December 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.

Money and Politics: The Most Undercovered Stories of 2014

12/31/2014
Bill Moyers: Money and Politics: The Most Undercovered Stories of 2014 - Why Isn’t Obama Using His Executive Power to Clean Up a Corrupt System? Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division: While there is always a good amount of news coverage on the issue of excessive money in politics during any year that holds an election, the piece of the story that has gotten less than the appropriate attention is that the Obama administration could act to remedy parts of this problem. Since we can’t count on a deadlocked Congress to take this issue up, the need for the administration to do something is clear.

Payday lenders lash back at accusations

12/31/2014
The Hill: Payday lenders lash back at accusations by Kevin Cirilli - Nearly 200 interest groups — including progressive groups like Americans for Financial Reform, Public Citizen and the Consumers Union — sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday supporting an expansion of the law. "The proposed rule strikes an appropriate balance between access to credit and restricting access to high cost abusive credit," the groups wrote.


Marty Meehan’s D.C. links help fuel UMass Lowell’s rise

12/30/2014
Boston Globe: Marty Meehan’s D.C. links help fuel UMass Lowell’s rise by Bryan Bender - “Meehan was a reformer when he was in Congress and now he is using every tool available,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of the Congress Watch Division at Public Citizen, a nonprofit advocacy group that seeks to increase the influence of average citizens over corporations. “He has a campaign chest, his former chief of staff. What he is doing is not unusual but it is a case study for why there needs to be more disclosure.”

Texas Now Hands-Down Leader in Wind Power

12/28/2014
The Texas Tribune: Texas Now Hands-Down Leader in Wind Power by Jim Malewitzt - “Perry is bipolar on wind. He plugged into when he saw he could get a political benefit. And now that the winds have changed in the Republican Party, he’s unplugged himself from one of his greatest environmental victories,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of the Texas office of Public Citizen.

Cleaner Air, but Who Gets Credit?

12/28/2014
The Texas Tribune: Cleaner Air, but Who Gets Credit? by Neena Satija - But Tom “Smitty” Smith, an environmental advocate and director of the advocacy group Public Citizen, said much of the credit for those initiatives goes to former Gov. George W. Bush. Smith said it was Bush who signed into law some of the state’s first renewable energy goals, along with cracking down on pollution from old power plants. “He has the worst environmental record that I’ve seen in the 30 years that I’ve been working on this issue,” Smith said, arguing that federal environmental rules — which Perry opposed — are largely responsible for cleaning up Texas’ air.

Rare in the energy sector, Midwest refineries are helped, not hurt, by cheaper oil

12/27/2014
Kansas City Star: Rare in the energy sector, Midwest refineries are helped, not hurt, by cheaper oil by Steve Everly - But Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at Public Citizen, said that “the way to (raise diesel prices) is to expand the market internationally.” And there was no question, he said, that increased diesel exports “are having a significant impact.”

Groups urge administration to steer clear of gas exports bill

12/22/2014
The Hill: Groups urge administration to steer clear of gas exports bill by Laura Barron-Lopez - Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Public Citizen and more weren’t pleased. “Even with modifications, this bill — and the other similar bills that various congressmen have put forward — would undermine the Department of Energy’s ability to fully assess the environmental and public health impacts of LNG,” the letter states. “Endorsement of such a bill would directly contradict President Obama’s pledge to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

Languid, Lax Congressional Ethics Disciplinary System May Pick Up Pace in 2015

12/22/2014
Roll Call: Languid, Lax Congressional Ethics Disciplinary System May Pick Up Pace in 2015 by David Hawkings - “Unless United States senators exhibit a degree of integrity unlike that of their House counterparts, there is clearly an institutional deficit in monitoring unsavory activity in the Senate,” Public Citizen said in an October report written in collaboration with several other watchdog groups.

Gas flares in Eagle Ford Shale continue upward

12/21/2014
Associated Press: Gas flares in Eagle Ford Shale continue upward - "Texas regulators have a long history of promising reductions that don't materialize because the growth in the number of rigs is outstripping the number of pipelines being built," said Tom Smith, state director of the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen.

The Slippery Slope: A Bittersweet Diabetes Economy

12/21/2014
MedPage Today: The Slippery Slope: A Bittersweet Diabetes Economy by John Fauber, Elbert Chu, and Coulter Jones - In the case of liraglutide, though, the independent patient advocacy group Public Citizen petitioned the FDA in 2012 to remove the drug from the market. "This is not cancer where there are no other choices for treatment option," said Michael Carome, MD,, director of the group's health research group. "There's no evidence of benefit and the FDA too often relies on surrogate markers and ignores significant risks."

Watchdogs fret loss of key Democrats

12/21/2014
The Hill: Watchdogs fret loss of key Democrats by Lydia Wheeler - “It’s going to take a group effort, a team effort, to replace these leading lights,” said Amit Narang, regulatory policy advocate for Public Citizen. “And it’s really a wonderful legacy, a tough one, but a necessary one for the champs that are left to take up.”

Senate Democrats Urge SEC to Finalize CEO Pay Ratio Rule in First Quarter of 2015

12/19/2014
Bloomberg BNA: Senate Democrats Urge SEC to Finalize CEO Pay Ratio Rule in First Quarter of 2015 by Rob Tricchinelli - “The fact that the simplest of all the 400 Dodd-Frank rules remains delayed typifies the political indecision of the SEC chair,” Bartlett Naylor, a financial policy advocate at Public Citizen, told Bloomberg BNA.

Buyer beware: Customer shaming has few boundaries

12/18/2014
Reuters: Buyer beware: Customer shaming has few boundaries by Mitch Lipka - Paul Alan Levy, an internet free speech expert with the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, says by now it should be clear that anything you say in public or write in an email can be shared. Just ask anyone whose information was shared as part of the Sony incident. While hacking is clearly illegal, it is legal for a business to do what the restaurant did with Edelman's emails, unless there was a specific note that comments will be kept private. And, Levy notes, putting the word "confidential" on an email is meaningless.

FDA Launches Compounding Advisory Committee

12/18/2014
MedPage Today: FDA Launches Compounding Advisory Committee by Joyce Frieden - Some members of the Pharmacy Compounding Advisory Committee include: Michael Carome, MD, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group

D.C. coalition emerges to oppose Exelon-Pepco merger

12/18/2014
Washington Post: D.C. coalition emerges to oppose Exelon-Pepco merger by Mike DeBonis - Before Wednesday’s hearing, a coalition calling itself “Power D.C.” unveiled a campaign seeking to derail the merger, which the group says will result in higher bills and lower reliability for Pepco customers. The coalition includes 20 groups, including the Sierra Club, the D.C. Environmental Network, Public Citizen, D.C. Working Families and the Statehood Green Party.

Secret WTO Trade Deal Threatens Internet Freedom, New Leak Reveals

12/17/2014
Common Dreams: Secret WTO Trade Deal Threatens Internet Freedom, New Leak Reveals by Sarah Lazare - "What these closed-door negotiations do is cement in place rules for global governance—rules that affect a whole host of issues that aren't about trade at all, such as privacy, financial stability and much more," Melinda St. Louis, International Campaigns Director for Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, told Common Dreams.

Loan Collector’s Corinthian Deal Hurts Students, Critics Say

12/17/2014
Bloomberg: Loan Collector’s Corinthian Deal Hurts Students, Critics Say by John Lauerman - The letter was signed by groups including the NAACP, the Institute for College Access & Success, Public Citizen, National Education Association and Veterans Student Loan Relief Fund.

On Guard: Corporate angels? Donors have political motivation

12/16/2014
San Francisco Examiner: On Guard: Corporate angels? Donors have political motivation by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez - In order to minimize those tax responsibilities, you need allies in government. A report from Public Citizen, a nonprofit, found Google spent more than $13 million lobbying federal politicians, utilizing more than 100 lobbyists. As a result, Google evaded $5 billion in global taxes last year, Reuters recently reported.

New Federal Budget Bill Lets Political Parties Cash In

12/16/2014
The National Memo: New Federal Budget Bill Lets Political Parties Cash In by Lindsay Wise - The rider blows up one of the few remaining campaign contribution limits, said Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, a liberal advocacy group and research center in Washington. “The sums of money involved have nothing to do with empowering regular Americans in any way,” Weissman said. “This is only about the parties’ ability to solicit donations from the super-rich.”

Teamsters still pressing for rule to make companies disclose gap between CEO and worker pay

12/16/2014
Teamsters Nation Blog: Teamsters still pressing for rule to make companies disclose gap between CEO and worker pay - Sen. Robert Mendendez, a New Jersey Democrat, is pressuring the SEC to obey the law Congress passed four years ago. He's had help from Public Citizen and the Teamsters, who helped him gather signatures for a letter to the SEC.

Wall Street, DC

12/16/2014
The Hill: Wall Street, DC by Lisa Gilbert and Bart Naylor -

RIP: Obama a Campaign-Finance Reformer

12/15/2014
Bloomberg: RIP: Obama a Campaign-Finance Reformer by Annie Linskey - “Immediately after a signing, a celebration bosses afterwards called for aloft grant boundary for special seductiveness income to financial their conventions to make adult for a detriment of open funds,” pronounced Craig Holman, a lobbyist with Public Citizen. “Hence, a debate financial riders in Cromnibus.”

Ex-California lawmakers enjoy second wind as D.C. lobbyists

12/13/2014
The Sacramento Bee: Ex-California lawmakers enjoy second wind as D.C. lobbyists by Curtis Tate - “They are essentially selling their rolodexes,” said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for Public Citizen, a left-leaning government watchdog group. “It is apparently very profitable.”

The man behind the political cash grab

12/12/2014
Politico: The man behind the political cash grab - by Kenneth P. Vogel - Regardless of the precise language, the legal fund is going to be a bonanza for the party’s election lawyers, predicted Craig Holman, a lobbyist for Public Citizen, which advocates stricter campaign finance rules and opposed the rider. “That particular account really drives home the point of how self-serving this is, because it is billed as financing recounts, but then it adds other legal expenses, which means it can be used for anything,” he asserted.

The new federal budget is chock-full of goodies for pollutocrats

12/12/2014
Grist: The new federal budget is chock-full of goodies for pollutocrats by Ben Adler - The weakening of campaign-finance rules is dangerous for the environment as well as American democracy. “Who are the people within our society that can give these large contributions?” asks Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s energy program. “What you’ve seen is, it’s CEOs of energy companies as well as CEOs of other companies that can give these contributions. You’re going to have the ability of the Kochs or [Robert] Murray from Murray Energy or others to unilaterally influence the financing of the convention and play a big role in it as a result.”

Top 10 lobbying victories of the year

12/12/2014
The Hill: Top 10 lobbying victories of the year by Megan R. Wilson - Although Congress directed the Department of Transportation to improve rear visibility in cars by 2011, it took years of relentless pressure from public safety and consumer groups, as well as a lawsuit filed by Public Citizen, to move the agency to action.

Campaign Finance Reform’s Death Knell Hidden in Spending Bill

12/11/2014
ABC: Campaign Finance Reform’s Death Knell Hidden in Spending Bill - “Increasing these limits would only enable more dollars to pour into a system already flooded with cash and would encourage higher independent expenditures in the money arms race to counter them,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of the advocacy group, Public Citizen. “This embarrassing deal sacrifices the interests of everyday Americans who want clean elections while elevating the concerns of politicians who want to raise more money.”

With Trade Deal, Will Obama Be Wall Street's Errand Boy?

12/11/2014
Huffington Post: With Trade Deal, Will Obama Be Wall Street's Errand Boy? by Lauren Windsor - I spoke with Ben Beachy, Research Director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, and Erich Pica, Executive Director of Friends of the Earth, about the dangers of the trade deal many are calling 'NAFTA on Steroids.'

Spending Bill Provision Would Provide Big Boost To Party Fundraising

12/10/2014
NPR: Spending Bill Provision Would Provide Big Boost To Party Fundraising by Peter Overby - LISA GILBERT: It, you know, once again empowers the richest and will drown out every-day Americans who want to participate.

A hidden measure that could devastate campaign finance laws

12/10/2014
MSNBC: A hidden measure that could devastate campaign finance laws by Alex Seitz-Wald - “The deal that was struck as a part of the omnibus appropriations bill filed yesterday is a clear-cut step in the wrong direction for our democracy. Using the funding bill to increase party limits is a move back toward the days of corrupting soft-money contributions,” said Lisa Gilbert of the lefty Public Citizen group. “This embarrassing deal sacrifices the interests of everyday Americans who want clean elections while elevating the concerns of politicians who want to raise more money.”

Budget rider would expand party cash

12/10/2014
Politico: Budget rider would expand party cash by Kenneth P. Vogel - Lisa Gilbert, director of the congressional arm of the advocacy group Public Citizen, called the rider “embarrassing” and asserted that empowering the parties wouldn’t address concerns about the growing role of money in politics. “The answer to out-of-control and unlimited outside spending by the super-rich and giant corporations isn’t to enable out-of-control and virtually unlimited contributions to parties – and, inevitably, candidates – but to get outside spending under control,” she said.

'The Most Corrupting Campaign-Finance Provisions Ever Enacted'

12/10/2014
The Atlantic: 'The Most Corrupting Campaign-Finance Provisions Ever Enacted' by Russell Berman - The director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch division, Lisa Gilbert, said that the extent of the change "far exceeds the fears that we had."

Spending bill would open campaign money spigot

12/10/2014
USA Today: Spending bill would open campaign money spigot by Fredreka Schouten - The result: An individual could give nearly $1.6 million to a national party and its various branches during a two-year election cycle, said Lisa Gilbert of the left-leaning watchdog group Public Citizen. A wealthy couple could donate $3.1 million in a two-year period, she said. Gilbert called the measure a "terrible precedent" that will only speed up the arms race for campaign money.

Lawmakers chip away at campaign finance rules in spending bill

12/10/2014
CNN: Lawmakers chip away at campaign finance rules in spending bill by Athena Jones - Lisa Gilbert, Director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch Division, agreed that the administration should make campaign finance reform a veto issue to send a message to the new Congress. "This is a pretty scary foreshadowing of what's going to be on [Sen. Mitch] McConnell's list of to dos in the next Congress and certainly dismantling the campaign finance system is high on his priority list," Gilbert said. McConnell filed a friend of the court brief in the McCutcheon case that the argued overall limit placed individual contributions "offends the First Amendment."

Campaign Finance Provisions Causing ‘Cromnibus’ Heartburn

12/10/2014
Roll Call: Campaign Finance Provisions Causing ‘Cromnibus’ Heartburn by Hannah Hess - “There is absolutely no justification for allowing these massive individual contributions that can only be given by millionaires and billionaires and that are bound to result in corruption and national scandals,” stated a letter from Common Cause, Public Citizen and a handful of other organizations worried about the influence of money on politics.

Government watchdogs, rejoice. FOIA bill is on track for passage

12/10/2014
The Washington Post: Government watchdogs, rejoice. FOIA bill is on track for passage by Josh Hicks - More than 70 transparency groups have backed the bill, including Public Citizen, which applauded its passage. “The measure makes important improvements that will allow groups like ours — fighting for the common good — to gain the information needed to better hold our nation’s leaders accountable and ensure the rights of citizens are upheld,” the group said in a statement.

Activists In Washington Protest Against TPP

12/9/2014
National News Agency of Malaysia: Activists In Washington Protest Against TPP - "US public opposition is focused on TPP non-trade terms being pushed by US officials on behalf of corporate interests that would raise medicine prices, undermine internet freedom and give foreign firms operating here special privileges relative to their domestic competitors," said director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, Lori Wallach.

A well-earned name: Nothing is simple in world of ‘dark money' politics

12/9/2014
Associated Press: A well-earned name: Nothing is simple in world of ‘dark money' politics - "It's hard for nonprofits who are applying (for nonprofit status), it's hard for lawyers who are advising nonprofits," said Lisa Gilbert, who runs Congress Watch for the consumer-rights advocacy nonprofit Public Citizen. "Why don't we instead put into place something that's firmer, that's a bright-line standard?" to define nonprofit political activity, Gilbert asked.

Questions over 'too big to jail' banks in Lynch nomination

12/9/2014
The Washington Examiner: Questions over 'too big to jail' banks in Lynch nomination by Joseph Lawler - Questions about Lynch's track record on financial crimes should be “central” to her upcoming confirmation hearings, said Public Citizen’s financial policy advocate Bartlett Naylor. Naylor called Holder’s record on banks “one of the most distressing parts of his record.”

With Negotiators in DC, Opponents Vow to 'Mobilize Like Never Before' to Kill Corporate-Friendly Trade Deals

12/8/2014
Common Dreams: With Negotiators in DC, Opponents Vow to 'Mobilize Like Never Before' to Kill Corporate-Friendly Trade Deals by Nadia Prupis - "U.S. public opposition is focused on TPP non-trade terms being pushed by U.S. officials on behalf of corporate interests that would raise medicine prices, undermine Internet freedom and provide foreign firms operating here special privileges relative to their domestic competitors," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

At America’s court of last resort, a handful of lawyers now dominates the docket

12/8/2014
Reuters: At America’s court of last resort, a handful of lawyers now dominates the docket - docket by Joan Biskupic, Janet Roberts and John Shiffman - “You don’t want to go up and make matters worse,” said Scott Nelson, a lawyer at Public Citizen and one of the most successful attorneys at getting cases before the justices.

HHS Marginalizes Its Own Ethics Body for Criticizing Controversial Study on Premature Infants

12/8/2014
The Christian Post: HHS Marginalizes Its Own Ethics Body for Criticizing Controversial Study on Premature Infants by Anugrah Kumar - The watchdog points out that there is a "direct conflict of interest" there. "This shift of authority from the regulator to the regulated is unacceptable," says Public Citizen's Dr. Michael Carome.

Woman-Made: How Rethinking Pregnancy and Childbirth Could Undermine Sexism and Honor Women's Reproductive Rights

12/7/2014
Truthout: Woman-Made: How Rethinking Pregnancy and Childbirth Could Undermine Sexism and Honor Women's Reproductive Rights by Jeffrey Nall - In nearly 50-percent of hospitals women are denied the choice of having a vaginal birth after cesarean-section (VBAC), either due to hospital policy or obstetrician refusal. Despite these serious consequences, a report by Public Citizen indicates that 1/3 of cesarean sections are unnecessary.

Obama's Immigration Plan Is a Game Changer for Undocumented Construction Workers

12/7/2014
New Republic: Obama's Immigration Plan Is a Game Changer for Undocumented Construction Workers by Konrad Putzier - A report by the advocacy group Public Citizen found that 72 percent of construction-site deaths in New York City in 2011 and 2012 occurred on sites where workers had not participated in state-approved safety training.

Big Pharma’s guinea pigs: 8 drugs used by millions before being pulled for dangerous side-effects

12/6/2014
Raw Story: Big Pharma’s guinea pigs: 8 drugs used by millions before being pulled for dangerous side-effects by Martha Rosenberg, AlterNet - In 1978, Public Citizen called for their ban or severe restriction due to heart toxicity and deaths.

Costly Hepatitis ‘C’ Drug Makers Face New Fire

12/4/2014
Fiscal Times: Costly Hepatitis ‘C’ Drug Makers Face New Fire by Eric Pianin - Neither private nor public payers – nor the health care system – can afford to provide an $84,000-per-patient treatment to every person with HCV, Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, said yesterday. So public and private payers are moving towards rationing of the drugs, he said – in effect making life-and-death decisions about who will receive treatment and who won’t.

AMERICAN FORUM: Voters call for clarity; IRS should listen

12/4/2014
The Journal, Friendswood: AMERICAN FORUM: Voters call for clarity; IRS should listen by Bill Schambra and Lisa Gilbert In the face of this hyper-partisanship, the conservative Hudson Institute - ’s Bradley Center for Philanthropy & Civic Renewal and progressive Public Citizen are joining to discuss new ways to reform the IRS’ treatment of nonprofit political activity and to hear from a vital voice that has so far been silent – that of the voter.A new bipartisan poll, released at an event co-hosted by the Hudson Institute and Public Citizen, shows that more than 8 out of 10 voters think it is important to have clear rules concerning political activities of nonprofit organizations.

Obama Admin Faces Fallout From Shocking Study Putting Lives of Premature Babies at Risk

12/4/2014
The Daily Signal: Obama Admin Faces Fallout From Shocking Study Putting Lives of Premature Babies at Risk by Sharyn Atkisson - Public Citizen’s Dr. Michael Carome calls that an “obvious, direct conflict of interest.” In a Nov. 20 letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, he asks HHS to reverse the move. “This shift of authority from the regulator to the regulated is unacceptable,” writes Carome, who once served as an ethics expert in OHRP.

Obama Ready to Defy Base in Order to Advance Trans-Pacific Partnership

12/4/2014
Common Dreams: Obama Ready to Defy Base in Order to Advance Trans-Pacific Partnership by Deirdre Fulton In response to Obama's statements to the executives, Ben Beachy posted on Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch Eyes on Trade blog - :"Obama knew his audience—corporate representatives eager to expand the status quo trade model by Fast Tracking through Congress the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are probably keen to deny that this model has been exacerbating inequality. But such denial defies a consensus position among economists that recent trade flows have indeed contributed to today's yawning gap between rich and poor— the only debate is how big of a role status quo trade has played. It also defies U.S. public opinion—in a recent Pew poll, a mere 17 percent of the U.S.

What State Wants to Bail Out Big Coal?

12/4/2014
Earth Techling: What State Wants to Bail Out Big Coal? - “These monopoly utilities are trying to ditch free market principles and make Ohio electricity customers pay for outdated, polluting, dead-end coal plants,” said Allison Fisher of consumer organization Public Citizen. “Coal is becoming less and less competitive, and it’s unfair to force Ohioans to pay for something they don’t want.”

Gov. Jay Inslee aims for Washington to comply on EPA carbon rules

12/3/2014
Examiner.com: Gov. Jay Inslee aims for Washington to comply on EPA carbon rules by Jean WilliamsAgainst the public majority, Columbus-based American Electric Power, Cincinnati-based Duke Energy and Akron-based FirstEnergy have reportedly asked the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to let them raise rates to cover the cost of keeping t - “These monopoly utilities are trying to ditch free market principles and make Ohio electricity customers pay for outdated, polluting, dead-end coal plants,” said Allison Fisher of consumer organization Public Citizen. “Coal is becoming less and less competitive, and it’s unfair to force Ohioans to pay for something they don’t want.”

Obama plan game changer for construction workers

12/3/2014
Real Estate Weekly: Obama plan game changer for construction workers by Konrad PutzierAccording to activists, - a flourishing black market for fake OSHA-10 training certificates has sprung up. A report by the advocacy group Public Citizen found that 72 percent of construction-site deaths in New York City in 2011 and 2012 occurred on sites where workers had not participated in state-approved safety training.

Greens Urge EPA to Boost Renewable Energy in Clean Power Plan

12/3/2014
Breaking Energy: Greens Urge EPA to Boost Renewable Energy in Clean Power Plan by Pete DankoThe EPA said on Monday that it had received more than 1.6 million comments on the plan. Most weren - ’t accompanied by a press release, but such was the case for the Sierra Club (“Sierra Club Comments Support Clean Power Plan, Urge Stronger Action 0n Carbon Pollution”), Natural Resources Defense Council (“NRDC Analysis Shows EPA Can Achieve Deeper Power Plant Carbon Pollution Cuts by Adopting More Clean Energy”) and Public Citizen (“EPA Greenhouse Gas Rule Should Be Stronger, More Consumer-Friendly”).

High costs threaten veterans' access to hepatitis C drug Sovaldi

12/3/2014
Stars and Stripes: High costs threaten veterans' access to hepatitis C drug Sovaldi - But new competitor drugs are not always cheaper once they hit the market and the VA will likely be forced to ration what it can afford, said Robert Weissman, the president of the Washington-based consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen.“We are still going to be stuck with a super-high price because the starting price was so high,” Weissman told the Senate.The high costs of Sovaldi and other new drugs soon to be released will likely become unsustainable for the VA and other government health care programs, said John Rother, president and chief executive officer of the National Coalitio

Coalition Urges Senators to Reject Changes to COOL

12/2/2014
Food Poisoning Bulletin: Coalition Urges Senators to Reject Changes to COOL by Linda LarsenThe U.S. Senate rejected efforts to weaken COOL in the 2014 Farm Bill and the FY 2015 Agricultural Appropriations measure. The coalition says that Congress should not short circuit the WTO process or give up under threats of tariff retaliation - & Water Watch, Farm Aid, Center for Food Safety, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, Public Citizen, and Friends of the Earth U.S.

McConnell will try to roll back campaign finance laws in omnibus spending bill

12/2/2014
Daily Kos: McConnell will try to roll back campaign finance laws in omnibus spending bill by Joan McCarter - Clean campaign organizations—Democracy 21, Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause and Public Citizen—sent a letter to senators Monday, alerting them to McConnell's plans for the spending bill and urging them to oppose it.

Reverse the outrageous gag order in Don Blankenship criminal case

12/2/2014
Reuters: Reverse the outrageous gag order in Don Blankenship criminal case by Alison FrankelThe news companies, represented by DiTrapano Barrett DiPiero McGinley - & Simmons, made the arguments you would expect: Criminal proceedings are presumptively open to the public; gag-and-seal orders are supposed to be tailored narrowly and issued only when there’s a real and immediate threat to fairness, not at the beginning of a case, without notice to anyone; Judge Berger’s order impinges on the First Amendment rights of journalists to report the news and of victims to speak to the media; and pretrial publicity in a newsworthy case has never been deemed a good enough reason to black out coverage.There is copious precedent in the 4th U.S.

Fresh Round of Controversies for IRS

12/2/2014
Roll Call: Fresh Round of Controversies for IRS by Eliza Newlin CarneyAgency officials have never defined what they mean by - “primarily,” however, which helps explain why the IRS got in such trouble regulating groups to begin with. The Treasury inspector general who first flagged the improper targeting ordered the agency to clear up its muddled rules, and the IRS made a first stab at this last year. But the IRS withdrew its first draft rules amid a firestorm of criticism from advocacy groups on both the left and right, which assailed them as sloppy and over-broad.Now the agency is back to the drawing board, and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has said new draft regulations will be released early next year.

One last try: Senate Dems push campaign finance reform

12/2/2014
POLITICO: One last try: Senate Dems push campaign finance reform by Burgess EverettThough the GOP has not ultimately decided that that provision will be their ask, some campaign finance reformers have already begun pushing back against any such alteration of campaign finance rules. - “Our groups strongly oppose an effort being made by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to sneak a revision in the campaign finance laws into an omnibus appropriations bill that would for all practical purposes eliminate the limitations on coordinated expenditures by political parties,” the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, Democracy 21 and Public Citizen said in a statement.

‘Tis The Season To Be Greedy: America’s Largest Companies Pay CEOs More Than They Pay In Taxes

12/1/2014
MintPress News: ‘Tis The Season To Be Greedy: America’s Largest Companies Pay CEOs More Than They Pay In Taxes by Carey L. BironIn 1993, executive salaries were around 195 times those of average workers, according to the AFL-CIO, one of the country - ’s largest trade union federations. Two decades later, executives’ salaries were over 330 times larger. “It was misaligned pay that caused bankers to blow up Wall Street in the first place,” Bartlett Collins Naylor, a financial policy advocate with Public Citizen, the public interest group, told MintPress. “But because they’re overpaid, CEOs can afford to attack anybody that makes even a small effort to reform how much money is wasted on them.”

Couple Fined by Hotel for Negative Online Review

12/1/2014
MoneyTalks News: Couple Fined by Hotel for Negative Online Review by Krystal SteinmetzThis isn - ’t the first time a negative online critique has led to consumers being charged. According to The Indianapolis Star, businesses retaliating against bad reviews seems to be a growing trend.“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."

Mitch McConnell Rider Could Roll Back Campaign Finance Laws

12/1/2014
Huffington Post: Mitch McConnell Rider Could Roll Back Campaign Finance Laws by Paul BlumenthalGroups in support of the limits, including Democracy 21, Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause and Public Citizen, sent - a letter to Senate offices on Monday, opposing the inclusion of McConnell's rider in the omnibus.“Our groups strongly oppose an effort being made by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to sneak a revision in the campaign finance laws into an omnibus appropriations bill that would for all practical purposes eliminate the limitations on coordinated expenditures by political parties,” the letter said. “Senator McConnell ... is now trying to rewrite the campaign finance law by burying a provision in omnibus appropriations legislation.”

What must Elizabeth Warren think of Hillary Clinton?

12/1/2014
Washington Post: What must Elizabeth Warren think of Hillary Clinton? by Jennifer RubinIt might have been called - “Enough Clintons.” Warren previously wrote, “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."