October 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. chamber largest overall spender of dark money in midterms

10/31/2014
Wisconsin Gazette: U.S. chamber largest overall spender of dark money in midterms - A report from Public Citizen released on Oct. 31 shows that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is both the largest overall spender in the 2014 congressional elections among outside groups that do not disclose their contributors and the largest such spender in 28 of the 35 races in which it has gotten involved.“When large corporations decide they want to get their own candidates into office but they don’t want to be seen doing it, they call the U.S. Chamber,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, which houses U.S. Chamber Watch.

Missouri AG Chris Koster rebuts report that money steered office away from investigations

10/31/2014
Kansas City Star: Missouri AG Chris Koster rebuts report that money steered office away from investigations by Jason Hancock - Lisa Gilbert, director of Congress Watch at consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen, said there is no way of knowing whether campaign contributions affected the attorney general’s actions. But, she said, “the appearance of corruption or bribery tarnishes the office.”

Candidates Should Nix Outside Spending

10/31/2014
Hartford Courant: Candidates Should Nix Outside Spending by Aquene Freechild and Bela Bartis Jr. - Op-ed by Aquene Freechild, co-director of Public Citizen's Democracy is for People CampaignA recent poll commissioned by Public Citizen found that likely voters are suspicious of outside money. This is true of Democratic, independent and Republican voters. Eight in 10 unaffiliated voters and Democrats say reducing the influence of money in politics and elections is important, as do 7 in 10 Republicans.

Pre-game stats for Election 2014

10/31/2014
America Magazine: Pre-game stats for Election 2014 by Robert David Sullivan - Big spenders. According to Public Citizen, this year’s biggest “dark money group” (whose contributors are not publicly disclosed) is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has spent $31.8 million in 35 races, almost always backing the Republican candidate. Coming in second is Crossroads GPS, affiliated with Republican strategist Karl Rove, which spent $23.5 million. A distant third is the League of Conservation Voters, at $9.5 million.

Petition Demands Big Banks Give Consumers Back Our Right To Sue

10/31/2014
Consumerist: Petition Demands Big Banks Give Consumers Back Our Right To Sue by Chris Morran - This is why the folks at Public Citizen have drafted a petition — which already has nearly 20,000 signatures — asking JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, US Bancorp and PNC Financial to remove arbitration clauses from their user agreements.“Forced arbitration functions as a license to steal that makes it impossible for customers to hold you accountable in court if you break the law,” reads the petition. “Honor our rights and stop using forced arbitration.

Virginia justices hear online anonymity case

10/31/2014
Associated Press: Virginia justices hear online anonymity case by Larry - O’Dell - Paul Alan Levy, an attorney for the Public Citizen advocacy group, is representing Yelp. He argued that suspicion alone is not enough to strip reviewers of anonymity. "There has to be evidence of wrongdoing before you impose on the constitutional right to speak anonymously," Levy said.

“Unethical” Infant Clinical Study Sparks New Research Guidance On Informed Consent

10/30/2014
About Lawsuits: “Unethical” Infant Clinical Study Sparks New Research Guidance On Informed Consent by Irvin JacksonLast year, the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen highlighted concerns about problems with an infant study known as the - “Surfactant, Positive Pressure, and Oxygenation Randomized Trial” (SUPPORT), which the group says exposed more than 1,300 infants to increased risk of blindness, brain injury and death during experimental approaches for managing oxygen therapy. Public Citizen says parents were not properly told of the risks their children would face participating in the study.Public Citizen applauded the guidance and Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, will provide testimony at today’s hearing.

Millions in dark money via U.S. Chamber of Commerce influencing midterm elections

10/30/2014
BoingBoing: Millions in dark money via U.S. Chamber of Commerce influencing midterm elections by Andrea James Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen - ’s Congress Watch division, which houses U.S. Chamber Watch, said: “When large corporations decide they want to get their own candidates into office but they don’t want to be seen doing it, they call the U.S. Chamber. These politicians then push for anti-environmental, anti-consumer, and anti-health policies and priorities that hurt everyday Americans."

Shopping For Candles as Edison Jacks Up Rates

10/30/2014
Culver City Observer: Shopping For Candles as Edison Jacks Up Rates by Neil Rubenstein - Do you have Type 2 diabetes? Does your doctor have you on Alogliptin? The August 2014 issue of Public Citizen’s Worst Pills, Best Pills says this drug can cause liver toxicity and its combinations (such as with Metformin) can cause B-12 deficiency. With Pioglitozone it could cause heart failure, swelling, fractures and bladder cancer. Check with your pharmacist, and then call your doctor.

Chamber of Commerce Leads Outside Spending in Midterm Elections

10/30/2014
Sustainable Business: Chamber of Commerce Leads Outside Spending in Midterm Elections - "When large corporations decide they want to get their own candidates into office but they don't want to be seen doing it, they call the US Chamber," says Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch division. "These politicians then push for anti-environmental, anti-consumer, and anti-health policies.

Withdraw FDA scientific pubs distribution guide: Public Citizen

10/30/2014
Medical Marketing & Media: Withdraw FDA scientific pubs distribution guide: Public Citizen by James G. Dickinson - In an October 22 letter to Burwell, the group's founder and senior advisor, Sidney M. Wolfe wrote that the guidance would allow pharmaceutical salespeople to “inform physicians of the purportedly lower risks by distributing peer-reviewed articles assessing a drug's risks and discussing with doctors the information about the ‘lower' risks, without the FDA reviewing the articles, analyzing the data, or approving distribution of that information.”

No fast track in lame duck

10/30/2014
The Hill: No fast track in lame duck by Vicki Needham - Lori Wallach, head of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, said at this point there isn’t any chance that Obama will get fast-track trade authority and there are “decent prospects that he never will.”

In Big-Money Move, Corporations Seek to Make Congress a Wholly-Owned Subsidiary

10/30/2014
Huffington Post: In Big-Money Move, Corporations Seek to Make Congress a Wholly-Owned Subsidiary by Richard - “RJ” EskowIn a related report, Public Citizen analyzed the flow of "dark money" (from groups which don't have to disclose their donors) and found that the United States Chamber of Commerce,the largest dark-money spender, "is leaving a huge footprint in almost every race it enters."Public Citizen found that the Chamber was "the biggest spender among non-disclosing outside groups in 28 of 35 races in which it has gotten involved.

Why Does the U.S. Senate Need a Petition Drive to Hold Hearings on the Secret Goldman Sachs’ Tapes

10/29/2014
Wall Street On Parade: Why Does the U.S. Senate Need a Petition Drive to Hold Hearings on the Secret Goldman Sachs’ Tapes by Pam MartensAt Public Citizen - ’s petition to move hearings on the New York Fed forward, one commenter notes: “This ‘corporations are individuals’ nonsense has opened the door for this type of abuse. We need Elizabeth Warren and a 1000 more like her to get this country working for the people who live here.” Another says: “Hearings first. Special prosecutor next.” Another commenter gets quickly to the bottom line: “The regulators aren’t timid, but eyeing a future lucrative Wall Street job if they pander well.”

In Record 'Dark Money' Election, Chamber of Commerce Top Shadowy Spender: Report

10/29/2014
Common Dreams: In Record 'Dark Money' Election, Chamber of Commerce Top Shadowy Spender: Report by Sarah LazarThis election season, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is coming out ahead - —as the number one dark money spender of 2014, watchdog Public Citizen revealed in a report released Wednesday."In a record year for dark money expenditures, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is leading the way," reads the report, entitled The Dark Side of Citizens United, which is based on data from the Center for Responsive Politics analyzed by Public Citizen's U.S. Chamber Watch.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster rebuts report that campaign money steered office away from investigations

10/29/2014
Kansas City Star: Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster rebuts report that campaign money steered office away from investigations by Jason HancockLisa Gilbert, director of Congress Watch at consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen, said there is no way of knowing whether campaign contributions affected the attorney general - ’s actions. But, she said, “the appearance of corruption or bribery tarnishes the office.” “This is an office that is so critical for consumer protection,” she said. “It’s typically a last line of defense, and it needs to appear to be above the fray.”

New York Times report on state attorneys general focuses on Koster

10/29/2014
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: New York Times report on state attorneys general focuses on Koster by Kevin McDermott - Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch, said the new report is "shining a light on corporate lobbying in a way we haven't seen before." Public Citizen is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that advocates for consumer rights.

Dallas tax firm a big contributor to front-runner for comptroller

10/29/2014
Dallas News: Dallas tax firm a big contributor to front-runner for comptroller by Marissa Barnett - Fifteen states, including New Mexico, Louisiana and Kentucky, do have laws with such limits, according to a 2012 review by the watchdog Public Citizen. “Pay-to-play” laws prohibit people with government contracts from donating to certain campaigns. The state laws vary on what types of contracts and which elected officials are barred from accepting donations.

Outrage of the Month: CDC Director's False Assurances on Ebola

10/29/2014
Huffington Post: Outrage of the Month: CDC Director's False Assurances on Ebola by Michael Carome - Op-ed by the Director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group

Unmasking Yelp Users Would Hurt Free Speech, Warn Google and Facebook

10/29/2014
Wall Street Journal: Unmasking Yelp Users Would Hurt Free Speech, Warn Google and Facebook by Jacob Gershman Paul Alan Levy, an attorney for Yelp, argued in court that the mere suspicion that the critical comments weren - ’t coming from real customers doesn’t justify unmasking the reviewers, according to AP. “There has to be evidence of wrongdoing before you impose on the constitutional right to speak anonymously,” he said.

Guess Who’s About to Buy Congress

10/29/2014
The Nation: Guess Who’s About to Buy Congress by George Zornick - The midterm elections are less than a week away, and money is pouring into contested states and districts at a furious pace. A new analysis by Public Citizen shows the biggest “dark money” spender is none other than the US Chamber of Commerce, a mega-trade group representing all sorts of corporations – and one that is spending exclusively to defeat Democrats in the general election.

FDA Hiding Comments Critical Of Rule Relaxing Drug Side Effect Warnings, Public Citizen Claims

10/28/2014
AboutLawsuits.com: FDA Hiding Comments Critical Of Rule Relaxing Drug Side Effect Warnings, Public Citizen Claims by Irvin JacksonA prominent consumer watchdog group is calling on federal drug regulators to release public comments submitted about - a controversial proposed regulation, which critics suggest will allow pharmaceutical companies to lie to doctors about potential drug side effects.Public Citizen sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell on October 22, calling for the FDA to withdraw a proposed pharmaceutical industry guidance that they suggest will allow drug companies to tell doctors that their drugs are not as risky as the label warnings indicate.

Virginia Supreme Court considering whether Yelp can shield online reviewers' anonymity

10/28/2014
Associated Press: Virginia Supreme Court considering whether Yelp can shield online reviewers' anonymity by Larry - O’Dell - Paul Alan Levy, an attorney for the Public Citizen advocacy group, is representing Yelp. He argued that suspicion alone is not enough to strip reviewers of anonymity.

Sustained Lobbying Push on EPA Standards For Power Plants Continues, Records Show

10/28/2014
Bloomberg BNA: Sustained Lobbying Push on EPA Standards For Power Plants Continues, Records Show by Anthony Adragna - Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at Public Citizen, told Bloomberg BNA that it is “not surprising” that a broad cross-section of groups would be interested, given the “sweeping nature of the rule” and its potential to affect various sectors of the economy.

Senators advocate on behalf of off-road vehicle industry

10/28/2014
Bellingham Herald: Senators advocate on behalf of off-road vehicle industry by Myron LevinRobert Weissman, the president of the consumer group Public Citizen, described the lawmakers - ’ support for the industry as the “normal course of business in Washington, D.C., where members of Congress . . . wrongfully, but reflexively, think they should defend the interests of the hometown manufacturer against the broader public interest.”Noting the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s track record of enormous caution in adopting safety standards, Weissman said that “when the agency decides to proceed, there is an extremely heavy presumption that the evidence overwhelmingly favors regulation.”

Brownback campaign loan raising questions

10/28/2014
Associated Press: Brownback campaign loan raising questions by Roxana Hegeman - "On its face, this is a strange pattern without a clear violation," said Lisa Gilbert of Public Citizen, a Washington-based group that advocates for campaign finance reform. "But it certainly raises questions as to why it is happening over and over again."She said she has heard of other candidates making campaign loans that were quickly paid back, but not in a pattern that is as clear cut as what is happening in the Kansas governor's race.

Trade officials say they made major progress on Asia-Pacific deal

10/27/2014
The Hill: Trade officials say they made major progress on Asia-Pacific deal by Vicki Needham - “After yet another lengthy meeting, TPP trade ministers’ official declaration repeats much of the same spin we have seen over the past two years and given the extreme secrecy of the process, there is no way for the public, Congress or press to find out what is really happening," said Lori Wallach, head of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

Internet dispute reaches Virginia court

10/27/2014
Talk Radio News Service: Internet dispute reaches Virginia court - A dispute between a Washington, D.C., area carpet cleaning service and dissatisfied customers who wrote critical reviews for Yelp has reached the Virginia Supreme Court, Public Citizen said. The suit by Hadeed Carpet Cleaning seeks to force Yelp to identify seven persons who posted negative comments. Public Citizen argues that such a ruling would violate First Amendment rights that traditionally protect anonymous speech.

YOUR HEALTH: The ‘heart’ of ‘low T’ therapy? What men should know about the risks of testosterone therapy

10/27/2014
Centraljersey.com: YOUR HEALTH: The ‘heart’ of ‘low T’ therapy? What men should know about the risks of testosterone therapy by Stephanie VaccaroIn February, the Endocrine Society released - a statement in response to the FDA’s investigation, stating older men considering testosterone therapy should know their risk for heart-related adverse events will increase, Reuters reported.Also in February, the consumer advocacy group, Public Citizen, petitioned the FDA to add a black box warning to testosterone products, Reuters reported.

Jerry Brown, Stop Punishing Victims of Medical Malpractice

10/27/2014
Huffington post: Jerry Brown, Stop Punishing Victims of Medical Malpractice by Ralph Nader - Op-ed by Public Citizen founder Ralph Nader

Why Should the Federal Election Commission Listen to You?

10/27/2014
Huffington Post: Why Should the Federal Election Commission Listen to You? by Rick Claypool - Op-ed by the Online Director for Public Citizen's Congress Watch division

Yet Another Court To Hear Yelp’s Argument Against Revealing Reviewers’ Names

10/27/2014
Consumerist: Yet Another Court To Hear Yelp’s Argument Against Revealing Reviewers’ Names by Chris Moran - In May 2013, Yelp, working with the advocates at Public Citizen, appealed the trial court’s ruling, arguing that a plaintiff must show evidence that a defamation lawsuit has merit before Yelp should be compelled to identify the users. Additionally, there should be a factual showing that the statements made by the John Doe defendants are, in fact, false and defamatory, argued the appeal.

Lewis vows no conflict of interest with lobbyist wife if elected

10/26/2014
Missoulian: Lewis vows no conflict of interest with lobbyist wife if elected by Charles S. Johnson - If Lewis is elected, his wife will be prohibited from making any lobbying contact with members of his congressional staff – if she is a federally registered lobbyist. That ban is part of the Honest Government and Open Government Act of 2007, passed in the wake of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, said Craig Holman, a campaign finance and government ethics lobbyist for Public Citizen, a Washington watchdog group.“If she is genuinely a state lobbyist and not in any way trying to influence anything that Congress does, one doesn’t see a conflict of interest,” Holman said in an interview.

Former Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx faces challenges at DOT

10/25/2014
Charlotte Observer: Former Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx faces challenges at DOT by Jim Morrill - “When you have an agency in your department that’s responsible for death and injury on the highway, and it’s being severely criticized by the Congress, it’s really important for him to be very aware of the criticisms and to have something to say about it,” says Joan Claybrook, a former NHTSA head who later served as president of Public Citizen.Foxx asked the DOT’s inspector general to review NHTSA’s handing of the GM matter.

WTO Says U.S. Consumers Don’t Need to Know Where Meat Comes From

10/24/2014
EcoWatch: WTO Says U.S. Consumers Don’t Need to Know Where Meat Comes From by Anastasia Pantsios - At a telephone press conference yesterday, Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, and Danni Beer, president of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, joined Food & Water Watch’s Patrick Goodall and Lori Wallach from Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, emphasizing the divide between meat producers and multinational meat packers who may blend meat from different countries, the latter claiming—much as opponents of GMO labeling do—that providing information to consumers is an onerous, unsustainable expense.

Op-Ed Against TPP

10/24/2014
Pacific Free Press: Op-Ed Against TPP by Ralph Nader and Koa Tasaka - Op-ed by Ralph Nader, former president and founder of Public Citizen

The ‘Medicine’ of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

10/24/2014
CounterPunch: The ‘Medicine’ of the Trans-Pacific Partnership by Pete DolackAn analysis by Public Citizen explains - : “A rule [would] require the patenting of plant-related inventions, such as the genes inserted into genetically modified plants, putting farmers in developing countries at the mercy of the agriculture industry, including seed manufacturers such as Monsanto, and threatening food security in these countries more broadly.”

Brazil's run-off raises trade hopes — Holleyman digs in on China trade — ITC says no to steel duties, yes to MSG

10/24/2014
POLITICO: Brazil's run-off raises trade hopes — Holleyman digs in on China trade — ITC says no to steel duties, yes to MSG by Matthew Korade MAKING THE U.S. CASE FOR COOL RULING APPEAL - : A coalition of farm and consumer groups on Thursday made their case for the United States Trade Representative to appeal a World Trade Organization ruling that the Agriculture Department’s country of origin labeling rule violates international trade commitments by treating foreign meat and livestock suppliers unfairly. A group of leaders from several COOL proponents — Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, Patrick Woodall, research director for Food & Water Watch, and Danni Beer, president of the U.S.

Farmers Union, others urge appeal of WTO COOL ruling

10/23/2014
AgriPulse: Farmers Union, others urge appeal of WTO COOL ruling by Spencer Chase - Officials from the groups, which included Food and Water Watch and Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, all agreed that appeal was a better route than repeal in a call with reporters on Thursday. The amended COOL rule calls for meat packages to be labeled with where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered. NFU President Roger Johnson called on USDA and the office of the U.S. Trade Representative to take the next step allowed by WTO rules and appeal the ruling.

Outrage of the Month: Peddling Bad Medicine With Deceptive Advertising

10/23/2014
Huffington Post: Outrage of the Month: Peddling Bad Medicine With Deceptive Advertising by Michael Carome - Op-ed by the director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group

The rap on PAC names

10/23/2014
New York Times: The rap on PAC names by Al Kamen and Colby Itkowitz - That’s the gray area. As a member of Congress, even if you have a financial or personal connection to a business or program in your district, isn’t it still your job to represent its interests? Some would say no, it’s a conflict of interest. Others would say those constituents still deserve representation.Craig Holman, a lobbyist at Public Citizen, said such a task force “is sorely needed” to cut through ambiguity.“Conflict-of-interest violations are some of the most troublesome and common ethics transgressions,” he said.

Enjoy Reality, Reject the Expensive Anti-Aging Fantasy

10/22/2014
New York Times: Enjoy Reality, Reject the Expensive Anti-Aging Fantasy by Sidney Wolfe - Op-ed by Sidney Wolfe, founder and senior adviser of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.

Watchdogs Call For Independent Ethics Enforcement On Capitol Hil

10/22/2014
WAMU: Watchdogs Call For Independent Ethics Enforcement On Capitol Hil by Matt Laslo - A new report from watchdog group Public Citizen (pdf) calls for a new Senate Office of Congressional Ethics to mirror the independent investigative arm that now monitors the House. Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, says drastic changes are needed.“There’s no decline in the ethics scandals we're reading in the press. There’s only a decline in ethics enforcement by the Senate Ethics Committee," Holman says. "It strongly indicates that people widely recognize that the Senate Ethics Committee is simply going to dismiss any complaint that’s filed before it.

Top Lobbyists 2014: Grassroots

10/22/2014
The Hill: Top Lobbyists 2014: Grassroots - Craig Holman, Public Citizen: Holman is a tireless crusader for increased government transparency.

FDA keeps public comment files secret

10/22/2014
Talk Radio News Service: FDA keeps public comment files secret - The Food and Drug Administration received 1,781 comments on a proposal that would allow pharmaceutical manufacturers to circumvent labeling rules and tell doctors that its products have fewer risks than those described in FDA-approved labels. Public Citizen said only one comment has been posted on the FDA’s website in the 58 days since the comment period ended.

House Ethics Office Earns Its Keep, but Senate’s Not Interested

10/21/2014
AllGov: House Ethics Office Earns Its Keep, but Senate’s Not Interested - “The Office of Congressional Ethics has had a dramatic impact on the activity and accountability of the House Ethics Committee,” a new study by the watchdog group Public Citizen states.The Senate doesn’t have an independent ethics board, and it shows. The Public Citizen report notes the problem of the “continued lethargy of the Senate Ethics Committee” in probing and disciplining senators due to the “absence of an independent fact-finding office to assist (and encourage) the Senate Committee’s efforts.”

Global Trade Pacts Now Limit US Consumer Food Information

10/21/2014
Buzzflash: Global Trade Pacts Now Limit US Consumer Food Information by Mark Karlin - Public Citizen condemned a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that would prohibit mandatory country of origin labeling on meat sold in the United States. The decision by the WTO represents not just an infringement on the sovereign right of the US to determine consumer food policy, it also represents the growing number of trade agreements that allow international dismantling of national laws that might impact corporate profit.

Pulling the Plug on Corporate Personhood

10/21/2014
In These Times: Pulling the Plug on Corporate Personhood by Rob Richie - Interview with Rob Weissman, President of Public Citizen, on Citizens United and dark money in politics.

How libel chill is quashing negative online reviews

10/21/2014
CBC News: How libel chill is quashing negative online reviews by Mark Gollom - "It's a tremendous issue. We're running into that all over. It's cheap to threaten and expensive to defend," said Paul Alan Levy, a lawyer who specializes in free speech issues related to the internet for the Washington, D.C.- based Public Citizen Litigation Group.

Meat Labeling Gets Push Back From WTO

10/21/2014
Food Manufacturing: Meat Labeling Gets Push Back From WTO by John MinnickIn - a statement from Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, director Lori Wallach said:"Today's ruling spotlights how these so-called trade deals are packed with non-trade provisions that threaten our most basic rights, such as even knowing the source and safety of what's on our dinner plate."

WSJ Wants To Kill A Key Piece Of Post-Watergate Campaign Finance Reform

10/21/2014
Media Matters: WSJ Wants To Kill A Key Piece Of Post-Watergate Campaign Finance Reform by Meagan Hatcher-MaysAs nonprofit advocacy group Public Citizen explained in - a new report, this key premise about the corrupting influence of coordination from Buckley was retained by the current conservative justices in 2010's Citizens United, despite the fact that an alarmingly large number of purportedly independent groups may be doing precisely what is being litigated in Wisconsin -- collaborating with the candidate and making de facto contributions. Public Citizen writes, "These findings undercut the U.S. Supreme Court's rationale in its 2010 decision in Citizens United v.

VFD-day approaches

10/20/2014
Drovers Cattle Network: VFD-day approaches by John Mayday - The lawsuit, intending to force the FDA to hold hearings on the safety of using antibiotics in feed and ultimately eliminate the practice, was filed by the National Resources Defense Council, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Public Citizen and Union of Concerned Scientists in May 2011. Two district courts ruled in favor of the activist groups in 2012, and FDA appealed the rulings, leading to the July decision in the Court of Appeals.

U.S. risks trade sanctions in WTO meat label dispute

10/20/2014
Reuters: U.S. risks trade sanctions in WTO meat label dispute by Tom Miles and Krista Hughes - Consumer rights group Public Citizen said any weakening of labeling rules would mean consumers would lose access to critical information about where their meat comes from.

Gag order lifted for Alabama consumer case

10/19/2014
Talk Radio News Service: Gag order lifted for Alabama consumer case - The Alabama Supreme Court lifted a gag order that prevented a group of 100 consumers and their attorneys from public or private discussion about the case they brought against an exterminating company. Public Citizen, which petitioned the court to have the order rescinded, said the decision ensures that consumers will have access to the best information in deciding what companies should get their business.

Because money can buy nastiness, we tune out

10/19/2014
News-Press: Because money can buy nastiness, we tune out by E.J. Dionne - There is far too much complacency about big money's role in this year's campaigns, on the grounds that both sides have plenty of it. This misses the point. "It doesn't balance it out if you have billionaire Republicans battling billionaire Democrats," says Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a consumer organization that is trying to encourage candidates to disown dark money. "You still have billionaires setting the agenda for the election."

Texas congressional races run rich, but few in re-election fight

10/19/2014
Dallas News: Texas congressional races run rich, but few in re-election fight by Kimberly Railey - “Businesses who have issues pending before Congress will frequently bundle campaign contributions,” said Craig Holman, a registered lobbyist for Public Citizen, a Washington-based government watchdog group. “They don’t care if the incumbent needs the money.”

U.S. Chamber supports candidates who don’t share its immigration stance

10/18/2014
Sacramento Bee: U.S. Chamber supports candidates who don’t share its immigration stance by Curtis Tate - Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a left-leaning government watchdog group that tracks the chamber’s activities, said the business group’s immigration views are closer to the Democratic Party’s. Yet the chamber overwhelmingly backs Republicans because the party is friendlier on other issues, including taxes, regulation and the environment, he said.“Their concern with immigration reform is very dramatically outweighed by the rest of the corporate agenda they’re pushing,” he said.

For now, status quo winning fight over state's power reserves

10/18/2014
Bloomberg Businessweek: For now, status quo winning fight over state's power reserves by Laylan Copelin - Tom "Smitty" Smith, of consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, called Fainter's comments a typical industry argument: "If we don't get our way, your bills are going up or your lights are going out."

The House’s Ethics Lesson for the Senate

10/18/2014
New York Times: The House’s Ethics Lesson for the Senate by NTY Editorial Board - These differences have been laid out in a new study showing that the House’s own ethics committee has become much more active since the ethics office was created to vet complaints, not quietly bury them. Even without subpoena power, which it should have, the office referred about a third of its inquiries to the ethics committee for further consideration. As a result, 20 disciplinary actions were approved by the House committee in the last five years — four times the rate in pre-O.C.E.

State regulators demand redo of ISO New England power auction

10/17/2014
Hartford Business: State regulators demand redo of ISO New England power auction - A September report by consumer lobbyist group Public Citizen said that Energy Capital Partners had incentive to withhold the capacity because it would earn more money on the higher rates than it would lose on the closing of the Massachusetts plant. The group estimated the net gain at $74 million, while Jepsen pegged it at a minimum of $77 million.

FEC Acts On Citizens United But Sidesteps Disclosure Entirely

10/17/2014
MintPress: FEC Acts On Citizens United But Sidesteps Disclosure Entirely by Carey L. Biron - “Ravel has made a huge concession in not addressing disclosure, and is clearly hoping this overture will be reciprocated by one or more Republicans. But I have serious doubts,” Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, the consumer advocacy group, told MintPress.“Not only have the Republicans on the commission shown no willingness to budge, but they have declared outright that they will not revisit disclosure. In that case, updating these regulations is meaningless – just paperwork.”

Arrested for Democracy: Inside 99Rise’s Latest Civil Disobedience to Get Money Out

10/17/2014
Nation of Change: Arrested for Democracy: Inside 99Rise’s Latest Civil Disobedience to Get Money Out by Eleanor Goldfield - This has rapidly become the stance of many political organizations, including Move to Amend, Money Out/Voters In, Common Cause and Public Citizen. Furthermore, the issue of money in politics is of global concern – as Lawrence Lessig, political activist and Harvard law professor, says, it’s not a matter of “left vs. right but insiders vs. outsiders.”

Trans-Pacific Partnership Would Decrease Access to Affordable Cancer Treatment

10/16/2014
Buzzflash: Trans-Pacific Partnership Would Decrease Access to Affordable Cancer Treatment by Mark Karlin - "The leak shows our government demanding rules that would lead to preventable suffering and death in Pacific Rim countries, while eliminating opportunities to ease financial hardship on American families and our health programs at home," said Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines Program. Public Citizen’s analysis and background information is available at http://www.citizen.org/tpp-ip-wikileaks.

The TPP may endanger world health, newly leaked chapter shows

10/16/2014
The Daily Dot: The TPP may endanger world health, newly leaked chapter shows by Dell Cameron - Foreseeable delays in the distribution of lifesaving medications is among the chief concerns raised by TPP’s critics.

Medicine prices at risk under Pacific trade draft: critics

10/16/2014
Reuters: Medicine prices at risk under Pacific trade draft: critics by Krista Hughes - Documents published by whistle-blowers WikiLeaks showed countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) were still far apart on issues such drug patents, copyright and other intellectual property questions.The 77-page draft chapter, dated May 16, showed a push to extend protection for drugs and other medicines which would keep prices high for longer and delay the introduction of cheaper generic alternatives, according to legal experts and groups including Public Citizen and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).

Group to Senate: Shape Up

10/16/2014
US News: Group to Senate: Shape Up by Ross Williams and Kate Rooney - The state of ethics in the U.S. Senate is a “black hole,” according to the Ethics Working Group, a new nonprofit coalition allied with Public Citizen, a consumer rights lobbying group.Public Citizen had some measured praise for the House of Representatives.

Nurses union at center of Ebola storm

10/16/2014
POLITICO: Nurses union at center of Ebola storm by Mike Elk - Health and safety problems are a major concern within the health care industry. According to a study of OSHA data released last year by Public Citizen, health care workers are more than four times as likely to suffer an injury on the job as the industry with the second highest rate of injuries — manufacturing.

Watchdogs Want Stronger Congressional Ethics Office

10/16/2014
Roll Call: Watchdogs Want Stronger Congressional Ethics Office by Hannah Hess - That success is outlined in Public Citizen’s report titled, “The Case for Independent Ethics Agencies.” It’s the product of an Ethics Working Group that included the Campaign Legal Center, congressional scholars Norman Ornstein, Thomas Mann and James Thurber, and groups including Common Cause and the National Taxpayers Union.Craig Holman, legislative representative with Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division and author of the report, said he is not worried about OCE being in danger under current House leadership, but called the rules process a source of potential weakness.

Chantix Black Box Warning on Psychiatric Side Effects Should Remain: FDA Reviewers

10/15/2014
About Lawsuits: Chantix Black Box Warning on Psychiatric Side Effects Should Remain: FDA Reviewers by Irvin Jackson - Last week, five nonprofit organizations sent a citizens petition to the FDA, calling for the current “black box” warnings to be strengthened. Consumer Reports, the National Center for Health Research, the National Physicians Alliance, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), and Public Citizen indicate that the FDA should require Pfizer to clearly describe four specific psychiatric affects associated with Chantix, including suicidal behaviors, aggression and violence, psychosis, and depression.

Magnetic stimulation gains in depression treatment

10/15/2014
Chicago Tribune: Magnetic stimulation gains in depression treatment by John Keilman - The effectiveness of TMS came into question in 2007 when the FDA was considering its use as a depression treatment. The Washington-based advocacy group Public Citizen, which often tangles with the agency over what it considers lax standards for medical devices, claimed the study the FDA relied on was unreliable."Given the small differences we were seeing, that could have been explained by the placebo effect," said Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen's health research group.

Watchdogs push for ethics overhaul in Congress

10/15/2014
USA Today: Watchdogs push for ethics overhaul in Congress by Donavan Slack - The group had particularly harsh words for Senate ethics enforcement during a news conference on Capitol Hill. Craig Holman, chief legislative affairs lobbyist for the non-partisan, non-profit Public Citizen, noted that from 2007 to 2013, the Senate Ethics Committee fielded 513 complaints against senators and dismissed all but four."The Senate Ethics Committee is a failure," Holman said. McGehee called it a "black hole."

Chantix (varenicline), thoughts of suicide/self-injury and homicide

10/15/2014
Philadelphia Inquirer: Chantix (varenicline), thoughts of suicide/self-injury and homicide by Michael Cohen - We published these results recently in our QuarterWatch publication on September 25th. Then, last week, ISMP was joined by five leading nonprofit consumer, research, and medical organizations (Consumer Reports, Institute for Safe Medication Practices, National Center for Health Research, National Physicians Alliance, and Public Citizen) in filing a Citizen Petition with the FDA. The Citizen Petition documents the extensive scientific evidence that has expanded our understanding of the substantial risks of this smoking cessation drug.

Watchdog Groups: Give Ethics Office Power to Subpoena

10/15/2014
National Journal: Watchdog Groups: Give Ethics Office Power to Subpoena by Sarah Mimms - A cadre of ethics watchdogs on Wednesday called on Congress to change that by granting OCE subpoena power. The watchdog groups, gathered in the Longworth House Office Building with members still out of town, included representatives from the Campaign Legal Center, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Common Cause, and Public Citizen as well as congressional scholars.

WSJ Vilifies Efforts To Increase Corporate Political Transparency As "Partisan Agitprop"

10/14/2014
Media Matters: WSJ Vilifies Efforts To Increase Corporate Political Transparency As "Partisan Agitprop" by Megan Hatcher-Mays - As explained by the Campaign Legal Center, which filed an amicus brief in the case along with groups like Democracy 21 and Public Citizen, "the court recognized what plaintiff ignored. ... While a slim majority of the current Supreme Court has been overtly hostile to numerous longstanding campaign finance reforms, it has been steadfast in recognizing, by overwhelming margins, the vital public interest in disclosing the identities of those seeking to influence election outcomes."

It’s not just Ebola. Health care is pretty dangerous work.

10/14/2014
Washington Post: It’s not just Ebola. Health care is pretty dangerous work. by Jason Millman - There's also been a huge drop in the reported cases of occupational transmissions of hepatitis B since federal regulators issued guidelines nearly 25 years ago to stem the epidemic of infections among health-care workers. Cases of contracting hepatitis B on the job decreased from 17,000 cases in 1983 to 400 in 1995, and there were only 10 reported cases in 2010, according to a Public Citizen report.

Critics: NFL concussion deal leaves too many out

10/14/2014
Washington Times: Critics: NFL concussion deal leaves too many out by Maryclare Dale - The advocacy group Public Citizen asked Tuesday to intervene in the case, arguing that the two class representatives - one with Lou Gehrig’s disease, one asymptomatic - do not represent the myriad injuries seen in the large group of ex-players.“You can’t have that person who has ALS, who was in the NFL for more than five years, or who is older, be the representative for people who have CTE, or were in the NFL for two years, or are battling much less or nothing,” said Allison Zieve, director of Public Citizen’s litigation group.

Most SuperPACs focus on a single candidate

10/14/2014
Talk Radio News Service: Most SuperPACs focus on a single candidate - An analysis of campaign finance data submitted by independent political committees, often referred to as SuperPACs because they can raise and spend money without limits, reveal that most are concentrating their resources on a single candidate in this year’s congressional elections, Public Citizen said in a report. At least 57 independent PACs, which have thus far collectively spent $49 million, have directed all of their spending to one candidate, suggesting their activity is coordinated, Public Citizen said.

Still More on Outside Spending

10/14/2014
Election Law Blog: Still More on Outside Spending by Justin Levitt - In Superconnected 2014, Public Citizen reports that “at least 57 outside groups that can accept unlimited contributions [and that have spent $100,000 or more this cycle] have devoted all of their resources to supporting a single congressional candidate.”

Credit Suisse: Crime Without Punishment

10/14/2014
Huffington Post: Credit Suisse: Crime Without Punishment by Bartlett Naylor - Before the DOL excuses Credit Suisse from this mandatory penalty, it asks for public comment. Public Citizen has written the DOL outlining our objections, and we call for a hearing. "Pension fund beneficiaries are especially vulnerable to Wall Street abuse because their savings may be managed by firms they do not even choose, let alone control."

Slate of Top Comedians Once Again To ‘Stand Up For Main Street’ At Sunday Fundraiser

10/14/2014
Beverly Hills Courier: Slate of Top Comedians Once Again To ‘Stand Up For Main Street’ At Sunday Fundraiser by Steve Simmons - “People forget how important seatbelts are,” says Leifer. Advocating for seatbelts and air bags is just one of Public Citizens’ achievements along with taking 24 dangerous drugs off the market and raising awareness of red dye no. 2 and toxic shock syndrome, among others.When he was approached to be on the board, Skrovan readily agreed. “If I can’t do this vital work; the least I can do is support it. Public Citizen has saved thousands of lives.”

WSJ: Search Engines Ignoring FTC Rules About Labeling Search Ads

10/13/2014
Marketing Land: WSJ: Search Engines Ignoring FTC Rules About Labeling Search Ads by Greg Sterling - “Consumers are being tricked,” says Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a consumer-advocacy group.

‘Citizens United’ is turning more Americans into bystanders

10/12/2014
Washington Post: ‘Citizens United’ is turning more Americans into bystanders by E.J. Dionne Jr. - Studies of this year’s political advertising show that outside groups are blanketing the airwaves with messages far more negative than those purveyed by the candidates themselves. That shouldn’t surprise us in the least. “Candidates can be held accountable for their ads,” says Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a consumer organization that is trying to encourage candidates to disown “dark money.” “The outside groups are unknown, and have confusing names.”

Big Abbott donors among top law firm contract recipients

10/11/2014
Dallas News: Big Abbott donors among top law firm contract recipients by James Drew - Texas has laws against bribery, but pay-to-play usually doesn’t involve bribery, said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for Public Citizen, a nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C.“Pay-to-play more often involves an individual or business entity buying access for consideration of a government contract,” said Holman, who spoke in general and not about particular situations.

Sunlight is better than darkness

10/11/2014
The Hill: Sunlight is better than darkness by Michael Smallberg - Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly what the BPC team said at the closed-door meeting, but we do know that one of the organization’s top financial supporters in 2012 was the American Bankers Association, a leading opponent of the Volcker Rule. (BPC’s ties to the banking industry are detailed in a 2013 report by Public Citizen.)

Is It Time to Reform Tort Reform?

10/10/2014
Houstonia Magazine: Is It Time to Reform Tort Reform? by John Nova Lomax - What about the claim that tort reform would bring down health costs once doctors cut down on all those unnecessary tests and insurers lowered their malpractice premiums? Well, in the years following tort reform’s passage, malpractice premiums did decrease around 46 percent, but those savings have not been passed on to patients, according to a 2011 study by the consumer group Public Citizen. And as for the claim that Prop 12 would usher in an era of lower healthcare costs, well, even tort reform’s biggest backers are distancing themselves from that one.

The FEC is the poster child for a broken Washington

10/10/2014
Washington Post: The FEC is the poster child for a broken Washington by Dana Milbank - Anything is worth a try. Public Citizen’s Craig Holman, looking at FEC data, found that votes on enforcement actions dropped from 1,036 in 2003 to 135 in 2012 (the pattern has persisted in 2013 and 2014, he said). Of those, an increasing proportion (19 percent) are split votes along partisan lines. Offenders have increasingly used such split decisions to justify continuing their activities. The number of proposed audits and rules have similarly dried up.“There’s no enforcement of anything of significance,” Holman said.

Dark money threatens democracy

10/10/2014
The Hill: Dark money threatens democracy by Robert Maguire - Wachob is also wrong when he suggests that those seeking a system that both protects the right to free speech and the right of nonprofit organizations to engage the public, on the one hand, and the right of voters to know what individuals or corporations are paying for efforts to influence how they cast their ballots, on the other, are somehow radical. Eight Supreme Court justices agreed in the Citizens United decision that disclosure is a critical part our democracy, and the public agrees.

Public Citizen blasts letting ISO-NE auction stand

10/9/2014
Restructuring Today: Public Citizen blasts letting ISO-NE auction stand - Public Citizen blasted FERC Chairman Cheryl LaFleur's reasoning in letting ISO-NE's most recent capacity auction results go into effect.

Big Money Influencing Elections in Several Ways

10/9/2014
Tri States Public Radio: Big Money Influencing Elections in Several Ways by Bill Knight - Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch division, said, “The rulemaking petition has garnered historic support from investors and the general public.” However, “the rule was placed on the [SEC’s] agenda … in 2013 but was removed by Chair Mary Jo White earlier this year. Its removal sparked outrage among its advocates, who contend that White is not taking into account the changing needs of investors since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in ‘Citizens United.’ That ruling gave corporations and the wealthy the green light to spend unlimited sums to influence elections.”

Chantix Warning Concerns Continue, Even As Lawsuit MDL Shuts Down

10/9/2014
About Lawsuits: Chantix Warning Concerns Continue, Even As Lawsuit MDL Shuts Down by Irvin Jackson - Participants in the latest petition include Consumer Reports, the National Center for Health Research, the National Physicians Alliance, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, and Public Citizen. The petition calls for the FDA to require the Boxed Warning to clearly describe four specific psychiatric affects associated with Chantix, including suicidal behaviors, aggression and violence, psychosis, and depression.

Federal Election Commission allows parties to form new committees to fund political conventions

10/9/2014
Cleveland.com: Federal Election Commission allows parties to form new committees to fund political conventions by Sabrina Eaton - Public Citizen, Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center filed objections at the Federal Election Commission that argued against altering federal campaign contribution limits to the national political parties that were established after the Watergate scandal.Public Citizen's Craig Holman said Congress never actually spent the political convention money on pediatric research, and has instead kept the money in its general fund.

FEC Greenlights More Convention Cash For Political Parties

10/9/2014
NPR: FEC Greenlights More Convention Cash For Political Parties by S.V. Date - Advocates of campaign finance limits opposed the change. Public Citizen noted that Congress so far has failed to actually provide any new cancer research funding. "Today, the commission is being asked by the same parties to create another loophole in federal election law," the group wrote in a Tuesday letter.

A bipartisan reform plan for Obamacare

10/8/2014
Florida Times-Union: A bipartisan reform plan for Obamacare - A new report from Public Citizen repeats previous criticisms that the fee schedules are weighted in favor of specialists, that the committee needs broader representation and the proceedings need to be more transparent.

Feds vote to rein in killer window blind cords

10/8/2014
The Palm Beach Post: Feds vote to rein in killer window blind cords by Susan Salisbury - Now CPSC plans to crack down and develop mandatory safety standards for window coverings to protect children. - The commission’s unanimous vote today was applauded by Parents for Window Blind Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Kids In Danger, Consumers Union, U.S. PIRG, Public Citizen, and Independent Safety Consulting.

Safety advocates seek stronger warnings on Chantix

10/8/2014
Washington Post/Associated Press: Safety advocates seek stronger warnings on Chantix by Matthew Perrone - “It would be illogical to discount the reports of thousands of consumers who told of frightening or destructive experiences with Chantix,” states the petition, filed by Consumer Reports, Public Citizen, the National Center for Health Research, National Physicians Alliance and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.

Five Important Stories About Money In Politics That Fox News Sunday Didn't Cover

10/8/2014
Media Matters: Five Important Stories About Money In Politics That Fox News Sunday Didn't Cover by Megan Hatcher Mays - Public Citizen: Strong Opposition To Citizens United "Stretches Across Party Lines." Although the Citizens United decision may have been a boon to Republican candidates in particular, opposition to the decision is bipartisan. According to advocacy organization Public Citizen, a majority of voters not only "overwhelmingly oppose" Citizens United, a majority also "believe[s] reducing the influence of money in politics and elections is an important issue" and favors a constitutional amendment to address the problem.

Obama goes to bat for bosses — Home health resolution — Liberal group attacks DOL for coddling Credit Suisse

10/8/2014
POLITICO: Obama goes to bat for bosses — Home health resolution — Liberal group attacks DOL for coddling Credit Suisse by Brian Mahoney, with help from Timothy Noah and Mike Elk - EXCLUSIVE: LIBERAL GROUP ATTACKS DOL FOR CODDLING CREDIT SUISSE — This morning Public Citizen is sending a letter to the DOL's Employee Benefit Security Administration asking the agency to punish Credit Suisse for criminal tax evasion. Credit Suisse pled guilty to tax charges earlier this year, endangering its status as a qualified professional asset manager (a designation that allows it to manage a LOT of money). Public Citizen argues that DOL should now disallow it from managing pension funds, as the law ordinarily requires. Last month the department proposed waiving sanctions.

Generics Makers Fight Label Change

10/7/2014
Chemical & Engineering News: Generics Makers Fight Label Change by Glenn Hess - The activist group Public Citizen counters that by giving companies greater ability to make prompt safety updates, the rule would help them avoid liability. Public Citizen petitioned FDA to issue the rule.

Political parties seek extra donor dollars after cancellation of federal money for political conventions

10/7/2014
Cleveland.com: Political parties seek extra donor dollars after cancellation of federal money for political conventions by Sabrina Eaton - Their request is opposed by the watchdog group Public Citizen, which says the parties shouldn't be allowed to raise additional private money beyond established contribution limits. It decries the fact that "special interest money" funneled into the conventions through "host committees" is now the chief source of convention funds.

FDA Does Not Properly Regulate Medical Devices, Report Reveals

10/6/2014
Science World Report: FDA Does Not Properly Regulate Medical Devices, Report Reveals by Kathleen Lees - The team and other groups, such as the Institute of Medicine and Public Citizen, have been calling for a replacement of the 501(k) system.

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

10/6/2014
MSN Opinion: As Dark Money Floods U.S. Elections, Regulators Turn a Blind Eye by Grant Burningham - “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.”

Safety, sanitary problems prompt scores of drug recalls

10/6/2014
USA Today: Safety, sanitary problems prompt scores of drug recalls by Peter Eisler and Christopher Schnaars - "A lot of these big compounders are really acting as manufacturers, making 500 doses of something at a time, so a lot of them are expected to follow good manufacturing practices," says Sarah Sorscher, an attorney specializing in drug regulation for Public Citizen's Health Research Group. If they want to avoid those requirements, she says, "they're going to have to change the way they operate and behave more like mom-and-pop drugstores."

Wait. What? The RUC doesn't skew toward specialists?

10/6/2014
Healthcare Finance News: Wait. What? The RUC doesn't skew toward specialists? - As popular narrative contends, the RUC – an American Medical Association creation spurred into existence in response to the Harvard National RBRVS and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989 – has long overstated many of the factors used to determine physician payment. This, according to a new report from the Public Citizen, has led to a weighted payment system that favors specialists over their primary care counterparts.

California Law Says It's Now Legal to Complain Online: Rant Away

10/6/2014
Canton Rep: California Law Says It's Now Legal to Complain Online: Rant Away - In 2008, a Utah couple made a purchase from the online retailer KlearGear.com. When their purchase didn’t arrive, they posted a negative review to the complaint site RipoffReport.com. Then in 2012, the company contacted the couple and demanded $3,500 for violating the company’s non-disparagement clause which states customers cannot take “any action that negatively impacts KlearGear.com [or] its reputation,” according to the advocacy group Public Citizen who sued the company on the couple’s behalf.

Safety Commission staff pushing for action on window blinds

10/6/2014
Consumer Affairs: Safety Commission staff pushing for action on window blinds by James R. Hood - Groups urging the commission to adopt the staff's recommendation include Parents for Window Blind Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Kids In Danger, Consumers Union, U.S. PIRG, Public Citizen, and Independent Safety Consulting.

Travel company strikes back at its Internet critics

10/5/2014
Philly.com: Travel company strikes back at its Internet critics by Jeff Gelles - That case led to a lawsuit by Public Citizen and, last month, to a new California law barring such contract clauses. Even Congress may weigh in - a proposal introduced last month would protect consumers from attempts to bar critical online comments.

For sale: Naming rights to PHM school facilities

10/5/2014
Fox: For sale: Naming rights to PHM school facilities by Alexis Gray - Despite good intentions, not everyone is happy with the push to rename facilities like libraries and athletic fields. Public Citizen lobbyist Robert Weissman is against the naming rights project. He says allowing a business to buy the right to advertise to schoolchildren is a whole other ball game than naming a space for an educator or alumnus.

School naming rights push raises money, questions

10/5/2014
NWI: School naming rights push raises money, questions - Robert Weissman of lobbying group Public Citizen opposes the deals. He says allowing a business to buy the right to advertise to schoolchildren is different than naming a space for an educator or alumnus.

MedImpact problems abound for OGB members; Gingrich, Tauzin linked to company through separate organizations

10/4/2014
Louisiana Voice: MedImpact problems abound for OGB members; Gingrich, Tauzin linked to company through separate organizations by Tom Aswell - Sid Wolfe, director of health research for the watchdog group Public Citizen, called Gingrich’s taking money from organizations like MedImpact and then using the weight of his name to advance the interests of those organizations “a massive financial conflict of interest.”

It’s a wrap: Editorials for Sept. 28-Oct. 4

10/4/2014
Austin American-Statesman: It’s a wrap: Editorials for Sept. 28-Oct. 4 - In a Two Views commentary, Tom Smith, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office, says the City Council should stick to its carbon-free power-generation plan for Austin Energy, which has proposed building a natural gas power plant instead. Investing in solar and wind energy, Smith writes, saves money over time.Roger Wood and Barry Dreyling, members of the Coalition for Clean Affordable Reliable Energy, counter that the city’s generation plan will prove too costly for Austin Energy ratepayers.

Georgia board licenses doctors other states won't

10/4/2014
Find Law: Georgia board licenses doctors other states won't by Danny Robbins - Public Citizen, the nonprofit consumer advocacy organization, has for years ranked state medical boards by calculating the number of serious disciplinary actions per 1,000 doctors.

When interests overlap for Durbin, lobbyist wife

10/4/2014
Find Law: When interests overlap for Durbin, lobbyist wife by Katherine Skiba and Kim Geiger - Craig Holman, a lobbyist and expert on government ethics at Public Citizen, a watchdog group, said that even though the Durbins have complied with Senate ethics rules, he found the circumstances "troubling.Holman perceived an "indirect" conflict of interest in Durbin securing or announcing federal money for his spouse's clients. "It doesn't run afoul of any of the congressional ethics rules or federal conflict-of-interest laws, but it does raise red flags in the sense that Durbin is getting credit for awarding grants or earmarks to some of the clients of his wife," he said.

New Website Born of Healthcare Law Discloses Billions of Dollars Paid to Doctors and Hospitals by Drug and Device Firms

10/3/2014
All Gov: New Website Born of Healthcare Law Discloses Billions of Dollars Paid to Doctors and Hospitals by Drug and Device Firms - “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,” Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, told the Times. “The interest of those companies is to improve their financial bottom line, and not necessarily represent the best interest of patients.”

Special trade courts pose disadvantage and double standard

10/3/2014
Herald Tribune: Special trade courts pose disadvantage and double standard by Harold Meyerson - An E.U.-U.S. treaty with an ISDS clause invites a massive end-run around national regulations: Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch has counted 24,200 U.S. subsidiaries of E.U.-based corporations that could avail themselves of ISDS under the treaty, and 51,400 E.U. subsidiaries of U.S.-based companies that could do the same.

Public wants more enforcement of laws and regs, new poll shows

10/3/2014
ISHN: Public wants more enforcement of laws and regs, new poll shows - “If voters are frustrated about regulations, it is because they want more enforcement of the rules, not less,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “They want to see companies that pollute our water and poison our food, crash our economy and endanger our lives brought to heel.”

U.S. ‘feckless’ on trade? — Dates set for TPP meeting — Export ban won't stop oil refining, study says

10/3/2014
POLITICO: U.S. ‘feckless’ on trade? — Dates set for TPP meeting — Export ban won't stop oil refining, study says by Matthew Korade - PUBLIC CITIZEN DISPUTES ISDS CLAIMS: Including an investor dispute clause in the TTIP would dramatically increase corporate litigation against the United State, Public Citizen says in a new report.“EU corporations own more than 24,000 U.S.-based subsidiaries, any of which could serve as the basis for an investor-state claim against U.S. government policies or actions,” the report says.

Does Congress need clearer conflict of interest rules?

10/3/2014
Washington Post: Does Congress need clearer conflict of interest rules? by Colby Itkowitz - Craig Holman, a lobbyist at Public Citizen, said such a task force “is sorely needed” to cut through ambiguity.“Conflict of interest violations are some of the most troublesome and common ethics transgressions,” he said. “Currently the House Ethics process relies on formal complaints to expose such problems on a case-by-case basis. The Ethics Committee should play a more proactive role in uncovering current problems and provide clearer guidelines as to what constitutes conflicts of interest so members can avoid these pitfalls in the future."

Bramwell’s Lunch Beat: New Twist in PCAOB’s Auditor Naming Plan

10/2/2014
Accounting Web: Bramwell’s Lunch Beat: New Twist in PCAOB’s Auditor Naming Plan by Jason Bramwell - The vast majority of voters want rules to clearly state how much political activity nonprofits can carry out, according to a new poll conducted for consumer right advocacy group Public Citizen and the conservative Hudson Institute, Bernie Becker of The Hill wrote on Tuesday.In all, 86 percent of voters believe strong rules are important, including almost six in 10 who think that it is very important. The poll also found that eight in 10 voters believe it’s an issue that political operatives and donors take advantage of vague and blurry rules.

Knight: GOTV drives seek to counter indifference

10/2/2014
Pekin Daily Times: Knight: GOTV drives seek to counter indifference by Bill Knight - The nonpartisan public-interest organization Public Citizen recently announced that more than 1 million U.S.

Coalition calls for rejection of Exelon-Pepco merger

10/2/2014
The Baltimore Sun: Coalition calls for rejection of Exelon-Pepco merger by Natalie Sherman - "This merger is not a done deal," Tidwell said, whose group has formally petitioned to intervene in the case. Other members of the coalition at Thursday's news conference included Washington-based consumer watchdog Public Citizen, Maryland's Sierra Club and the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council.

Exelon-Pepco deal would hurt consumers and the environment, opponents say

10/2/2014
Washington/Baltimore Business Journal: Exelon-Pepco deal would hurt consumers and the environment, opponents say by Rick Seltzer - Its movement through the Maryland Public Service Commission was the groups' target Thursday. The deal can't be considered done until the commission signs off on it, said Tyson Slocum, energy program director for Washington, D.C.-based consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. "The Maryland Public Service Commission can only approve a merger if it finds the merger is in the public interest and it would provide tangible benefits to consumers," he said. "We believe this merger fails both of those tests."

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."