May 2017 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.

At Pro-Trade Think Tank, Wilbur Ross Soothes Business Fears Over NAFTA Talks

5/31/2017
Huffington Post: At Pro-Trade Think Tank, Wilbur Ross Soothes Business Fears Over NAFTA Talks - The comments provide fuel for the fears of progressive trade critics, such as Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, who worry that the administration will revise NAFTA only to make it a more TPP-like accord, which they say would have expanded opportunities for business without protecting workers. Absent meaningful improvements in Mexican labor and environmental standards and a restoration of preferential treatment for U.S.

White House Details Ethics Waivers for Ex-Lobbyists and Corporate Lawyers

5/31/2017
New York Times: White House Details Ethics Waivers for Ex-Lobbyists and Corporate Lawyers - Robert Weissman, president of the liberal nonprofit group Public Citizen, said he believed the waivers issued by Mr. Trump’s White House undermined the purpose of the ethics rules. The rules were written to prevent the government from becoming a revolving door, where industry players can come in and help their former paying clients, he said. “They are circumventing what they touted as their signature ethics achievement,” Mr. Weissman said.

D.C. Council member Brandon Todd fined $5,100 for failure to document contributions

5/31/2017
The Washington Times: D.C. Council member Brandon Todd fined $5,100 for failure to document contributions - Public Citizen, a national group that advocates for campaign finance reform, was not pleased with the results of the OCF audit. “The maximum possible fine for losing track of approximately $100,000 in campaign contributions is $5,100? The District of Columbia needs ethics and campaign finance reform now more than ever,” said Aquene Freechild, co-director of Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign.

Romney Wants Trump to Keep US in Paris Agreement...But Not Just for Environmental Reasons

5/31/2017
Townhall: Romney Wants Trump to Keep US in Paris Agreement...But Not Just for Environmental Reasons - Climate activists like Public Citizen's David Arkush have other concerns, worried that the U.S.'s withdrawal from the Paris accords will make it harder to prevent global warming. "In an administration that seems incapable of doing much right, Trump’s stances on climate change and clean energy still stand out as exceptionally wrongheaded," said David Arkush, managing director of the group's climate program. "The U.S. already is suffering from the effects of global warming, and right now we are on course for catastrophic harm as soon as the second half of this century.

Corporate Lobbying By ExxonMobil Could Be Exposed At Annual Shareholders Meeting

5/31/2017
International Business Times: Corporate Lobbying By ExxonMobil Could Be Exposed At Annual Shareholders Meeting - And more than a dozen of the world’s largest companies have quit the U.S. Chamber in recent years amid political disagreements that include debates over environmental policy, according to an analysis by Public Citizen.

Making NAFTA Worse

5/31/2017
Other Words: Making NAFTA Worse by Jim Hightower - Indeed, the 500 corporate executives and lobbyists who essentially wrote that raw TPP deal have quietly been huddling with Trump’s team to draft the plan for this “new” NAFTA, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen reports.

Greens berate Trump over decision to leave climate deal

5/31/2017
Washington Examiner: Greens berate Trump over decision to leave climate deal - A number of environmental and climate groups responded to reports of President Trump's imminent decision to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement by berating the president, calling for sanctions against him, and warning about the grave consequences to the United States. It's an "epic blunder," said David Arkush, managing director of Public Citizen's climate program, the group founded by former Green Party candidate Ralph Nader.

CenterPoint wins rate hikes even as profits rise past state cap

5/31/2017
Houston Chronicle: CenterPoint wins rate hikes even as profits rise past state cap - "I do think that this is really symptomatic of the larger issues of the Railroad Commission, and even of our state lawmakers, being captive to oil and gas industry," said Adrian Shelley, the executive director of the Texas Chapter of Public Citizen, a national non-profit watchdog group. "The Railroad Commission is completely deferential to (the utilities) assertions about what they are spending."

Stock trades by members of Congress raise conflict of interest concerns

5/31/2017
Sinclair Broadcast Group: Stock trades by members of Congress raise conflict of interest concerns - “We’ve just seen abuses of that system over and over and over again,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen.

Tillerson Present as Exxon Signed Major Deal With Saudi Arabia During Trump Visit

5/30/2017
Alternet: Tillerson Present as Exxon Signed Major Deal With Saudi Arabia During Trump Visit - Tyson Slocum, energy program director at Public Citizen — a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog organization — has a different take on the matter. “The President's Saudi trip was a bizarre Art of the Deal-esque foreign policy disaster: a sleazy mix of conflicted government-arranged corporate endorsement deals,” Slocum told DeSmog. “Most troubling of all was Tillerson's presence and role in accommodating Exxon's deal with the House of Saud, thereby violating the former CEO's recusal agreement.

Is Maxine Waters the Left’s Best Against Donald Trump?

5/30/2017
Townhall: Is Maxine Waters the Left’s Best Against Donald Trump? - The bank eventually collected $12 million in federal funds. She escaped censure from the Democratically-controlled House Ethics Committee, but the left-wing group Public Citizen criticized her misuse of family and business ties.

Why “Pay for Success” Financing Could Cost Taxpayers More Than They Bargained For

5/30/2017
In These Times: Why “Pay for Success” Financing Could Cost Taxpayers More Than They Bargained For - “The fact is you have very senior level officials leave the federal government and then turn around to lobby and influence their former agencies,” says Craig Holman, the government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen, which advocates for tougher restrictions on former federal employees.

Texas lawmakers toughen ethics laws, governor praises reforms as ‘robust’

5/29/2017
Star-Telegram: Texas lawmakers toughen ethics laws, governor praises reforms as ‘robust’ - Watchdog groups gave a far less enthusiastic assessment, saying lawmakers largely missed the opportunity to impose more sweeping measures. “Even as introduced this wasn’t major reform,” said Carol Birch, legislative counsel for Public Citizen Texas. “There are miles and miles to go and apparently we’re going to go one inch at a time.”

Make Americans full participants in NAFTA renegotiation

5/25/2017
The Hill: Make Americans full participants in NAFTA renegotiation - The average annual U.S. agricultural trade deficit with Mexico and Canada under NAFTA grew to $800 million, more than twice the pre-NAFTA level. (Public Citizen)

Bills aimed at restricting lobbyists die in Texas House

5/25/2017
Austin American Statesman: Bills aimed at restricting lobbyists die in Texas House - Carol Birch, legislative counsel for the Texas chapter of the good government group Public Citizen, said that Geren, who sits on the Calendars Committee, was well-positioned to ensure the bills moved forward if he wanted them to. “When a powerful member on the House Calendars Committee does not get his priority bills out of Calendars, it’s pretty safe to assume that that was the desired result,” she said.

Drug warrior Jeff Sessions lets a megabank skate on laundering money into Mexico

5/25/2017
ThinkProgress: Drug warrior Jeff Sessions lets a megabank skate on laundering money into Mexico - Corporate crime enforcement watchdogs immediately hammered the Trump administration. “Again, a crime and no crooks,” Bart Naylor of Public Citizen told the Corporate Crime Reporter.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump Failed to Disclose Their Multimillion-Dollar Art Collection

5/25/2017
Artnet: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump Failed to Disclose Their Multimillion-Dollar Art Collection - Craig Holman, an ethics expert with the watchdog group Public Citizen, says that using the art collection for that kind of brand marketing suggests a clear business objective. “The art is being used to promote the business interests. It may draw people into it, especially for something like a line of clothing, and cultural business activities that Ivanka Trump stands for,” Holman told artnet News. “It should be fully disclosed.”

The Chamber of Commerce wants to rig the game against the American people

5/25/2017
The Hill: The Chamber of Commerce wants to rig the game against the American people by Dan Dudis and Amit Narang - What is most telling is not what the Chamber says, but what its actions reveal: The Chamber backs legislation to expedite and streamline government actions it favors, specifically permit approvals for energy projects, while also backing legislation like the RAA, which would slow down or paralyze government actions that the Chamber generally opposes, namely public health and safety protections.

How the White House is shredding its own rules against lobbyists

5/24/2017
Vox: How the White House is shredding its own rules against lobbyists - “To get a waiver under the Obama administration, you had to be necessary for the job and nobody else could do the job for you,” said Craig Holman, who works at the good-government group Public Citizen. “Trump’s standard is anything he wants — there’s no legal standard whatsoever. Trump can issue a waiver for anyone for any reason.”

Dark Money Comes With A Twist In Virginia's Statewide Races

5/23/2017
AP: Dark Money Comes With A Twist In Virginia's Statewide Races - Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the good-government group Public Citizen, said Trump's election last year and his appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court likely means the Citizens United decision won't be overturned and anonymous money will continue to influence state and federal politics. Holman called the anonymously funded Virginia attacks the latest example of the "complete collapse of the campaign finance regime" after the Citizens United decision. "Everyone seems to be playing by no rules whatsoever," he said.

‘Soft Money’ Rules Upheld by Supreme Court

5/23/2017
Bloomberg BNA: : ‘Soft Money’ Rules Upheld by Supreme Court - CLC, along with Democracy 21 and Public Citizen, other nonprofit organizations that support restrictions on campaign money, filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold restrictions on political party soft money. “Corporate and special interest money has been swamping our elections since the 2010 Citizens United decision allowed unlimited and often undisclosed spending through outside groups,” Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist with Public Citizen, said in a statement.

FDA commissioner calls for 'more forceful steps' to curb opioid epidemic

5/23/2017
Washington Post: FDA commissioner calls for 'more forceful steps' to curb opioid epidemic - But Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, strongly supported requiring physicians to undergo mandatory training. “That would be a good step,” he said, adding that the ultimate value would depend on the content and whether it was developed by people without a financial conflict of interest. Former FDA officials said many in the agency back doctor training, but believe it should be run through the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Shifting more state functions to nonprofits raises transparency questions

5/23/2017
Houston Chronicle: Shifting more state functions to nonprofits raises transparency questions - "There can be benefits from the work of nonprofits ... but open government is important," said Adrian Shelley, director of Public Citizen of Texas, an advocacy group that champions ethics reform, consumer rights, the environment and transparency. "At the very least, we ought to know where and how taxpayer money is being spent.

Abbott wins some, loses some on ethics legislative proposals

5/22/2017
Houston Chronicle: Abbott wins some, loses some on ethics legislative proposals - Carol Birch, legislative counsel for Public Citizen, a liberal-leaning government watchdog group, said legislators "can't get away with calling this major ethics reform." An Abbott spokesman didn't return requests for comment.

Do best-selling drugs that calm stomachs damage kidneys? The answer’s unclear

5/22/2017
Philly Voice: Do best-selling drugs that calm stomachs damage kidneys? The answer’s unclear - Dr. Sammy Almashat, of the research group Public Citizen, said only a small fraction of side effects are reported to the FDA and the database is “underutilized” by researchers and regulators. “We do what we can in this country with what we’re given. It’s not much.”

Could losing tax break sink SCE&G’s nuclear project?

5/22/2017
The State: Could losing tax break sink SCE&G’s nuclear project? - “The prospect of moving a stand-alone bill like this in today’s Congress is zero,’’ said Tyson Slocum, energy program director for the interest group Public Citizen in Washington. “Even naming post offices is not a sure thing today.’’

Democrats to Trump on NAFTA: Hit me with your best shot

5/22/2017
Politico: Democrats to Trump on NAFTA: Hit me with your best shot - But if Trump wants to use a NAFTA 2.0 to achieve one of his main goals — reducing the trade deficit — it would require actions like strengthening labor and environment rules, eliminating the controversial investor protections, eliminating a ban on “Buy America” procurement requirements, introducing currency rules and strengthening rules of origin, said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. "This is an agenda that is as appealing to the Republicans in Congress as eating ground glass," Wallach said.

Let’s Watch Pittsburgh’s Mayor Slowly Realize Uber Is Not His Friend

5/22/2017
Motherboard: Let’s Watch Pittsburgh’s Mayor Slowly Realize Uber Is Not His Friend - "The emails suggest Peduto is patient zero here, with him kind of carrying water for the company and enlisting other politicians," Rick Claypool, research director at Public Citizen, told me.

Point Austin: Saved by Billionaires?

5/19/2017
The Austin Chronicle: Point Austin: Saved by Billionaires? - When I spoke to Public Citizen's Tom Smith last year about the dim prospects of action on climate change in TrumpWorld, Smitty was defiantly optimistic. "It's in places like Austin where we're beginning to take a look at resiliency, down to the kinds of trees we plant, and looking at changes that are likely to come in the climate. "What we'll see, I think, is sort of the rise of city-states, where communities like Austin and San Antonio ... become much more resilient, much more concerned about water and other resources – banding together to create smaller economic structures."

11 judges will soon decide the fate of a polarizing US agency

5/19/2017
Yahoo News: 11 judges will soon decide the fate of a polarizing US agency - For the CFPB and the amici defending it—which comprise consumer groups like Public Citizen; 17 mostly blue states and the District of Columbia; and current and former legislators who sponsored the legislation, including former Senator Christopher Dodd and former Representative Barney Frank—the main argument is an obvious one: Dozens of executive officials are removable by the president only for cause, and the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of that state of affairs more than 80 years ago.

Point Austin: Saved by Billionaires?

5/19/2017
The Austin Chronicle: : Point Austin: Saved by Billionaires? - When I spoke to Public Citizen's Tom Smith last year about the dim prospects of action on climate change in TrumpWorld, Smitty was defiantly optimistic. "It's in places like Austin where we're beginning to take a look at resiliency, down to the kinds of trees we plant, and looking at changes that are likely to come in the climate. "What we'll see, I think, is sort of the rise of city-states, where communities like Austin and San Antonio ... become much more resilient, much more concerned about water and other resources – banding together to create smaller economic structures."

Will NAFTA Renegotiation Produce TPP 2.0 and Intensify Damage?

5/19/2017
United Steelworkers Blog: Will NAFTA Renegotiation Produce TPP 2.0 and Intensify Damage? by Lori Wallach - As a candidate, Donald Trump promised to make NAFTA “much better” for working people. Today’s notice is markedly vague. But Trump’s NAFTA renegotiation plan that leaked in late March described just what the corporate lobby is demanding: using NAFTA talks to revive parts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), like expanded investor incentives to offshore jobs that could make NAFTA even worse for working people.

Restoring Volks Rule Will Create Safer Workplaces, Save Lives

5/19/2017
Morning Consult: Restoring Volks Rule Will Create Safer Workplaces, Save Lives by Emily Gardner - In a critical effort to restore recently destroyed protections for workers, a group of lawmakers has introduced the Accurate Workplace Injury and Illness Records Restoration Act to deal with the problem of preventable injuries. This bill would restore the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s “Volks” Rule and reaffirm the agency’s authority to enforce workplace injury and illness recordkeeping requirements for employers nationwide.

Why Are Canada’s Prescription Drugs So Much Cheaper Than Ours?

5/18/2017
The Nation: Why Are Canada’s Prescription Drugs So Much Cheaper Than Ours? - “Unlike other sectors in health care,” says Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program, “drug spending really doesn’t have to be what it is. It’s fixed by no factor other than our acquiescence to the monopoly pricing power of the drug corporations. It’s not principally about paying for expertise or labor or administrative costs…so this is an area where you can take a real whack at health-care costs.”

"More Peril Than Promise": Watchdogs Slam Trump's Plan for NAFTA Talks

5/18/2017
Common Dreams: "More Peril Than Promise": Watchdogs Slam Trump's Plan for NAFTA Talks - Trump's plan for the maligned, decades-old deal—leaked in March—shows a NAFTA that "will encourage corporations to pollute our air and water, poison our food, and accelerate climate change," Waren said. The draft proposal would keep some of the trade deal's most controversial provisions, including an arbitration panel that lets investors sue governments for supposed loss of profit imposed by environmental and human rights safeguards. Public Citizen likewise tweeted, "His leaked plan looks like a wish list for the very CEOs who've visited him at the #WhiteHouse."

Trump Sends Nafta Renegotiation Notice to Congress

5/18/2017
New York Times: Trump Sends Nafta Renegotiation Notice to Congress - Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, said Mr. Trump would have to choose whether to honor his campaign promises of major changes to Nafta — “an agenda that is as appealing to the Republicans in Congress as eating ground glass” — or produce a deal that resembled the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the sweeping trade deal he has scrapped and which she argued would be disastrous for American workers.

Trump’s NAFTA Letter Echoes Obama Administration’s Language On TPP

5/18/2017
Huffington Post: Trump’s NAFTA Letter Echoes Obama Administration’s Language On TPP - The March draft of the letter essentially “described TPP,” Lori Wallach, a leading trade deal skeptic and director of global trade watch at the left-leaning group Public Citizen, told HuffPost at the end of April. “It was quite telling. They’d take the pieces of TPP that Mexico, the U.S. and Canada had agreed to and enact them bit by bit through the NAFTA renegotiation.”

Trump administration launches process to renegotiate NAFTA

5/18/2017
AP: Trump administration launches process to renegotiate NAFTA - In March, the administration circulated an eight-page draft letter on NAFTA that disappointed critics by appearing to keep much of the existing trade agreement in place. Thursday's letter had fewer specifics. Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, called it "markedly vague."

Ethics Committee Investigating Chris Collins' Investment Activities

5/17/2017
Newsmax: Ethics Committee Investigating Chris Collins' Investment Activities - Advocacy group Public Citizen called for an investigation into Collins and Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., "for possible violations of insider trading and conflicts of interest laws and regulations," in a letter to the Office for Congressional Ethics. "These patterns of extensive trading activity in businesses and industries that Reps. Price and Collins oversee in their official capacity, and the beneficial timing of these trades, raise legitimate questions concerning both potential insider trading and conflicts of interest," Public Citizen wrote.

Trump Interior pick faces contentious fight

5/17/2017
The Hill: Trump Interior pick faces contentious fight - “He has represented the legal and political interests of a host of different extractive and energy development corporations, and I just see him as being hopelessly conflicted,” said Tyson Slocum, the director of Public Citizen's Energy Program, which has pushed senators to oppose Bernhardt.

Democrats Back Bill Repealing Congressional Review Act

5/17/2017
Bloomberg BNA: Democrats Back Bill Repealing Congressional Review Act - The legislation was immediately endorsed by Public Citizen, a public interest organization that is fighting Trump’s deregulatory agenda. Corporate predators, polluters and profiteers who would have been reined in by these rules are now free to abuse, exploit and discriminate, knowing they won’t be held accountable, Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, said in a statement.

Senate GOP starts regulatory revamp push today

5/17/2017
Politico: Senate GOP starts regulatory revamp push today - “Our regulatory process for protecting the public is broken due to unacceptable delays, and it would make the process even more paralyzed,” Amit Narang, regulatory policy advocate at Public Citizen, tells ME. Nine public health groups and the League of Conservation Voters released letters Tuesday urging senators to reject the legislation.

More apparently fake-defendant libel lawsuits aimed at vanishing material from Google?

5/17/2017
Washington Post: More apparently fake-defendant libel lawsuits aimed at vanishing material from Google? - As Paul Alan Levy (Public Citizen) and I noted back in October, a “reputation management” organization seems to be responsible for many — perhaps two dozen or more — libel cases filed against fake defendants.

DHHS fired a public records coordinator — for releasing a public record

5/17/2017
Bangor Daily News: DHHS fired a public records coordinator — for releasing a public record - “Layering on a top-down bureaucracy makes it harder to share [information] with those who requested it and certainly goes against the spirit of [FOAA] legislation,” said Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs at the national consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen.

Do Best-Selling Drugs That Calm Stomachs Damage Kidneys? The Answer’s Unclear

5/17/2017
Kaiser Health News: Do Best-Selling Drugs That Calm Stomachs Damage Kidneys? The Answer’s Unclear - Dr. Sammy Almashat, of the research group Public Citizen, said only a small fraction of side effects are reported to the FDA and the database is “underutilized” by researchers and regulators. “We do what we can in this country with what we’re given. It’s not much.”

Senate tees up 'accountability act' as regulation fight intensifies

5/17/2017
Reuters: Senate tees up 'accountability act' as regulation fight intensifies - One progressive group, Public Citizen, estimates it would add 53 steps to major rulemaking, possibly doubling the average amount of time it takes to finalize a regulation - currently four years.

Congressional ethics investigators interview Collins' investment partners

5/16/2017
Buffalo News: Congressional ethics investigators interview Collins' investment partners - Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, a left-leaning good-government group, also filed a complaint with the SEC and the Office of Congressional Ethics in January.

What To Know About Carl Icahn, Trump's 'Special Adviser'

5/16/2017
KUAR: What To Know About Carl Icahn, Trump's 'Special Adviser' - Robert Weissman, president of the watchdog group Public Citizen, said, "It's not that he's on the outside buying influence. He's on the inside." Asked if anyone else in recent American history has had this combination of access to the president, a sweeping portfolio and freedom from ethics laws, Weissman said, "It is just extraordinary. And no, I cannot think of anything like it."

Report: Congressional Ethics Office Probing Rep. Chris Collins’ Aussie Investment

5/16/2017
Kaiser Health News: Report: Congressional Ethics Office Probing Rep. Chris Collins’ Aussie Investment - Public Citizen, a government watchdog group, asked the ethics office to open an investigation into Collins’ activities in February, citing a Kaiser Health News story about the congressman.

Udall Bill Would Repeal Congressional Review Act

5/16/2017
KRWG: Udall Bill Would Repeal Congressional Review Act - “Congressional Republicans and President Trump have just provided us with all the evidence needed to conclude that the Congressional Review Act is nothing more than a crass corporate payback scheme,” Public Citizen President Robert Weissman said. “Republicans repealed 14 popular and important public protections, including measures to protect consumers, worker health, and the environment.

After Eight-Year Battle Over Reforming the Railroad Commission, Oil and Gas Industry Wins

5/16/2017
Texas Observer: After Eight-Year Battle Over Reforming the Railroad Commission, Oil and Gas Industry Wins - “Before Sunset Commission even met, [the commissioners] had made up their mind,” said Carol Birch, a lobbyist for the consumer and environmental advocacy group Public Citizen. “Nobody would even talk to you about it. They just wanted this clean bill.”

Dems propose scrapping law GOP used to overturn regulations

5/16/2017
The Hill: Dems propose scrapping law GOP used to overturn regulations - Robert Weissman, president of the left-leaning Public Citizen, called Republicans’ use of the CRA a “corporate payback scheme.” “If there was any doubt before, it’s now certain that the CRA must go,” he said.

Trump's Rise Gives Gillibrand a Long-Awaited Opportunity

5/15/2017
WNYC: Trump's Rise Gives Gillibrand a Long-Awaited Opportunity - Craig Holman, who lobbies on campaign finance, ethics and other issues for Public Citizen, said leadership PACs are one way the U.S. campaign finance system favors those already in office.

Texas Sanctuary Cities, “1-in-2-out” Trump Executive Order: State Attorneys General May 15 Update

5/15/2017
National Law Review: Texas Sanctuary Cities, “1-in-2-out” Trump Executive Order: State Attorneys General May 15 Update - Plaintiffs, Public Citizen, Inc. (a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization), NRDC and the Communication Workers of America (AFL CIO), filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the “1-in 2-out” EO. They primarily attack the requirement that new rules can be promulgated only if the net impact does not impose greater costs.

GOP rolled back 14 of 15 Obama rules using Congressional Review Act

5/15/2017
Washington Times: GOP rolled back 14 of 15 Obama rules using Congressional Review Act - Amit Narang, a regulatory expert at Public Citizen, said he hopes Congress is the one that changes by repealing the CRA. “We just do not need to give Congress this shortcut to kill regulations that protect the public, at corporate interests’ behest,” he said. “This shortcut is unnecessary, it’s arbitrary in many respects. This law needs to go.”

Trump's allies see a 'civil war' on trade within his administration, and which side wins is anyone's guess

5/13/2017
Business Insider: Trump's allies see a 'civil war' on trade within his administration, and which side wins is anyone's guess - "I think the end of the movie has not been written for how Trump is going to or not going to enact his promised trade policy changes," said Lori Wallach, head of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, which supports the trade platform Trump outlined on the campaign trail. "I would say that Act 1 has been extremely disappointing, and Act 2 is some kind of Civil War scene. But we won't know what Act 3 is for some time."

Luke Bryan Is in Trouble After Failing to Tag an Instagram Post #Sponsor

5/12/2017
Good Housekeeping: Luke Bryan Is in Trouble After Failing to Tag an Instagram Post #Sponsor - In April, the FTC sent letters to 45 celebrities, including Bryan, after receiving complaints from the advocacy groups Public Citizen, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy, according to Billboard.

Top Dems Raise "Grave Concerns" Over Sessions' Role in Comey Firing

5/12/2017
Common Dreams: Top Dems Raise "Grave Concerns" Over Sessions' Role in Comey Firing - Earlier this week, the watchdog group Public Citizen called for Sessions' firing, saying his involvement meant that "we've just plunged into a constitutional crisis."

Ethics experts alarmed by Trump adviser Carl Icahn’s big bet on biofuels

5/12/2017
Yahoo News: Ethics experts alarmed by Trump adviser Carl Icahn’s big bet on biofuels - “As a special adviser, it is an enormous conflict of interest for Icahn to be moving the administration in a way that directly benefits him financially,” says Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at Public Citizen, a consumer rights advocacy group.

At Capitol, eco stalwart Tom ‘Smitty’ Smith ushers in a successor

5/12/2017
Austin American-Statesman: At Capitol, eco stalwart Tom ‘Smitty’ Smith ushers in a successor - Smitty hands Public Citizen’s Texas office to Adrian Shelley.

Working on the Railroad Commission

5/11/2017
Forth Worth Weekly: Working on the Railroad Commission - Five of eight other producing states show more frequent and/or more thorough inspection than Texas, reported a study of oil-and-gas regulations by Public Citizen, submitted as a written comment.

Comey’s Firing Is An Assault On Democracy; Sessions Must Go

5/10/2017
Huffington Post: Comey’s Firing Is An Assault On Democracy; Sessions Must Go by Rob Weissman - We’ve just plunged into a constitutional crisis. President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey is intolerable and an assault on our democracy. Our democracy will wither if the president believes himself above the law and empowered to fire law enforcement officials for the “crime” of investigating the president’s wrongdoing. Democrat, Republican or Independent — every American should be alarmed at the Trump regime’s rush to authoritarianism.

Scott Gottlieb, the new FDA chief, explained

5/10/2017
Vox: Scott Gottlieb, the new FDA chief, explained - “Between 2013 and 2015, Gottlieb received a total of at least $413,000 from multiple pharma and medical device companies, most for consulting and speaking fees,” Public Citizen reported.

Government Accountability Groups Call on Deputy AG Rosenstein to Promptly Appoint an Independent Special Counsel to Handle Russia Investigation

5/10/2017
Common Cause: Government Accountability Groups Call on Deputy AG Rosenstein to Promptly Appoint an Independent Special Counsel to Handle Russia Investigation - The recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions from any role in the Russia investigations has left Rosenstein as the senior Justice Department official in charge of this investigation.

Trump claims absolute immunity from D.C. wine bar's lawsuit

5/10/2017
Reuters: Trump claims absolute immunity from D.C. wine bar's lawsuit - The doctrine of absolute immunity "ensures that the President can focus on carrying out the obligations of his Office without the distraction of virtually limitless litigation whose costs he would personally bear," Trump's lawyers said in a court filing. "That doctrine forecloses this lawsuit." Alan Morrison, a lawyer for the plaintiffs who is also a George Washington University Law School associate dean and co-founder with Ralph Nader of the Public Citizen Litigation Group, said he is reviewing the filing.

Who are Kansas lobbyists taking to dinner?

5/10/2017
The Kansas City Star: Who are Kansas lobbyists taking to dinner? - “Wining and dining has proven to be one of the more effective means of buying influence and it is a means that is only available to those who can afford it,” said Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, a group that advocates for greater ethics and transparency in government and helped craft the 2007 federal law.

Donald Trump’s Florida estate stirs protests, spurs ethics debate

5/9/2017
Associated Press: Donald Trump’s Florida estate stirs protests, spurs ethics debate - Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, said Trump and Abe don’t need to meet at Trump’s commercial property, where the membership fee recently was doubled to $200,000.

U.S. Democratic senators seek probe into Icahn’s biofuel credit dealings

5/9/2017
Reuters: U.S. Democratic senators seek probe into Icahn’s biofuel credit dealings - "Carl Icahn is not shy, and he knows his voice and his actions as special adviser can influence the RIN markets," said Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen, a liberal watchdog group that has already asked Congress to investigate whether Icahn had violated any lobbying disclosure laws.

Consumer groups descend on Washington to fight protection rollbacks

5/9/2017
Consumer Affairs: Consumer groups descend on Washington to fight protection rollbacks - The advocates are also urging opposition to the Regulatory Accountability Act, which they say will cause agency paralysis by analysis and make it extremely difficult to enact important new health, safety, and pocketbook protections. The effort is being coordinated by the Consumer Federation of America and is co-sponsored by Consumers Union, U.S. PIRG, National Consumer Law Center, Public Citizen, National Consumers League, National Association Consumer Advocates, and Americans for Financial Reform.

Legislature approves Railroad Commission bill, but critics call it weak

5/9/2017
Texas Tribune: Legislature approves Railroad Commission bill, but critics call it weak - The vote on HB 1818 came the day after the release of a report by the Sierra Club and watchdog groups Texans for Public Justice and Public Citizen showing that the energy and natural resources industry contributed the second most to state legislative campaigns of any industry behind lawyers and lobbyists.

One-Third of New Drugs Have Safety Issues

5/9/2017
Fortune: One-Third of New Drugs Have Safety Issues - “We’re concerned that the FDA has swung too far toward speedy approvals and away from making sure drugs are safe and effective,” Michael Carome, the director of the health research group at the advocacy organization Public Citizen, told the Boston Globe. “It’s already too fast.”

Podesta lobby group did not disclose extent of work for Ukrainian campaign advised by Paul Manafort

5/9/2017
CNN: Podesta lobby group did not disclose extent of work for Ukrainian campaign advised by Paul Manafort - "Clearly they're not disclosing everything," said Craig Holman, a lobbying expert at Public Citizen. "Money was being spent to influence State Department public policy and we are oblivious to that."

Trump's lawyers defend travel ban in 4th Circuit

5/9/2017
Politico: Trump's lawyers defend travel ban in 4th Circuit - OMB has met with Public Citizen and the National Employment Law Project and will meet today with the Associated Builders and Contractors, according to its website.

Senate inching toward methane vote Wednesday

5/9/2017
Politico: Senate inching toward methane vote Wednesday - Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's energy program, told ME in a statement: "Despite industry pleas to quickly return the Commission to quorum, the Senate must accordingly not sacrifice deliberation and diligence for expediency."

Trump’s religious freedom executive order is a promise kept, sort of Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/opinion/article149363554.html#storylink=cpy

5/9/2017
McClatchy: Trump’s religious freedom executive order is a promise kept, sort of Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/opinion/article149363554.html#storylink=cpy - Public Citizen, a liberal outfit favoring strict campaign finance limitations, said it planned to challenge the order. “This executive order may go down in history as the Citizens United of church/state separation in the context of political spending,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.

Trump to nominate Clean Power Plan opponents to federal energy commission

5/9/2017
ThinkProgress: Trump to nominate Clean Power Plan opponents to federal energy commission - “We are concerned that the delay may be related to efforts by the Trump Administration to ensure new commissioners and a new chair will adhere to this new, radical administration baseload electricity policy,” the Public Utility Law Project of New York, the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project, and Public Citizen wrote in comments submitted to FERC last week.

Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, remains a big draw

5/9/2017
Concord Monitor: Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, remains a big draw - Last week, Public Citizen, a government ethics group, sought an investigation after a report by Politico wondered about a conflict of interest. “He developed very close ties to President Trump and leading officials in the Trump administration,” the group’s letter said. “His consulting firms are using that access as a selling point for soliciting and generating international and domestic business.”

Is Snapchat the Newest Social Advocacy Tool?

5/8/2017
CQ Roll Call: Is Snapchat the Newest Social Advocacy Tool? - #ExxonKnew, orchestrated by an organic ad hoc alliance of dozens of advocacy groups, including the Center for International Environmental Law, Greenpeace USA, Public Citizen and the Union of Concerned Scientists, the campaign maintains Exxon has known “the truth” about climate change for decades.

GOP chairman warns agencies about requests for records

5/6/2017
AP News: GOP chairman warns agencies about requests for records - The advocacy group Public Citizen said Hensarling's letter violates the spirit of the open records law though the legal ramifications are murkier. "What's clear is that it's an outrageous move," said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.