousands of petition signatures from New Hampshire’s residents to U.S. Sen. Ayotte (R - NH) office on Sept. 3 asking her to back a constitutional amendment to curb the flood of money in politics.”

Eric Cantor and the ‘honest graft’ of Congress

9/3/2014
Communities Digital News: Eric Cantor and the ‘honest graft’ of Congress by Stephen Nemo - Craig Holman, a lobbyist with Public Citizen, told The Hill: “Congressional stock holders have a greater return on investment than the average American. Either they are geniuses on the stock market or they know something that we don’t. I suspect the latter.”

Groups to rally in support of constitutional amendment on campaign finance limits

9/3/2014
New Orleans Times-Picayune: Groups to rally in support of constitutional amendment on campaign finance limits by Robert McClendon - The groups set to participate in the rally are: Public Citizen, MoveOn.org, Political Action, People For the American Way, CREDO Action, Common Cause, Justice and Beyond and Advocates for Environmental Human Rights.

Cantor's New Job Shows Lack of Transparency in Ethics Rules

9/2/2014
National Journal: Cantor's New Job Shows Lack of Transparency in Ethics Rules by Billy House - "Swiss cheese" is how McGehee described the current system, while Craig Holman, a legislative representative for the government-watchdog group Public Citizen, said the law's intent was to "let the public know," but he said that is not what's happening.

Activist groups urging U.S. Sen. Donnelly to get behind campaign finance amendment

9/2/2014
Indianapolis Star: Activist groups urging U.S. Sen. Donnelly to get behind campaign finance amendment by Barb Berggoetz - In addition to Common Cause, groups represented by the coalition are: Public Citizen, MoveOn.org. Communication Workers of America, Citizens Action Coalition, Sierra Club, Jobs With Justice, American Friends Service Committee (Quakers), People for the American Way and CREDO Action.