January 2018 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.

Child advocates urge Facebook to end Messenger Kids

1/30/2018
The Washington Post: Child advocates urge Facebook to end Messenger Kids by Hamza Shaban - Organized by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, nineteen groups, including Common Sense Media and Public Citizen, have signed a letter to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg that will be sent on Tuesday. The initiative is the latest example of critics opposing early adoption of digital technology and is playing out amid a broader backlash against the rising influence of Silicon Valley.

Trump’s State of the Union fundraising plan blurs ethical lines

1/30/2018
Salon: Trump’s State of the Union fundraising plan blurs ethical lines by Matthew Rozsa - His views were echoed by Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.  "Donald Trump is commercializing and corrupting yet another national institution, making this just the latest disgraceful degradation by Trump of the presidency and our public institutions," Weissman told USA Today.

NAFTA talks that were supposed to end last year might continue into 2019

1/29/2018
The Washington Post: NAFTA talks that were supposed to end last year might continue into 2019 by David J. Lynch - Further delay raises the possibility of the talks continuing during the run-up to the U.S. congressional elections. Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, suggested the president needs to reach a deal before the midterms to demonstrate to his working-class base that he has kept his promises on trade. Otherwise, Democrats could tell voters “you've been taken for a ride,” she said.

Here's what it's like to have a toddler who is famous on Instagram

1/25/2018
BuzzFeed: Here's what it's like to have a toddler who is famous on Instagram by Remy Smidt - Kristen Strader, a campaign coordinator for advocacy group Public Citizen’s Commercial Alert, told BuzzFeed News that “it can be impossible for consumers to determine what is an ad and what is an influencer sharing a genuine moment from their life.” “It gets even more complicated when influencers are using their children to promote paid content,” she added.

Mexico's finance minister isn't worried about a 'plan B' for NAFTA

1/24/2018
CNBC: Mexico's finance minister isn't worried about a 'plan B' for NAFTA by Natasha Turak - Disagreements persist over the negative impact of the trade pact on the American economy. Washington D.C.-based think tank Public Citizen has reported the deal led to the loss of up to 1 million U.S. jobs and a $181 billion trade deficit with Mexico and Canada.

Tax law showers cash on lobby firms

1/24/2018
The Hill: Tax law showers cash on lobby firms by Megan R. Wilson - An analysis from Public Citizen, a government watchdog group, showed that more than half of all the registered lobbyists in Washington worked on tax reform, which equates to upwards of 6,000 people pounding the marble on Capitol Hill to influence tax policy in some way last year.

U.S. business group lobbying surged as tax reform took shape – report

1/23/2018
Reuters: U.S. business group lobbying surged as tax reform took shape – report by Reuters Staff - More than half of the registered lobbyists in Washington worked on tax issues in 2017, according to a report from the advocacy group Public Citizen, as lawmakers in the U.S. capital scrambled to conclude a year-long effort to pass a tax reform bill before Christmas.

Trump business ethics pledges left plenty room for profiting

1/22/2018
Associated Press: Trump business ethics pledges left plenty room for profiting by Bernard Condon and Tami Abdollah - Also, according to a report last week by the watchdog group Public Citizen, the Trump Organization has taken in more than $600,000 from dozens of political organizations, companies, foreign governments and officials using its hotels and resorts.“If the president does not divest from ownership, then suspicions galore arise that the president can be bought,” said Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen.

Mick Mulvaney’s crusade against protecting working folk from financial scams kicks into overdrive

1/19/2018
ThinkProgress: Mick Mulvaney’s crusade against protecting working folk from financial scams kicks into overdrive by Alan Pyke - “Trump agent Mick Mulvaney is inviting financial predators to help him dismantle consumer safeguards so that payday lenders and Wall Street banks once again can prey on millions of Americans,” Public Citizen’s Bart Naylor said in a statement following Wednesday’s announcement. “Now, financial firms whose business models rely on scams and rip-offs, may defang the consumer agency and write rules that invite more lucrative deceptions.”

Trump's inauguration money is still missing one year after his administration took control of the White House

1/18/2018
Newsweek: Trump's inauguration money is still missing one year after his administration took control of the White House by Linley Sanders - The money raised eyebrows among political operatives because there was nothing about the celebration that indicated it would exceed a more traditional price tag, according to the liberal-leaning consumer rights advocacy group, Public Citizen.For the group's government affairs lobbyist, Craig Holman, this has raised one key question that remains unanswered on the cusp of Trump's inaugural anniversary: where did the extra money go?  "It really raises a lot of suspicions that these funds were mismanaged and probably no longer even exist," Holman told Newsweek Wednesday.

Senate panel endorses Trump's pick for Health secretary

1/18/2018
The Los Angeles Times: Senate panel endorses Trump's pick for Health secretary by Noam N. Levey - “His central message was, yes, medicine prices are too high, but the problem is ‘the system’ and ‘incentives,’ not the big pharma companies that leverage their monopoly power to charge exorbitant amounts,” said Public Citizen president Robert Weissman.

Report: Trump has done a great job profiting off the presidency

1/18/2018
Vanity Fair: Report: Trump has done a great job profiting off the presidency by Bess Levin - ccording to a new report compiled by Public Citizen, a liberal-leaning watchdog organization based in Washington, over the past year 64 “politicians, interest groups, corporations and entities affiliated with foreign governments” have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at Trump-branded properties.

Coalition Defends Interventions against Holtec's NM High-Level Radioactive Waste Mega-Dump

1/18/2018
IndyBay: Coalition Defends Interventions against Holtec's NM High-Level Radioactive Waste Mega-Dump by Kevin Kamps - ...a seven-group coalition including Don’t Waste Michigan, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination (MI), Public Citizen (TX and DC), San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (CA), Nuclear Energy Information Service (IL), Citizens’ Environmental Coalition (NY), and Nuclear Issues Study Group (NM) (Terry Lodge, Toledo, OH).

Foreign groups stayed at Trump hotels to please him: report

1/16/2018
The New York Daily News: Foreign groups stayed at Trump hotels to please him: report by Christopher Brennan - Groups with something to gain from swaying the commander-in-chief's mind have stayed at his properties more than 60 times since his inauguration, according to a new report from watchdog group Public Citizen published Tuesday. The “Presidency for Sale” report says the largest spender at Trump properties has been Saudi Arabia, which allegedly used a public relations firm to spend $270,000 at the President's hotel in Washington D.C.

Foreign governments, candidates, trade groups spent at Trump properties: report

1/16/2018
Reuters: Foreign governments, candidates, trade groups spent at Trump properties: report by Reuters Staff - The arrangements represented “unprecedented conflicts of interest” because Trump oversees the federal government and has not divested from properties he owns or that carry his name, Public Citizen, a nonpartisan group, said in the report.

Watchdog: Foreign regimes, others spend big at Trump properties to ‘curry favor’

1/16/2018
NBC News: Watchdog: Foreign regimes, others spend big at Trump properties to ‘curry favor’ by Julia Ainsley and Rich Gardella - Four foreign governments, 16 special interest groups and 35 Republican congressional campaign committees spent money at Trump properties in 2017, according to data compiled by the government watchdog group Public Citizen.  A lawyer for President-elect Donald Trump outlined a plan during the presidential transition that was meant to resolve concerns about conflicts of interest between his presidency and his businesses.

Investors join calls for Facebook, Twitter to take more responsibility

1/12/2018
Wired: Investors join calls for Facebook, Twitter to take more responsibility by Nitasha Tiku - But when it comes to the negative health impact of devices like smartphones, Kristen Strader, campaign coordinator for the nonprofit group Public Citizen, says there are limits to what industry can solve. Government intervention may be necessarily. “We should absolutely see the [Federal Trade Commission] stepping in and addressing the advertising on social media and the [Federal Communications Commission] addressing some of the issues on data collection,” she says. “The problem is bigger than people are on their phones because they want to be on their phones.”

Critics say Trump’s plan to put Medicaid recipients to work is a bad idea. Here’s why.

1/12/2018
NBC News: Critics say Trump’s plan to put Medicaid recipients to work is a bad idea. Here’s why. by Benjy Sarlin - "It is stupid because it will actually prevent people from working — with health needs unattended, many low-income people will be unable to seek work," Robert Weissman, president of liberal advocacy group Public Citizen, said in a statement.

Power companies got a tax cut. Will your bill reflect it?

1/10/2018
The New York Times: Power companies got a tax cut. Will your bill reflect it? by Ben Casselman, Brad Plumer and Jim Tankersley - “There are huge differences in the quality of state utility regulation,” said Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program. “Some states are fantastic at holding utilities accountable. Others, not so much.”

GOP anxious with Trump on trade

1/9/2018
The Hill: GOP anxious with Trump on trade by Alexander Bolton - “This round is a pivot point where either Mexico and Canada will begin to engage on what are some transformational U.S. proposals with respect to countering the outsourcing of American jobs, or the probability increases dramatically that there could be notice to withdraw from NAFTA or some other major shake-up of the negotiations,” said Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

Mainstream media sucks at talking about climate change

1/9/2018
Grist: Mainstream media sucks at talking about climate change by Kate Yoder - Last year, you would have needed blinders on to miss the mounting signs of climate change. 2017, by most measures, was the worst hurricane season in history. Then, there were the deadly wildfires, the extreme droughts, the ash falling from the sky.  And yet new analysis from the watchdog group Public Citizen reveals that the media mostly failed to connect climate change to relevant news stories last year.

Kushner's financial ties to Israel deepen even with Mideast diplomatic role

1/8/2018
The New York Times: Kushner's financial ties to Israel deepen even with Mideast diplomatic role by Jesse Drucker - One issue, said Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, a nonprofit government ethics group, is that “the ethics laws were not crafted by people who had the foresight to imagine a Donald Trump or a Jared Kushner.” “No one could ever imagine this scale of ongoing business interests, not in a local peanut farm or a hardware store but sprawling global businesses that give the president and his top adviser personal economic stakes in an astounding number of policy interests,” Mr. Weissman added.

'Danger to the public': Car safety investigations on hold amid federal government shutdown

1/8/2018
USA TODAY: 'Danger to the public': Car safety investigations on hold amid federal government shutdown by Eric Lawrence and Todd Spangler - Joan Claybrook, who ran NHTSA in the Carter administration and later was president of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, said suspending defect investigations and the review of complaints coming in from manufacturers and consumers means that people are not being alerted about possible dangers being reported at this time.

Report: The media is bad at covering climate change and worse at covering solutions

1/5/2018
Fast Company: Report: The media is bad at covering climate change and worse at covering solutions by Melissa Locker - While President Trump has turned bashing the mainstream media into a form of performance art, sometimes the press does deserve some constructive criticism. For example, look no further than the media’s inadequate coverage of climate change and potential solutions—inadequate, at least, according to a new report by the watchdog group Public Citizen.

Senate sets Jan. 9 hearing for Health Secretary nominee

1/5/2018
Bloomberg BNA: Senate sets Jan. 9 hearing for Health Secretary nominee by Victoria Pelham and Alex Ruoff - Public Citizen, a left-leaning nonprofit focused on citizens’ rights, and more than 60 other groups, including unions and abortion rights activists, called on senators Jan. 3 to block Azar’s nomination. In a letter, Public Citizen cautioned against the nominee’s opposition to Obamacare, support of Medicaid block grants, and noncommittal stance on mandatory birth control coverage, as well as his background working for a drug company. His tenure at Eli Lilly saw an insulin price increase from $74 to $269 and lawsuits and state investigations over its insulin sales, the letter said.

Luxturna gene therapy for blindness to cost $850,000

1/4/2018
NBC News: Luxturna gene therapy for blindness to cost $850,000 by Maggie Fox - If insurance companies pay for patients to be treated, they'll pass along the costs to other patients in the form of higher premiums, Public Citizen's Peter Maybarduk said.  "Spark CEO Jeffrey Marrazzo’s comments, implying that $850,000 represents something other than greed, are absurd and obscene," Maybarduk said.

Labor Department eyes drug test rule for unemployment pay

1/3/2018
The Hill: Labor Department eyes drug test rule for unemployment pay by Lydia Wheeler - “Our perspective all along is this is possible,” said Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs at Public Citizen. “People shouldn’t treat the CRA like a scorched earth, ‘we can never regulate again in this space’ dictate.”

2017 marked a year of tearing down consumer protections 'brick by brick'

1/3/2018
Los Angeles Times: 2017 marked a year of tearing down consumer protections 'brick by brick' by David Lazarus - “This has been the most anti-regulatory and deregulatory administration in American history,” declared Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.  He told me “there is zero evidence” for the business community’s insistence that fewer rules translates to more jobs and a more vibrant economy.  “On the other hand, there is ample evidence for the benefits of regulation,” Weissman said. “Society is far, far better off, in economic terms, when there are rules on the books and constraints on corporate wrongdoing.”