November 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.

Ralph Nader: Big Pharma is crony capitalism out of control

11/30/2014
The Cap Times: Ralph Nader: Big Pharma is crony capitalism out of control by Ralph Nader - Op-ed by Public Citizen founder Ralph Nader

Ahead of UN Talks, Real Hope Placed in 'Contagious Courage' of Global Climate Justice Movement

11/30/2014
Common Dreams: Ahead of UN Talks, Real Hope Placed in 'Contagious Courage' of Global Climate Justice Movement by Jon QueallyAs Robert Weissman, president of the U.S.-based advocacy group Public Citizen, recently wrote of the U.S.-China deal, - "The problem is that this politically significant agreement is incredibly unambitious when it comes to actually reducing greenhouse gas pollution."The real solution, say experts like Weissman and Bhatnagar, include significant and "binding" emissions cuts by all governments, with a special focus on the largest polluters such as the U.S., China, Australia, Canada, and European nations. And beyond just lowering emissions there are fundamental transformations that must take place across economic, political, agricultural, and energy sectors.

The GOP's strategy to block Obama’s regs

11/30/2014
The Hill: The GOP's strategy to block Obama’s regs by Tim Devaney and Lydia Wheeler - “In the rulemaking space, the president has the upper hand,” said Public Citizen President Robert Weissman.

Using its Wealth, Google Has Become a DC Lobbying Juggernaut—And They Still Know Everything About Us

11/28/2014
AlterNet: Using its Wealth, Google Has Become a DC Lobbying Juggernaut—And They Still Know Everything About Us by Adam HudsonPublic Citizen recently released - a 60-page report, titled "Mission Creep-y: Google Is Quietly Becoming One of the Nation's Most Powerful Political Forces While Expanding Its Information-Collection Empire.” The report details how Google went from the research project of two Stanford grad students to what is arguably the world’s biggest information technology empire, and how it amassed a giant information-collection empire and is now gaining significant political interest.In 1996, Stanford computer science graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin started an experimental project called Backrub in which they "intended to c

EPA rules merit public support

11/28/2014
My San Antonio: EPA rules merit public support - by Tom “Smitty” Smith and Louchi Chi - Op-ed by Tom Smith, the director of Public Citizen’s Texas office and Louchin Chi, a Public Citizen intern and student at the University of Texas at Austin.

Former attorney general's contact with Pam Bondi's office raises questions

11/28/2014
Tampa Bay Times: Former attorney general's contact with Pam Bondi's office raises questions by Michael Van Sickler - But ethics and lobbying experts say being a lawyer, as many lobbyists are, doesn't exempt McCollum."We keep hearing this lawyer excuse, but it's just not valid," said Craig Holman, who lobbies for Public Citizen, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit watchdog group. "Without a doubt, what he was doing was lobbying and he should have registered.

Congress defended FedBid, the disgraced contractor ousted by the VA

11/27/2014
Washington Times: Congress defended FedBid, the disgraced contractor ousted by the VA by Jim McElhattonCraig Holman, legislative representative for the watchdog group Public Citizen, said the situation provides - a troubling example of a lawmaker overstepping his bounds. “Congress once in a while will intervene in contracting decisions if they suspect there’s some partisan basis behind the decisions,” Mr. Holman said.

US China Trade War–Developments in Trade , TAA, 337/IP, Antitrust and Securities

11/26/2014
JD Supra Business Advisor: US China Trade War–Developments in Trade , TAA, 337/IP, Antitrust and Securities by Bill PerryMeanwhile, on October 16th, according to analysis of the document by Public Citizen, it was reported that - a leaked draft of the TPP Intellectual Property Chapter obtained by WikiLeaks could lead to delayed access to pharmaceutical drugs in a dozen countries, including the U.S., and would contradict White House policies aimed at cutting Medicare and Medicaid costs. According to Public Citizen, at issue in the draft is a U.S.

90 Pipeline Spills You Probably Haven’t Heard About

11/26/2014
EcoWatch: 90 Pipeline Spills You Probably Haven’t Heard About by Stefanie Spear Watch as Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen - ‘s Energy Program, joins Thom Hartmann on The Big Picture to discuss the more than 90 pipeline spills that have occurred in Alberta, Canada, in October alone, releasing more than 625,000 liters of “toxic crap." Slocum and Hartmann talk about the Keystone XL and the many other pipelines in the works, including the Energy East pipeline, and the huge impact the extraction and burning of tar sands oil will have on the climate if these pipelines are built.

Is Walmart the World's Worst Corporation?

11/26/2014
Truthout: Is Walmart the World's Worst Corporation? by John Logan - Walmart has contributed to the corruption of the nation's politics. In September 2014, Common Cause and Public Citizen accused the company of violating federal campaign finance laws by asking employees to donate to its political action committee in exchange for matching donations to a company charity.

Netflix, Facebook, Twitter Voice Support for Google in ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Case

11/26/2014
Variety: Netflix, Facebook, Twitter Voice Support for Google in ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Case - Case by Ted JohnsonPublic Citizen filed an amicus brief siding with neither Google nor Garcia. They argued that Garcia should pursue claims in state court against the filmmakers rather than federal copyright claims.

Rep. Rangel, will you protect our jobs and community again?

11/26/2014
Amsterdam News: Rep. Rangel, will you protect our jobs and community again? by Stephen Phelps and Stephanie Low Twenty years ago, NAFTA promised American jobs and economic prosperity by opening trade with Canada and Mexico. We didn - ’t get the jobs, but we sure did get problems. According to Public Citizen’s Economic Policy Institute, NAFTA outsourced jobs from all 50 states. Approximately 46,200 were lost in New York alone. Moreover, U.S., Canada and Mexico increased manufacturing that polluted water, land and air in all three countries. To top it off, NAFTA created foreign tribunals where corporations can challenge the environmental and public safety laws of any member nation.

Judge Rules Fewer Political Groups Can Keep Their Donors Secret

11/26/2014
NPR: Judge Rules Fewer Political Groups Can Keep Their Donors Secret by Lauren Hodges - Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), along with reform advocacy groups Campaign Legal Center, Public Citizen and Democracy 21, sued the FEC in 2011 to overturn the 2007 regulation. The Associated Press reported that Democracy 21's president, Fred Werthiemer claimed the FEC allowed loopholes in the regulation to fund federal elections with "dark money."

Hagel Resigns - A Look at His Record

11/25/2014
The Real News: Hagel Resigns - A Look at His Record by Jessica Desvarieux Robert Naiman is Policy Director of Just Foreign Policy. Naiman has worked as - a policy analyst and researcher at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. He has masters degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Illinois and has studied and worked in the Middle East. Naiman edits the Just Foreign Policy daily news summary and writes a blog on Huffington Post.NAIMAN: Yes, definitely it's a disappointment, the fact that he's leaving in disappointment and the things that we've been talking about. The big disappointment is that the missions that he was supposed to implement are being abandoned.

Federal judge tosses out FEC donor disclosure rule, calling it too narrow

11/25/2014
Washington Post: Federal judge tosses out FEC donor disclosure rule, calling it too narrow by Matea Gold - The regulation was challenged in 2011 by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who was represented by WilmerHale attorney Roger Witten, joined by lawyers for the advocacy groups Democracy 21, Public Citizen and Campaign Legal Center. They argued that it created a massive loophole and gutted the intent of the 2002 McCain-Feingold Act. Among other things, that far-reaching law required groups that engage in "electioneering communications" to reveal all contributors who give $1,000 or more.

The Supreme Court Is About to Make a Big Decision About Facebook Free Speech

11/25/2014
TIME: The Supreme Court Is About to Make a Big Decision About Facebook Free Speech by Jack Linshi - “You have the potential for creating a chilling effect both on the part of speakers, but possibly even more on the part of entities that host potentially threatening speech,” said Paul Levy, an attorney at the Public Citizen Litigation Group. “If intent [to threat] isn’t needed [to prosecute], then it seems that the Facebooks of the world have to worry that they, too, can be prosecuted. It could have a serious censoring effect."

Two lawmakers question why House Members exempt from annual ethics training

11/24/2014
Red Alert Politics: Two lawmakers question why House Members exempt from annual ethics training by Ashley Dobson - Craig Holman of Public Citizen told the National Journal that the law was part of the Senate response to the corruption scandal involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff and then-Rep. Bob Ney. The Senate passed it with language that required senators and all Senate aides to take “ongoing” ethics training.

FDA Delays Publication of Generic Labeling Rule to Fall 2015

11/24/2014
FDA News: FDA Delays Publication of Generic Labeling Rule to Fall 2015 by Robert King GPhA did not have - a comment on the publication delay. Patient safety advocates, however, were disappointed. Advocacy group Public Citizen criticized the nine-month delay, noting that the rule will improve drug safety. “The sooner generic drug companies are allowed to make safety updates to labeling, the better for public health,” Allison Zieve, Public Citizen’s general counsel said.

EPA proposes Texas coal-fired plants spend $2B to improve air at federal parks, other lands

11/24/2014
Associated Press: EPA proposes Texas coal-fired plants spend $2B to improve air at federal parks, other lands by Emily Schmall - Environmental groups applauded the action. Tom Smith, the director of the Texas office of environmental watchdog Public Citizen, said "these old coal plants are just too costly to continue.

'Fracking' and worker safety

11/23/2014
Safety + Health: 'Fracking' and worker safety by Tom MusickKeith Wrightson serves as worker safety and health advocate for Public Citizen, - a Washington-based advocacy group that has called for an end to fracking. He said it concerns him that companies do not have to specify which chemicals they use in their fracking fluids, and it upsets him even more that crystalline silica – a known hazard – is prevalent.“Over the last 10 years, the oil and gas and fracking industries have begun to expand, so now we can make the assumption or the takeaway that exposure to silica is also occurring at the same rate,” Wrightson said.

Majority of Americans Want Money Out of Politics

11/23/2014
Nation of Change: Majority of Americans Want Money Out of Politics by Karin Kamp - A survey conducted in July found that a majority of Americans from across the political spectrum oppose the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that opened the floodgates to endless campaign spending. And that was before the 2014 elections became the most expensive midterm elections ever, with at least $3.7 billion spent on Congressional races (that doesn’t count state, local and judicial elections).The research, commissioned by Public Citizen, surveyed likely 2014 voters from the two main political parties, as well as independents.

Health Sense: Health insurance still 'velvet handcuffs' stalling retirement

11/23/2014
Chippewa Herald: Health Sense: Health insurance still 'velvet handcuffs' stalling retirement by David WahlbergDoes Wisconsin still rank near the bottom of states in issuing serious disciplinary action against doctors - ?It’s hard to say. The Federation of State Medical Boards, which used to release state-by-state reports of disciplinary actions each year, stopped doing that last year.

Debbie Dingell Ready for Spotlight as Her Husband, the ‘Dean’ of Congress, Steps Aside

11/23/2014
New York Times: Debbie Dingell Ready for Spotlight as Her Husband, the ‘Dean’ of Congress, Steps Aside by Sheryl Gay Stolbergnov - “The Dingells have long had a very serious and substantial conflict of interest with regard to the auto industry,” said Craig Holman of the advocacy group Public Citizen, though he acknowledges that they have not been “in violation of the congressional ethics rules.”

Indefatigable scientist who studied fatigue tapped to lead U.S. road safety agency

11/21/2014
Science Insider: Indefatigable scientist who studied fatigue tapped to lead U.S. road safety agency by Warren CornwallThe next administrator will need to rally his staff, convince the auto industry he - ’s serious about enforcement, and persuade Congress to steer more money to the underfunded agency, says Joan Claybrook, president emeritus of the watchdog group Public Citizen and a NHTSA administrator under President Jimmy Carter.“It’s going to need some very strong leadership. It’s going to need a cop on the beat,” she says. “I think Mark definitely has the skill set needed.”

Why Google May Be More 'Evil' than the NSA

11/21/2014
Telepresence Options: Why Google May Be More 'Evil' than the NSA - Abby Martin speaks with Taylor Lincoln, Director of Research at Public Citizen's Congressional Watch Division about a new report detailing how Google is invading users privacies and becoming the most powerful and influential political force in Washington.

New York Fed Is Criticized on Oversight

11/21/2014
New York Times: New York Fed Is Criticized on Oversight by Peter Eavis - “He said that he was not a bank cop; he will not like that pushed back in his face,” said Bartlett Naylor, financial policy advocate at Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group. “They are supposed to be mindful of infractions."

Rule Updates Clinical Trial Data Disclosure; Watchdog Group Questions NIH Role in Research Protection Update

11/21/2014
Roll Call: Rule Updates Clinical Trial Data Disclosure; Watchdog Group Questions NIH Role in Research Protection Update by Paul JenksThe Department of Health and Human Services today published - a notice of proposed rules on reporting requirements for clinical trials on new drug products. The rules clarify requirements on posting clinical trial results on the federal website – ClinicalTrials.gov. The site contains information on more than 178,000 clinical trials and seeks to prevent duplication of trials and can quickly signal concerns about unsafe or ineffective drugs.The website is a joint project of the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health.

8 Things You Can Do to Help Get Money Out of Politics

11/21/2014
Moyers & Company: 8 Things You Can Do to Help Get Money Out of Politics - In the battle for the Senate, 42 extremely wealthy donors accounted for nearly a third of all super PAC spending. Whatever one’s political philosophy may be, the fact is: wealthy donors are now able to drown out your voice.But if there was a silver lining in the elections’ display of plutocratic might, it’s that there’s growing awareness of how a flood of money is distorting our politics. And watchdogs at Open Secrets, The Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, The Sunlight Foundation, Democracy 21, Public Citizen and countless other organizations have been working to turn back the tide.

These terrible governors won reelection and will keep on wreaking environmental havoc

11/20/2014
Grist: These terrible governors won reelection and will keep on wreaking environmental havoc by Ben AdlerMost importantly, the EPA - ’s proposed emission limits for power plants will actually be implemented by states. And if the states drag their feet, it will be easier for President Obama’s successor to delay, weaken, or reverse the regulations. The rules for existing power plants will be finalized in June of next year, after which states have one year to submit compliance plans. But if they want to, they can push that back an additional year, until mid-2017. And states that are going to comply by forming a regional or multi-state compact will have until 2018.

Democrats sharpen Wall Street criticism

11/20/2014
Washington Examiner: Democrats sharpen Wall Street criticism by Joseph Lawler - Bartlett Naylor, financial policy advocate for Public Citizen and a former congressional investigator, commended Levin for looking into banks' physical commodities businesses and his track record of probing into bank misconduct. Levin "established a high standard for investigation of critical areas affecting Americans. This legacy will, unfortunately, be difficult to match in the future,” Naylor said.

After Criticism, Fed Will Study Wall St. Oversight

11/20/2014
New York Times: After Criticism, Fed Will Study Wall St. Oversight by Peter EavisThe Times report on the confidential leak, which took place this year, revived the fear that the New York Fed is entwined with Wall Street. The question now looming over the New York Fed is whether it has policies in place to deal with the conf - ’s rules may be slightly tougher than those of other agencies for certain employees. Even so, the leak may now prompt calls for a tightening of such rules. Consumer advocates, for their part, want more. “These rules, including at the Fed, are so weak,” said Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. “It’s like a sieve.”The New York Fed fired the employee who is suspected of leaking the information.

The Hightower Report: Who's really electing our leaders?

11/20/2014
Austin Chronicle: The Hightower Report: Who's really electing our leaders? by Jim Hightower - One agency could compel them to reveal their spending on what amounts to a corporate coup of our democratic elections: the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC is supposed to guard the right of investors to know how corporate executives are spending their money. But this watchdog isn't barking, much less biting, thus allowing CEOs to take unlimited amounts of other people's money, without their permission, and secretly pour it down the darkest hole in American politics.SEC's inaction is gutless, making it complicit in the corporate corruption of our governing system.

Google Knows

11/19/2014
Mark Levine: Google Knows - What does Google (and other online behemoths) know about you? What do they do that with that information? Guest: Susan Harley, Deputy Director for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division

Keystone XL Pipeline: Down but not Out

11/19/2014
Dissident Voice: Keystone XL Pipeline: Down but not Out by Stephen Lendman - Last November, Public Citizen published a report titled “TransCanada’s Keystone XL Southern Segment: Construction Problems Raise Questions About the Integrity of the Pipeline.”Highlighting safety issues. Documenting problems.

Conservatives and Liberals Agree, TPP Hates Your Freedom

11/19/2014
Huffington Post: Conservatives and Liberals Agree, TPP Hates Your Freedom by Jacob DevaneyObama has been pushing to pass this secret agreement without Congressional oversight, which is added shame to - a president who campaigned on the notion of transparency. Wikileaks has spoiled this agenda with numerous leaks detailing just how bad this agreement is for Americans as well as the rest of the countries involved with it.

Even as Keystone XL is shot down in Washington, Texas leg operational

11/19/2014
Bloomberg Businessweek: Even as Keystone XL is shot down in Washington, Texas leg operational - "Tar sands are more carbon-intensive than traditional oil because of the mining process and refining involved," said Tom Smith, head of the Texas office of the environmental group Public Citizen.He said the transportation of the oil threatens as many as eight aquifers as it is piped across the state, should the pipeline leak.

Enough Is Enough: The President's Latest Wall Street Nominee

11/19/2014
Huffington Post: Enough Is Enough: The President's Latest Wall Street Nominee by Elizabeth WarrenI 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.

Advocacy Group: Information and Influence Boost Google's Power

11/19/2014
Associations Now: Advocacy Group: Information and Influence Boost Google's Power by Ernie Smith - The Public Citizen report, which comes at a time when online privacy concerns are on the rise, notes that Google’s information-gathering prowess has been accompanied by increasing influence in the political realm. The company has spent more on lobbying this year—$13.6 million so far—than any other individual corporation and more overall than all but six trade groups. It even topped some major players, such as Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association. Google also helps fund 140 outside groups, such as the U.S.

As Senate Readies Keystone XL Pipeline Vote, Debate On Existing Gulf Coast Section Simmers In Oklahoma And Texas

11/18/2014
International Business Times: As Senate Readies Keystone XL Pipeline Vote, Debate On Existing Gulf Coast Section Simmers In Oklahoma And Texas by Maria Gallucci - A November 2013 report by Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group for which Beving once consulted, tallied over 100 instances of potential defects during the pipeline's construction, including dents, unintentionally sagging pipes, improper backfilling and poor soil management. In June, TransCanada temporarily shut down the Gulf Coast project for "routine work," raising suspicions of continued repairs.

Elections featured bipartisan appeal to Americans’ opposition to unfair trade

11/18/2014
The Hill: Elections featured bipartisan appeal to Americans’ opposition to unfair trade by Ben Beachy - Op-ed by Ben Beachy, the research director for Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

GOP Caught With Fingers in the Twitter Jar

11/18/2014
E-Commerce Times: GOP Caught With Fingers in the Twitter Jar by Katherine Noyes - "This is a kind of case in point for one of the biggest problems in campaign finance," said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch division. "It's pretty clear that there are blurry lines, but this seems like the next bad step in an ongoing trend," she told TechNewsWorld. The FEC has "moderately tinkered" with coordination rules over time, but it clearly needs to refine them further to take this latest example into account, Gilbert suggested: "Right now, it's a doughnut-sized loophole."

$2.6 Billion to Develop a Drug? New Estimate Makes Questionable Assumptions

11/18/2014
New York Times: $2.6 Billion to Develop a Drug? New Estimate Makes Questionable Assumptions by Aaron E. Caroll - When the last study was published, a number of other organizations did their own analyses as well. One was by Public Citizen, the advocacy group founded by Ralph Nader, which basically took the amount that pharmaceutical companies reported in research and development over a period of time, and then divided it by the number of drugs that obtained F.D.A. approval. The group came up with $161 million.

US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

11/18/2014
Voice of America: US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now by Michael Bowman At issue - : expansion of North American pipelines to send an extra 830,000 barrels of Canadian oil daily to U.S. Gulf states. Environmentalists say the oil is not needed and will boost global greenhouse gases. Public Citizen Energy Program director Tyson Slocum said the project is unnecessary.“You’ve got countries like the United States and others that have stepped up oil production, and so it’s safe to predict that for the next several years we’re not going to be threatened by the types of supply-demand balance problems that caused the crisis in oil markets to push prices up," said Slocum.

Keystone XL pipeline’s impact on jobs, energy, climate more muted than advertised

11/17/2014
Dallas Morning News: Keystone XL pipeline’s impact on jobs, energy, climate more muted than advertised by Michael A. LindenbergerMost of all, Keystone represents - a doubling-down on a future in which the U.S. and its neighbors are too reliant on fossil fuels, said David Arkush of Public Citizen, a Washington-based watchdog group with offices in Texas. Americans should expect their government to block a proposal that commits them to an unsustainable future, he said. “We shouldn’t be investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure,” Arkush said. “The money involved is everyone’s money in the sense that whatever costs come from the choices these companies are making get passed along to everyone. We all pay the consequences.”

Some facts Google doesn't pop up on your screen

11/16/2014
Undernews: Some facts Google doesn't pop up on your screen - A new Public Citizen report, “Mission Creep-y,” explores Google’s accruing power, both in terms of personal data collection, and federal and state government influence, raising the question of whether it could become too powerful to be held accountable.

Urgency grows for Obama’s regs agenda

11/16/2014
The Hill: Urgency grows for Obama’s regs agenda by Lydia Wheeler - “Given how slow the regulatory process is, two years is a very short time,” said Amit Narang, regulatory policy advocate for Public Citizen. “There is a lot of urgency for the administration and federal agencies to move fast to finalize these rules."

Sued for posting a negative online business review? It can happen

11/15/2014
Indy Star: Sued for posting a negative online business review? It can happen by Tim Evans - "Businesses aren't used to being effectively criticized," said Paul Alan Levy, an attorney with Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer rights advocacy group and think tank based in Washington, D.C."Now, people can broadcast their complaints much more broadly and, plainly, the businesses that are targeted don't like it."Retaliation against bad reviews, Levy said, is growing as the Internet becomes an increasingly important tool of commerce.

Schnurman: Oncor wants to play the innovator

11/15/2014
Dallas Morning News: Schnurman: Oncor wants to play the innovator by Mitchell Schnurman - “It’s really stepping outside the box they’ve drawn for regulated and unregulated businesses,” said David Power, deputy director of Public Citizen in Austin. “And the risk falls on the customers."

Google expands into politics

11/14/2014
TRNS: Google expands into politics by Ed Zuckerman - A report from Public Citizen claims that Google’s fast-expanding information gathering and political lobbying efforts may put the giant company beyond the reach of government accountability requirements. The report—Mission Creep-y: Google is quietly becoming one of the nation’s most powerful political forces while expanding its information-collection empire—examines the company’s accumulation of information about the public and the influence it has over state and federal governments.

Short Takes: November 14, 2014

11/14/2014
Windows IT Pro: Short Takes: November 14, 2014 by Paul ThurrottWorld is slowly waking up to Google's inherent evilnessIt's - a strange paradox that we live in a world in which everyone claims to want privacy but then does so little to actually protect that privacy online. But the world is slowly waking up to the evil that is the world's biggest secret collector of private data, Google, though this is an area where the US lags behind, especially when you consider the anti-Google efforts of ever-vigilant antitrust regulators in the EU, and of course the xenophobic weirdos in China.

Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade deal Obama and the GOP both love, explained

11/14/2014
Vox: Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade deal Obama and the GOP both love, explained by Danielle Kurtzleben - The fact that Republicans seem favorable toward trade deals like the TPP creates something of a dilemma for them, as Public Citizen's Lori Wallach told Al Jazeera. "What would be required is for Republicans in Congress, who have attacked Obama as power-hungry, must vote to voluntarily give him large swaths of power," she said. "This is an interesting problem for them and their own political base.

How Will the GOP-Controlled Senate Affect Trade Deals?

11/13/2014
The Real News: How Will the GOP-Controlled Senate Affect Trade Deals? by Thomas HedgesLORI WALLACH, DIRECTOR, GLOBAL TRADE WATCH - (PUBLIC CITIZEN): Well, there's a public relations campaign underway right now by the corporate lobby, because they basically are mortified that in 2013 and 2014 they were unable to get trade authority, despite the fact that they were paid tens of millions of dollars in lobbying fees and PR fees and the grassroots beat them. And it was both the left grassroots and the Tea Party grassroots. So they've started out with this sort of psych ops campaign about, ooh, this is what's going to happen. But it's just unrelated to the realities on the ground.

Google is the biggest corporate lobbyist in America now, says new Public Citizen report

11/13/2014
PandoDaily: Google is the biggest corporate lobbyist in America now, says new Public Citizen report by James RobinsonAs Public Citizen outlines, Google circa 2014 is - a completely politicized organization. As a company that makes almost all of its revenue from selling advertisements, the currency that keeps it afloat is detailed information about us. And it has been naked in its pursuit of that and unafraid of protecting its own interest. The Public Citizen report details how Google has spent $18.2 million on federal lobbying in 2014 so far, more than any other company. In this year’s election cycle, Google’s PAC outspent Goldman Sachs.

Consumer Group Questions Google’s Breadth, Influence

11/13/2014
Wall Street Journal: Consumer Group Questions Google’s Breadth, Influence by Alistair Barr - Public Citizen said Google’s expansion into new businesses coincides with an increase in its political spending, which adds to its influence. Google spent more money on lobbying the federal government than any other company through the first nine months of the year, the report said, citing data form OpenSecrets.org, which tracks political spending. Public Citizen said Google is on pace to spend $18.2 million on federal lobbying this year, up from $15.8 million last year.

More Cracks in Google's 'Don't Be Evil' Mantra as Data Collection, Political Power Soar

11/13/2014
Common Dreams: More Cracks in Google's 'Don't Be Evil' Mantra as Data Collection, Political Power Soar by Deidre Fulton - "Google is becoming exponentially more powerful in federal and state governments," said Sam Jewler, author of the report and communications officer for Public Citizen’s U.S. Chamber Watch. "At the same time, it’s pushing boundaries in technology, and it has shown that it can’t always be trusted to do the right thing with people’s information. When we see such massive influence, it raises the question, will regulators and lawmakers be reluctant to rein in Google?"

Consumer Group Questions Google’s Breadth, Influence

11/13/2014
NASDAQ: Consumer Group Questions Google’s Breadth, Influence - According to a report from Public Citizen, Google is collecting more information on users while spending more to influence politics, raising questions about whether the Internet giant can be held accountable. Public Citizen is a nonprofit group that seeks to limit corporate influence in politics. Google’s search engine has long collected information about what people seek online, which it uses primarily to show them more-targeted ads.

Wall Street’s reaction on Elizabeth Warren: So what?

11/13/2014
POLITICO: Wall Street’s reaction on Elizabeth Warren: So what? by MJ Lee - Bart Naylor, a financial policy advocate at Public Citizen, said he’s hopeful that Warren’s new status can highlight several key Wall Street reform policies, including proposals to break up big banks or require large institutions to meet tougher funding requirements.“Elevating an articulate progressive bank policy reformer to a position of greater influence is most welcome,” Naylor said.

Records: Essure birth control maker, Conceptus, cited for malfunctioning, not reporting complaints

11/12/2014
NBC 5 Cleveland: Records: Essure birth control maker, Conceptus, cited for malfunctioning, not reporting complaints by Sarah Buduson - Dr. Michael Carome, Director of the Health Research Group for Public Citizen, told newsnet5.com Form 483s are relatively common and can be issued anytime an FDA inspector has found what they think is a violation of the law. Some are serious, some are less so.According to Dr. Carome with Public Citizen, it’s difficult to tell how serious these issues are based on these records alone. But, he said the safety system the FDA has set up depends upon accurate reporting from device manufacturers, so these observations could potentially be very serious.

New U.S.-China climate deal is a game changer

11/12/2014
Grist: New U.S.-China climate deal is a game changer by Ben AdlerReaching the new emission-reduction targets is certainly technologically possible, and allowable under existing law - — as long as Congress doesn’t figure out a way to stop to it. Emissions have already declined, we’ve got new rules on tailpipes, and with the proposed power plant rules, we are almost there already. “I think it’s achievable,” says Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s energy program. “They might have to make some tweaks [to the power-plant targets], but I don’t see it as being a radical rewrite of the goal."

PUBLIC CITIZEN CRITICIZES 60 PLUS REPORT ON LOUISIANA PRICES

11/12/2014
POLITICO: PUBLIC CITIZEN CRITICIZES 60 PLUS REPORT ON LOUISIANA PRICES by Alex Guill - énA study on energy prices in Louisiana released Monday by the conservative 60 Plus Association (and covered in yesterday's ME, if you need a refresher) is "bogus," writes David Arkush of Public Citizen’s Climate Program. The paper, which projected retail electricity prices would rise in Louisiana, “focus[es] on electricity prices, not actual bills that consumers will pay, and focus[es] more on the near term than the long term,” he writes. EPA’s Clean Power Plan “also projects that people will use less electricity due to increases in energy efficiency.

Lower Macungie commissioner defends right to vote on controversial park proposal

11/12/2014
Morning Call: Lower Macungie commissioner defends right to vote on controversial park proposal by Patrick LesterCraig Holman, - a government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit watchdog group, disagreed."A conflict that is troubling is when an official gains some financial benefit out of a transaction," Holman said. "It doesn't seem like any money goes into his pocket. He's just pursuing something he believes in. Therefore, I don't see it as a worrisome conflict."

Banks fined $4.3B in currency probe

11/12/2014
USA Today: Banks fined $4.3B in currency probe by Jane Onyanga-Omara and Kevin McCoy - The CFTC noted that evidence showed some of the attempted foreign exchange manipulation occurred while the banks were under investigation for suspected Libor-related wrongdoing. That finding prompted Robert Weissman, president of watchdog group Public Citizen, to call for criminal prosecutions."For too long, U.S. law enforcement agencies have been far too soft on Wall Street lawbreakers," said Weissman.

Business groups brace for deluge of regs

11/11/2014
The Hill: Business groups brace for deluge of regs by Tim Devaney - “We’re seeing increasing amounts of oil being transported by train, and some of it is very volatile,” said Amit Narang, regulatory policy advocate at the left-leaning Public Citizen. “All the communities along these train routes are at risk, and many aren’t even aware of it until an explosion occurs."

House Dems say trade bills have no chance of passing

11/11/2014
The Hill: House Dems say trade bills have no chance of passing by Vicki Needham - Lori Wallach, head of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, said the midterms elections that elevated Senate Republicans into the majority didn't "fix the GOP leadership’s math problem with finding enough votes in the House."

CHARGED FOR COMPLAINING?! Kenosha woman takes legal action after online purchase

11/11/2014
FOX6: CHARGED FOR COMPLAINING?! Kenosha woman takes legal action after online purchase by Katrina Cravy and LeeAnn WatsonAccessory Outlet - ’s website shut down the day the case was filed. Since then, Public Citizen and FOX6’s Contact 6 have been unable to reach the company. But, that’s not stopping Public Citizen from moving forward.“If this does nothing but send a message to this company that they can’t engage in these types of tactics without paying some sort of price, either by public relations or having to take their sites down, we will have done some good here,” Michelman said.This is an issue that’s getting attention not just from Public Citizen, but from lawmakers as well.

How Shy People Stole Our Elections

11/11/2014
Common Dreams: How Shy People Stole Our Elections by Jim Hightower - The SEC’s inaction is gutless, making it complicit in the corporate corruption of our governing system. To help make it do its duty, link up with Public Citizen: www.citizen.org.

The Most Important Symbol for Investors Is 'DOL'

11/11/2014
Huffington Post: The Most Important Symbol for Investors Is 'DOL' by Dan SolinAccording to the Consumer Federation of America, those in favor of making all advisers to retirement plans subject to - a fiduciary standard include the AARP, the AFL-CIO (along with many other unions), Consumers Union, the NAACP, Public Citizen, the Pension Rights Center and The Economic Policy Institute.The right decision by the DOL will help stop the rip-off of 401(k) participants by wolves in sheep's clothing, who misuse their privileged position as "adviser" to 401(k) plans to make unconscionable profits at the expense of employees. It's long overdue.

UPDATE: Attorney general nominee Lynch expected to keep tabs on Wall Street

11/11/2014
Morningstar: UPDATE: Attorney general nominee Lynch expected to keep tabs on Wall Street by Sital S. PatelPublic Citizen, - a consumer-rights advocacy group, has been a vocal critic of the Holder-led Justice Department, saying it has failed to enforce laws and prosecute individuals sufficiently. If companies aren't held accountable, they will continue to engage in wrongdoing, said the nonprofit group's president, Robert Weissman.Weissman has been particularly critical of the money-laundering case against HSBC Holdings (HSBC), in which Lynch played a role. "HSBC is the single worst example where a large corporation engages in epic money laundering for drug cartels, which the U.S.

Never Mind ISIS, It’s ISDS That’s the Real Threat

11/11/2014
The Nation: Never Mind ISIS, It’s ISDS That’s the Real Threat by Greg GrandinBut Public Citizen says talk of Republicans giving Obama fast-track approval is just wish fulfilment. It - ’s the House, not the Senate, that matters when it comes to trade authorization (Clinton got NAFTA early in his first term but later a Republican-controlled House denied him fast-track power, with 171 Democrats and seventy-one Republicans voting no).

Politics And A Food Fight Are Stalling A Major U.S.-Asia Trade Deal

11/11/2014
NPR Online: Politics And A Food Fight Are Stalling A Major U.S.-Asia Trade Deal by Marilyn GeewaxFor example, Lori Wallach, - a global trade expert for Public Citizen, a consumer watchdog group, said in a statement that TPP would "promote lower wages, higher medicine prices, more unsafe imported food, and new rights for foreign investors to demand payments from national treasuries."At the same time, very conservative groups oppose any suggestion that House and Senate GOP leaders agree to renew "fast-track" negotiating authority for Obama.

Predatory Lenders and Texas Legislators Still Taking Advantage of Military Veterans

11/10/2014
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Predatory Lenders and Texas Legislators Still Taking Advantage of Military Veterans by Carol MorganPredatory lenders and rent-to-own businesses have specifically targeted military veterans as some of their most valued customers by setting up office right outside of military bases. The Military Lending Act of 2006 was designed to stop this e - $2000, which is not prevented by the MLA.So perhaps, a good way to honor all veterans is by adding your comments on the DOD Electronic Public Inspection desk at this link: http://tinyurl.com/pb8ar8y or adding your name to the list at Public Citizen.

Not COOL: World trade trumps U.S. shoppers' choice

11/10/2014
The Montana Standard: Not COOL: World trade trumps U.S. shoppers' choice - “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,” Lori Wallach of Public Citizen told the Associated Press.

Despite Outcry of Opposition, Obama Pushes "Horrific" Trade Deal in Asia

11/10/2014
Common Dreams: Despite Outcry of Opposition, Obama Pushes "Horrific" Trade Deal in Asia by John Queally - However, as Lori Wallach, director of the Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, pointed out, that calculation may be misplaced.According to Public Citizen, the TPP would be a grab-bag of policies designed to empower corporate entities while stripping the people of these twelve nations of self-determination and democratic process. According to the group:Although it is called a "free trade" agreement, the TPP is not mainly about trade. Of TPP's 29 draft chapters, only five deal with traditional trade issues. One chapter would provide incentives to offshore jobs to low-wage countries.

Steve Israel is Stepping Down from the DCCC. Who Will Replace Him? Who Should?

11/10/2014
Daily Kos: Steve Israel is Stepping Down from the DCCC. Who Will Replace Him? Who Should? - Other names than Himes, Polis, and Edwards have been floated, but I'm solidly in support of Donna Edwards as chair of the DCCC. Edwards is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and actually votes like one.Her career background contrasts sharply with that of Himes and Polis. She was the first executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence and later worked for Public Citizen and the Center for a New Democracy. In 2006, Edwards primaried a seven-term Conservadem who had voted for the Iraq War and the repeal of the estate tax.

Obama Can Reform Dark Money With a Stroke of a Pen

11/10/2014
The Nation: Obama Can Reform Dark Money With a Stroke of a Pen by Lee FangWhen the idea was originally floated in 2011, congressional Republicans temporarily blocked any further consideration of the executive order with riders attached to the appropriations bills. - “These riders have since expired,” says Public Citizen’s Craig Holman, “and with the pending Republican majority in both chambers of Congress, a significant amount of the president’s agenda will have to be achieved through executive action. Opening up the books on dark money is one such action.”Holman, Public Citizen’s lobbying expert, e-mailed Republic Report to say that his organization “is renewing its call to the Obama administration to issue an executive order requiring disclosure of political spending by government contractors.”

State puts no limits on sale of powerful explosive

11/10/2014
WFAA8: State puts no limits on sale of powerful explosive by Brett ShippTom Smith of Public Citizen of Texas calls Abbott's ruling, not only - "silly," but he told News 8 "it violates the federal law guaranteeing the public's right to know where hazardous chemicals are stored."Smith also said it makes no sense to let an explosive product be totally unregulated."Tannerite is something you can buy at any sporting goods store, or dozens of other places, and buy off the counter, and go up and blow up whatever you want," Smith said. "You can blow up a car, a barn, whatever — as long as you don't hurt anybody, nobody's going to really care."

Obama makes push for TPP deal completion

11/10/2014
The Hill: Obama makes push for TPP deal completion by Vicki Needham - Lori Wallach, head of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, said the positive outlook was "déjà vu with the same sort of vague cheerleading statement about progress and a path to an imminent deal that we have seen after every TPP leaders’ summit since 2011.""Perhaps before wasting even more taxpayers’ money with further TPP meetings, trade officials should take stock of why TPP is deadlocked and opposition to the sort of deal that has been written to date is growing," she said.

In Beijing, Obama stresses America’s ‘shared future’ with Asia

11/10/2014
Washington Post: In Beijing, Obama stresses America’s ‘shared future’ with Asia by David Nakamura - “Opposition to the sort of deal that has been written to date is growing,” said Lori Wallach of Public Citizen, which opposes the deal.

Consumer Groups: Smart Meters Not a Smart Move for Indiana Ratepayers

11/10/2014
Public News Service: Consumer Groups: Smart Meters Not a Smart Move for Indiana Ratepayers by Mary Kuhlman - Tyson Slocom, director of Public Citizen's Energy Program, says the costs of the devices outweigh any consumer benefits."This is kind of like forcing everyone to buy an iPhone even if all you're going to do is make local phone calls with it," says Slocom. "It's very expensive equipment that's not going to be used efficiently by all households."

As TPP Trade Talks Miss Third Deadline, Opponents Claim Momentum

11/10/2014
Inter Press Service: As TPP Trade Talks Miss Third Deadline, Opponents Claim Momentum by Carey L. Biron - Indeed, of the TPP’s 29 proposed chapters, just five deal directly with trade, according to Public Citizen, a consumer interest group here.“[T]he non-trade provisions would promote lower wages, higher medicine prices, more unsafe imported food, and new rights for foreign investors to demand payments from national treasuries over domestic laws they believe undermine the new TPP privileges they would gain,” Lori Wallach, the head of the group’s Global Trade Watch programme, said Monday.“Despite the intense secrecy of the negotiations … many TPP nations have woken up to the fact that the deal

How Will the GOP-Controlled Senate Affect Trade Deals?

11/9/2014
The Real News: How Will the GOP-Controlled Senate Affect Trade Deals? by Thomas Hedges - Last week, we looked at how a Republican-controlled Senate might thwart U.S. negotiations with Iran. Now we turn to trade policy. There are two deals in the pipeline, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, also known as TTIP. Many recent reports suggest a GOP-controlled Senate is conducive to Obama's goal of wrapping up the delayed TPP and TTIP talks, but according to Public Citizen's director of Global Trade Watch, Lori Wallach, the opposite is true.

Why I'm Not Rooting for Mary Landrieu to Win on December 6th

11/9/2014
Daily Kos: Why I'm Not Rooting for Mary Landrieu to Win on December 6th - If (or should I say when?) Democrats take back the Senate, I want them to have the ability to set out a bold and comprehensive clean energy agenda. They could take up Barbara Boxer and Bernie Sanders's Sustainable Energy Act, which has the endorsement of 350.org, the Center for American Progress, Public Citizen, and the Sierra Club.

Global trade opponents muscle up

11/9/2014
The Hill: Global trade opponents muscle up by Vicki Needham - On Thursday, a broad coalition of those groups delivered a petition with more than 500,000 signatures to key congressional leaders. The petition expressed opposition to fast-track authority, Public Citizen said.

Hightower: Election 2014: Corporations now free to buy unlimited votes

11/8/2014
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Hightower: Election 2014: Corporations now free to buy unlimited votes by Jim HightowerThe message of this election is money matters - — it matters more than what We The People want lawmakers to do, or not do. At the very least, shouldn’t we be told the truth about who’s buying what with their massive, self-serving political spending? How ironic that cynical lawmakers demand us commoners show our picture on an official “voter ID” card in order to be allowed to cast a ballot, yet they allow enormously rich corporations to buy our elections (and, therefore, our public policies) without showing a “Donor ID” card.

Christie: Let donors give unlimited cash to candidates if they disclose within a day

11/7/2014
NJ.com Christie: Christie: Let donors give unlimited cash to candidates if they disclose within a day - by Claude Brodesser-AknerThe central idea put forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 2010 ruling on Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission was that external spending groups would be independent of the candidates they hoped to assist and wouldn’t create a conflict of interest.But so-called independent expenditures are often pools of anonymous funding or “dark money.” According to the non-partisan good government group Public Citizen, 57 such Super PACs and 501© non-profit groups have devoted all their spending to assisting just one candidate this election cycle.

FTC Asks Court To Let Cybersecurity Case Against Wyndham Proceed

11/7/2014
Media Post: FTC Asks Court To Let Cybersecurity Case Against Wyndham Proceed by Wendy Davis Since 2011, the FTC has brought dozens of enforcement actions against companies that allegedly violated consumers' privacy or mishandled their data. Unlike Wyndham, most of the companies settled with the FTC.The legal battle, which started whe - a host of outside groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which sided with Wyndham) and Public Citizen, which backed the FTC.

Will GOP Senate Hand Over Fast Track Authority on Trade? Not So Fast.

11/6/2014
Common Dreams: Will GOP Senate Hand Over Fast Track Authority on Trade? Not So Fast. by Deirdre Fulton - Of course, the TPP "is really a delivery mechanism for a lot of the things McConnell and the Republicans like," Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, said Thursday on Democracy Now! That means there's a "dangerous window where, for sure, McConnell and Boehner and Obama are going to want to play footsie on fast track."

GOP's Senate takeover could facilitate tax reform, trade accords

11/5/2014
Los Angeles Times: GOP's Senate takeover could facilitate tax reform, trade accords by Jim Puzzanghera, Don Lee - Lori Wallach, trade director at Public Citizen, said Tuesday's election results could make a compromise with Japan more difficult. "The demand for Japan to either zero out all of its ag tariffs or get out of the talks comes from the Republicans," she said.

Auto dealers attack Tesla

11/3/2014
Washington Examiner: Auto dealers attack Tesla by Zack Colman - And Tesla customers are hardly the type who need a dealership watching out for their financial interests, given the cars' hefty sticker price, said Tyson Slocum, energy director with consumer watchdog group Public Citizen. The Model S, Tesla's sedan, costs $71,000, though customers can get a federal tax credit to bring the price down to $63,570."The question is whether dealerships are inherently consumer protection statutes," Slocum said. "Well, no. Not when they're being used to stifle competition and prevent consumer choice."

Minkoff-Zern and Ballin: Outside groups wield too much power over elections

11/3/2014
Roanoke Times: Minkoff-Zern and Ballin: Outside groups wield too much power over elections by Jonah Minkoff-Zern and Kirk Ballin - Op-ed by Jonah Minkoff Zern, co-director of Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign

Chris Christie Raised Cash From New Jersey Contractors For Republican Governors Association

11/3/2014
International Business Times: Chris Christie Raised Cash From New Jersey Contractors For Republican Governors Association by David Sirota - "This is the perfect storm undercutting the New Jersey pay-to-play rule," said Craig Holman, an official at the campaign finance watchdog group Public Citizen, which lobbied for the original pay-to-play laws. "Christie is running the RGA, so government contractors in New Jersey can throw vast amounts of money at the feet of the governor, whose administration is responsible for awarding contracts and subsidies. It completely guts pay-to-play laws."

Role of Donations, Lobbying for Tax Cuts In Focus as Congress Looks to Renew Breaks

11/3/2014
Bloomberg BNA: Role of Donations, Lobbying for Tax Cuts In Focus as Congress Looks to Renew Breaks by Jonathan Nicholson and Aaron Lorenzo - Craig Holman, who lobbies on ethics, lobbying and campaign finance rules for Public Citizen, said lobbyists give to try to influence lawmakers. “That's why they're doing this. They're not making campaign contributions based on ideology or party. They're making contributions to incumbents who have the authority to affect their business,” he said.

Even With Big Money at Stake on Extenders, Lobbyists, Companies Still Prefer Tax Revamp

11/3/2014
Bloomberg BNA: Even With Big Money at Stake on Extenders, Lobbyists, Companies Still Prefer Tax Revamp by Jonathan Nicholson and Aaron Lorenzo - “When you're talking about fundamental tax reform, even though many corporations would like to see a lower tax rate, obviously, at the same time they really want to protect their loopholes that they have written into the current tax law, and that's where much of the money is going,” said Craig Holman, Public Citizen's government affairs lobbyist on ethics, lobbying and campaign finance rules.

Republican gains could aid Obama's Asia trade pact

11/2/2014
Associated Press: Republican gains could aid Obama's Asia trade pact by Matthew Pennington - But Lori Wallach of the advocacy group Public Citizen said U.S. negotiators have not broached in the TPP negotiations the issue of currency manipulation, despite demands from many U.S. lawmakers that it be included."The U.S. Congress will not provide the Obama administration with trade authority in no small part because it has ignored Congress' demands for the deal," Wallach said.

Why Iran Ties, Hypocrisy And Conflicts of Interest Are OK In Congress

11/1/2014
Toxic Stock Syndrome: Why Iran Ties, Hypocrisy And Conflicts of Interest Are OK In Congress by Michael McAuliff - Congress may have tightened its standards in 2012, when it passed the Stock Act, barring lawmakers from insider trading. But Craig Holman, of Public Citizen, said Congress would be unlikely to ever willingly curb itself."One thing that was very sadly missing in the Stock Act was a conflict-of-interest code," Holman said, noting that while Congress doesn't want to bar conflicts for itself, its members make sure other public servants avoid them.