August 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.

A closer look at the allegations lodged against Collins

8/30/2017
The Buffalo News: A closer look at the allegations lodged against Collins by Jerry Zremski - "That would be a very serious violation of House ethics rules," said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen's Congress Watch. "That would mean he's using his official position to enrich himself."

Iowa senators uncertain on controversial nursing home rule

8/30/2017
Des Moines Register: Iowa senators uncertain on controversial nursing home rule by Clark Kauffman - Rob Weissman, president of the advocacy group Public Citizen, told the Los Angeles Times the switch to allow forced arbitration was “a heartless and vile act.”

Republicans Accelerating Repeal Of Rule To Restore Consumers' Right To Sue Banks

8/30/2017
Forbes: Republicans Accelerating Repeal Of Rule To Restore Consumers' Right To Sue Banks by Diana Hembree - “Those customers were forced into secret arbitration, and now we learn the bank may have created more than 3 million fake accounts,” said Amanda Werner, arbitration campaign manager for Americans for Financial Reform & Public Citizen. “Private arbitration is a huge incentive for wrongdoing. With no press or law enforcement involved, it’s easy for banks to get away with fraud.”

Members of Congress scoring personal loans from political supporters

8/30/2017
NationOfChange: Members of Congress scoring personal loans from political supporters by Nicholas Jahr and Ellen McCreary Ioanes - That circumstance “raises the issue that this loan is no longer just an impartial business transaction,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, a non-partisan government watchdog group. “It strongly suggests that the source of a loan has a vested interest in the lawmaker.”

Controversial Culture Warrior Lands Mystery Job in the Trump Administration

8/29/2017
Mother Jones: Controversial Culture Warrior Lands Mystery Job in the Trump Administration by Stephanie Mencimer - The coziness between Deloitte and HHS strikes some good-government watchdogs as problematic. “Relying on outside corporate consulting firms to ‘reimagine’ the government is basically inviting the corporate class inside the government to better serve their interests,” says Robert Weissman, president of the advocacy group Public Citizen. “The conflicts are out of control.”

GOP lawmaker wants to give Robert Mueller's Russia investigation a six-month expiration date

8/29/2017
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: GOP lawmaker wants to give Robert Mueller's Russia investigation a six-month expiration date by Ledyard King - Lisa Gilbert, vice president for legislative affairs at the government watchdog group Public Citizen, called DeSantis' move "appalling."  "The appropriations process is supposed to be about funding our government, not covering up President Donald Trump’s suspected collusion with Russia," she said.

The FDA’s Consumer Protection Warnings Are Falling Under Trump

8/28/2017
Bloomberg Politics: The FDA’s Consumer Protection Warnings Are Falling Under Trump by John Tozzi - A slowdown in enforcement would be worrisome, said Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, a watchdog organization. He reviewed the data analyzed by Bloomberg.  The dramatic dropoff in warning letters to medical device makers appears particularly problematic, Carome said. “This is a huge market,” with hundreds of thousands of products, he explained. FDA oversight “is critically important to make sure that there aren’t defects” and that malfunctions are properly reported.

Is Harvey Also a Threat to the Air We Breathe?

8/28/2017
Houston Press: Is Harvey Also a Threat to the Air We Breathe? by Dianna Wray - Early Sunday morning Stephanie Thomas, of Public Citizen, one of the nonprofits that is part of the Healthy Port Communities Coalition, was walking down to Buffalo Bayou from her home in the Second Ward, just east of downtown Houston, when she caught a whiff of "something powerful."

House Ethics panel investigating New York GOP congressman

8/28/2017
Associated Press: House Ethics panel investigating New York GOP congressman by AP staff - Public Citizen said Collins sits on the board of Innate Immunotherapeutics, a company that is experimenting with a drug to treat multiple sclerosis. The group said Collins in August 2016 purchased millions of shares of the company while also sponsoring legislation that could benefit the company. The group said in its letter that the information available at that time "falls short of evidence" that illegal trading occurred or that ethics rules were violated, but said the circumstances warranted investigation.

F.D.A. Cracks Down on ‘Unscrupulous’ Stem Cell Clinics

8/28/2017
New York Times: F.D.A. Cracks Down on ‘Unscrupulous’ Stem Cell Clinics by Sheila Kaplan and Denise Grady - “We certainly welcome this type of action, although it comes belatedly,” said Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. “The agency has known about these unscrupulous actors for years.”

Trump Administration Ethics Entanglements: 9 Officials Getting Lobbied By Previous Employers

8/25/2017
International Business Times: Trump Administration Ethics Entanglements: 9 Officials Getting Lobbied By Previous Employers by Josh Keefe - On Tuesday, the Secret Service agreed to stop erasing White House visitor log data until a lawsuit brought by Public Citizen seeking access to those records can be decided.

Judge Approves Pared-Back Search Warrant for Visitors to Trump-Protest Website

8/25/2017
NBC News: Judge Approves Pared-Back Search Warrant for Visitors to Trump-Protest Website by Alex Johnson - DreamHost and the nonprofit activist group Public Citizen strongly opposed the request, arguing that it would allow investigators to identify more than 1.3 million people who visited the site — the vast majority of whom had no connection to the Jan. 20 protests.

With Trump White House, Are Ethics Issues Becoming Just Part Of The Scenery?

8/25/2017
NPR: With Trump White House, Are Ethics Issues Becoming Just Part Of The Scenery? by Peter Overby - Public Citizen President Robert Weissman, leading one of the watchdog groups that had tracked Icahn's activities, said, "Each time we're able to succeed in making things a little bit less bad, it's an incremental win."

Secret Service to stop erasing White House visitor log information

8/24/2017
The Hill: Secret Service to stop erasing White House visitor log information by John Bowden - The lawsuit, brought by watchdog group Public Citizen last week, seeks access to visitor logs to four agencies: The Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Council on Environmental Quality.

Trump protest website visitors: We have constitutional right to use Internet anonymously

8/24/2017
Reuters: Trump protest website visitors: We have constitutional right to use Internet anonymously by Alison Frankel - The Does are represented by Paul Alan Levy of Public Citizen, who argued in a brief opposing enforcement of the DreamHost subpoena that the government “has no legitimate basis snooping into their identities,” and that “enforcing the subpoena to identify anonymous users who viewed that site would have an enormous chilling effect on the public’s right to surf the Internet and view political expression that they find of interest.”

Trump rejects wealthy friends' pleas for help

8/24/2017
Politico: Trump rejects wealthy friends' pleas for help by Alex Guillen and Eric Wolff - Icahn "comes in hot, his guy wins, Trump places a crown on Icahn’s head, and Icahn says 'OK, it’s corporate raider time,'" said Tyson Slocum, energy director for the nonprofit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. "He knows hardball tactics. What Carl Icahn doesn’t know is D.C."

Federal prosecutors scale back request for info on visitors to anti-Trump website

8/24/2017
The Washington Post: Federal prosecutors scale back request for info on visitors to anti-Trump website by Keith L. Alexander - DreamHost and privacy rights advocates, such as the nonprofit group Public Citizen argued that the warrant was overly broad and violated the users’ constitutional rights. The move to modify the government’s request for data came as a hearing over the matter is scheduled for Thursday in D.C. Superior Court before Judge Robert E. Morin, the court’s chief judge.

Secret Service agrees to stop erasing White House visitor log data

8/24/2017
Politico: Secret Service agrees to stop erasing White House visitor log data by Josh Gerstein - “Although not necessary to preserve the requested records, the Secret Service has stated that it will retain copies of all [appointment and visitor entry] data during the pendency of this litigation, and Secret Service has suspended auto-delete functions,” Justice Department lawyer Julie Straus Harris wrote in response to a lawsuit brought by the Public Citizen watchdog group.

Feds Back Down From Request For Visitor Logs From Anti-Trump Site, But Concerns Remain

8/24/2017
Huffington Post: Feds Back Down From Request For Visitor Logs From Anti-Trump Site, But Concerns Remain by Matt Ferner - “In the face of growing public concern, the Trump Justice Department has backed down on its outrageously overbroad request for information on every visitor to an inaugural protest website,” said Robert Weissman, president of progressive consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen. “If the government had prevailed in its request to enforce the original terms of the warrant, it would have significantly chilled dissent.” Public Citizen had filed to represent a number of the people who were included in the government’s original sweeping request for data because it believes that the U.S.

Justice Department Pulls Back on Search Warrant for Visitors to Trump-Protest Site

8/24/2017
NBC News: Justice Department Pulls Back on Search Warrant for Visitors to Trump-Protest Site by Alex Johnson - Monday, the nonprofit activist group Public Citizen, calling the warrant a "witch hunt," sought to intervene in the case on behalf of five anonymous people who it said had no connection to the protests but whose identities would be outed by the warrant. In a supplemental filing on Tuesday, the Justice Department asked a D.C. Superior Court judge to let it amend its request after Public Citizen and other critics called the warrant a clear abuse of government authority.

Billionaire Carl Icahn Has Lost More Money This Year Than Almost Anyone in the World

8/24/2017
Time: Billionaire Carl Icahn Has Lost More Money This Year Than Almost Anyone in the World by Rob Wile - “This kind of self-enrichment and influence over decision-making by an individual mogul who is simultaneously inside and outside the Administration is unprecedented," Robert Weissman, who runs the watchdog group Public Citizen, told Radden Keefe. "In terms of corruption, there’s nothing like it. Maybe ever.” In conversations with Radden Keefe, financiers who have worked with Icahn described his appointment as a kind of corporate raid on Washington. One said, “It’s the cheapest takeover Carl’s ever done.”

Budget and Appropriations Members Rack Up Travel Time

8/18/2017
Roll Call: Budget and Appropriations Members Rack Up Travel Time by Jennifer Shutt - “I find it just ridiculous that we don’t have a complete and online disclosure system for all of these foreign travels,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. “I find it even more ridiculous that we don’t have a set budget for it.”

EpiPen maker finalizes settlement for government overcharges

8/17/2017
Associated Press: EpiPen maker finalizes settlement for government overcharges by Linda A. Johnson - “DOJ is letting Mylan get off on the cheap for ripping off the government, and with no admission of wrongdoing,” Robert Weissman, president of the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen, said in a statement Thursday.  Weissman and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, both noted that the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Inspector General’s investigated and concluded that Medicaid programs paid Mylan $1.27 billion more than they should have between 2006 and 2016.

Suit demands visitor logs for parts of White House

8/17/2017
POLITICO: Suit demands visitor logs for parts of White House by Josh Gerstein - Public Citizen said the Secret Service rebuffed the group's initial request for the records by saying they had been turned over to the central record-keeping office for the White House. The group is seeking a temporary restraining order to stop any further transfers of records from the Secret Service to the White House. “The D.C. Circuit has already held that the records we requested are agency records subject to FOIA,” Public Citizen's Adina Rosenbaum said. “There is no legal justification for the Secret Service to withhold them.”

Trump White House is still holding back visitor information, watchdog group says

8/17/2017
The Washington Post: Trump White House is still holding back visitor information, watchdog group says by Spencer Hsu - Public Citizen asserts that the restricted release of visitor logs violates a 2013 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that said the Secret Service cannot withhold visitor logs to agencies that are subject to FOIA unless they cite a specific exemption.  “The Trump White House’s refusal to turn over visitor logs that it knows it is legally obligated to release is particularly shameful, even by the standards of this administration,” Public Citizen President Robert Weissman said in a statement.

The Most Over-Hyped U.S. Trade Deal Is About to Get a Makeover

8/16/2017
Bloomberg Politics: The Most Over-Hyped U.S. Trade Deal Is About to Get a Makeover by Andrew Mayeda - More than 900,000 jobs have been certified by the U.S. government as lost to trade with Mexico and Canada since Nafta came into effect, according to Public Citizen, an advocacy group that tracks an adjustment program for workers hurt by trade. The total job losses are probably several times larger, since that figure only covers jobs reported to the government, said Lori Wallach, global trade watch director at Public Citizen. “The biggest losers are U.S. workers without a college degree,” she said. “Who have been the winners?

CEOs Walk Trump Tightrope Into New Era of Corporate Politics

8/16/2017
Bloomberg Politics: CEOs Walk Trump Tightrope Into New Era of Corporate Politics by Jeff Green - The fallout from the supremacists’ rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12 also exposed a rift within corporate America unlike any in recent memory. “There’s a moral tension” and “a real wedge being driven,” said Rick Claypool, director of the consumer-advocacy nonprofit Public Citizen. Some “companies feel they’re being tarnished by the association with the president,” he said. On the other hand, “there’s a fear that if they’re not at the table,” they’ll lose out.

The Ethics Issue Blocking Organ Transplant Research

8/15/2017
The Atlantic: The Ethics Issue Blocking Organ Transplant Research by Sarah Zhang - Then in April 2016, Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy organization, blasted UCSF’s decision as a “disturbing failure.” It wrote a letter asking the federal Office for Human Research Protections, which oversees institutional review boards at hospitals and universities, to investigate. The OHRP has not yet made any public statements about the hypothermia trial.

Companies Linked To Mike Pence Seek An Upper Hand In Infrastructure Policy

8/15/2017
International Business Times: Companies Linked To Mike Pence Seek An Upper Hand In Infrastructure Policy by David Sirota and Lydia O'Neil - Public Citizen's Rick Claypool has launched a webpage tracking the number of CEOs who have decided to remain "complicit" by sticking by Trump's side and "embracing his pro-polluter, deregulatory, and anti-tax policies while ignoring other elements of his outrageous conduct."  This is a "choice these executives may come to regret," Claypool concludes.

If Trump pushes 'buy American' in NAFTA talks, he may get more than he bargained for

8/15/2017
Baltimore Sun: If Trump pushes 'buy American' in NAFTA talks, he may get more than he bargained for by Don Lee - The president’s business holdings include 14 Canadian and two Mexican investments, according to Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. And it’s widely known that some of Trump’s clothing line is made in Mexico.

Trump's 2-for-1 reg order goes to court

8/10/2017
Politico: Trump's 2-for-1 reg order goes to court by Alex Guillen - A trio of groups — the Natural Resources Defense Council, Public Citizen and the Communications Workers of America — argue that Trump’s order is unlawful and endangers public welfare by threatening health and safety rules across the government. … The 10 a.m. hearing is before Judge Randolph D. Moss, an Obama appointee on the U.S. District Court for D.C

House member's ties to utility district raises ethical questions

8/10/2017
Texas Tribune: House member's ties to utility district raises ethical questions by Neil Thomas - Carol Birch, legislative counsel for Public Citizen Texas, a liberal watchdog group, said she sees potential for conflicts of interest any time state legislators contract with public entities, and thinks lawmakers should disclose “any interest in anything.”  “Just because you can get away with it doesn’t mean you should,” Birch said.

Many Lawmakers Tap Campaign Funds

8/10/2017
Houston Chronicle: Many Lawmakers Tap Campaign Funds by James Drew - Per diem payments are a "backdoor way of paying legislators far too little," said Tom "Smitty" Smith, director of special projects for the Texas office of Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer and environmental group.

Judge Questions ‘Shadow’ Process In Challenge To Regulatory Order

8/10/2017
Bloomberg BNA: Judge Questions ‘Shadow’ Process In Challenge To Regulatory Order by Cheryl Bolen - President Donald Trump’s executive order requiring agencies to eliminate two regulations for each new regulation issued and offset the cost of each new rule is “fundamentally different” than previous executive orders guiding agency rulemaking, a federal judge said Aug. 10 ( Public Citizen Inc. v. Trump, D.D.C., No. 1:17-cv-00253, oral argument 8/10/17 ).

Trump's War On Voters Has A Long History: Voting-Rights Advocates Are Ready To Fight Back

8/8/2017
Salon: Trump's War On Voters Has A Long History: Voting-Rights Advocates Are Ready To Fight Back by John Atlas and Peter Dreier - The resistance of these state officials, as well as pending lawsuits against the commission by the ACLU, Public Citizen, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, Common Cause and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, may stop Trump’s panel from pursuing the voter purge.

The House recently sided with big banks over consumers

8/4/2017
The Hill: The House recently sided with big banks over consumers by Martha McCluskey - A recent report from Public Citizen found that the financial industry has given more than $100 million in campaign contributions to Senate Republicans backing the resolution. The main sponsor of the resolution in the House, Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.), received $212,909 in campaign contributions from commercial banks and the securities and investments industries in the most recent election cycle alone.

Senate Passes F.D.A. Funding and ‘Right to Try’ Drug Bills

8/3/2017
New York Times: Senate Passes F.D.A. Funding and ‘Right to Try’ Drug Bills by Robert Pear and Sheila Kaplan - Public Citizen, a consumer group, said the bill would “provide false hope to patients” and undermine the F.D.A.’s authority to supervise the use of experimental drug products.

Houston legislator pushing ethics bills acknowledges bottling up a revolving door measure

8/3/2017
Houston Chronicle: Houston legislator pushing ethics bills acknowledges bottling up a revolving door measure by Andrea Zelinski - "I called it the lobotomy bill at that point. It's like, how else are you going to enforce that. They're going to have to forget it, and all I could think was lobotomy," said Carol Birch, legislative council for Public Citizen, a national non-profit advocacy group with an office in Austin. "The guys in charge of making laws telling Texans what they can and cannot do don't want to be told what to do? Really?"

This Lawyer Is Making It Less Profitable To Sue When Companies

8/2/2017
Bloomberg News Online: This Lawyer Is Making It Less Profitable To Sue When Companies by Caleb Hannan - Tamping down lawsuits against corporations has long been a conservative cause, and CEI is on the libertarian right—it has ties to the Koch brothers, and opposes many financial and environmental regulation. But Frank’s approach can scramble traditional political narratives. “Ted has been on the right side of a number of cases,” says Alan Morrison, an associate dean at George Washington University Law School and the co-founder with Ralph Nader of the litigation arm of the consumer-interest nonprofit Public Citizen. “We were the proverbial skunk at the garden party, too.”