February 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.

Trump Org. donates foreign profits but won't say how much

2/27/2018
The Associated Press: Trump Org. donates foreign profits but won't say how much by Tami Abdollah - Watchdog group Public Citizen questioned the spirit of the pledge in a letter to the Trump Organization earlier this month since the methodology used for donations would seemingly not require any donation from unprofitable properties receiving foreign government revenue. Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, said that the lack of disclosure was unsurprising given that the Trump's family businesses have "a penchant for secrecy and a readiness to violate their promises."  "Did they pay with Monopoly money?

A wave of corporate propaganda is boosting Trump's tax cuts

2/23/2018
The Nation: A wave of corporate propaganda is boosting Trump's tax cuts by Joshua Holland - According to Public Citizen, 6,243 lobbyists – more than half of the total number of active lobbyists in DC– worked on the bill, which works out to 11 for each and every lawmaker in Congress.

Why business is glued to high court's public sector labor case

2/23/2018
Bloomberg Law: Why business is glued to high court's public sector labor case by Ben Penn - “There are several reasons why private employers care about the case—and none of it has to do with their interest in the First Amendment rights of workers,” Adam Pulver, an attorney with the Public Citizen Litigation Group, which supports AFSCME, told Bloomberg Law. “Rather, they want to see a further weakening of unionism in America.”

Book Trump? Interest groups press case at his properties

2/22/2018
Associated Press: Book Trump? Interest groups press case at his properties by Tami Abdollah and Stephen Braun - In the first year of the Trump presidency, the watchdog group Public Citizen counted at least 19 interest groups that held events at Trump properties, including those representing miners, oil drillers, hedge fund operators, insurers, funeral home directors and commercial real estate investors.

Public Citizen says PJM violated FPA with political contributions

2/22/2018
Utility Dive: Public Citizen says PJM violated FPA with political contributions by Gavin Bade - "This entire episode is unseemly, I am shocked that PJM is defending these expenditures, and it demonstrates the need for aggressive FERC oversight of RTO administrative expenses," Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's energy program, said in an email.

Sen. Whitehouse: Trump is in the back pocket of billionaires

2/22/2018
CNN: Sen. Whitehouse: Trump is in the back pocket of billionaires by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse - They don't influence Trump -- they man his administration. According to a report by Public Citizen, a progressive advocacy group, 44 administration officials come from Koch-backed organizations or political groups. EPA Administrator Pruitt has been heavily supported by the Kochs (including $3 million spent to boost his confirmation), as has Energy Secretary Perry (including tens of thousands of dollars in donations to his campaigns).

U.S. grid operator fires back at group over political payments

2/21/2018
Bloomberg: U.S. grid operator fires back at group over political payments by Stephen Cunningham - The consumer advocacy group Public Citizen filed a complaint on Tuesday with federal regulators about $456,500 worth of ratepayer money that, it said, grid manager PJM Interconnection LLC used to make campaign contributions to Republican and Democratic governors associations. PJM shot back, saying the payments were actually made to cover membership fees that allowed it to participate in energy-related policy summits.

Trump's inaugural committee paid $26 million to firm of First Lady's adviser

2/16/2018
The New York Times: Trump's inaugural committee paid $26 million to firm of First Lady's adviser by Maggie Haberman and Kenneth P. Vogel - But Craig Holman, an official with the government watchdog group Public Citizen, which had called on the inaugural committee to release more details about its finances sooner, described the payments to Ms. Winston Wolkoff’s firm and other expenditures as “fiscal mismanagement at its worst.”

Big tech fights backlash with White House lobbying blitz

2/16/2018
Bloomberg: Big tech fights backlash with White House lobbying blitz by Ben Brody, Naomi Nix and Bill Allison - “The biggest tech companies have shifted gears and put a lot resources into lobbying and into the executive branch in particular," said Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for nonprofit Public Citizen. Oracle declined to comment, while other tech companies didn’t respond to requests.

GOP strands Labor Dept. in tip pool, as the left swarms

2/16/2018
Bloomberg BNA: GOP strands Labor Dept. in tip pool, as the left swarms by Ben Penn - “I think that it’s critical that Congress conducts robust oversight here and get to the bottom of what happened,” Amit Narang, a regulatory policy advocate at Public Citizen, told Bloomberg Law.

Trump's inauguration: Record spending leaves little for charities

2/16/2018
NPR: Trump's inauguration: Record spending leaves little for charities by Peter Overby - Public Citizen, a liberal watchdog group, and the lawyers' group Campaign Legal Center both pounced on the filing as proof that inaugural committees need better disclosure. Craig Holman of Public Citizen said the filing showed fiscal mismanagement, adding that it's "no wonder" the inaugural committee didn't make voluntary disclosures.

Trump administration agrees to post visitor logs for some White House offices

2/16/2018
Politico: Trump administration agrees to post visitor logs for some White House offices by Josh Gerstein - The non-profit group Public Citizen filed suit last August, arguing that the Secret Service had illegally rebuffed requests for visitor logs for White House offices covered by the Freedom of Information Act. Public Citizen's Robert Weissman said the arrangement would provide useful information about some seeking to wield influence on the White House. “The Trump administration aimed to keep secret the names of the people visiting the White House in order to keep the public in the dark about the corporate takeover of our government,” Weissman said.

Groups sue over Trump cuts to teen pregnancy prevention program

2/15/2018
The Hill: Groups sue over Trump cuts to teen pregnancy prevention program by Jessie Hellmann - The groups are represented by lawyers at Planned Parenthood, Democracy Forward, Public Citizen and Arnold & Porter. “The Trump administration is attempting to unlawfully terminate a successful program to reduce teen pregnancy based on an ideologically driven crusade,” said Sean Sherman, an attorney at the Public Citizen.

Nine organizations sue Trump administration for ending grants to teen pregnancy programs

2/15/2018
The Washington Post: Nine organizations sue Trump administration for ending grants to teen pregnancy programs by Ariana Eunjung Cha - Attorneys from Planned Parenthood, Democracy Forward and Public Citizen accused officials of attempting to illegally dismantle the program based on ideological beliefs rather than science.

Trump fires first salvo on drug prices

2/14/2018
The Hill: Trump fires first salvo on drug prices by Peter Sullivan - “The administration is taking great pains to avoid really challenging pharma,” said Peter Maybarduk, who advocates for lowering drug prices at the group Public Citizen.

Senate Republicans kept provision to fight high drug prices out of spending bill, Democrats say

2/8/2018
The Intercept: Senate Republicans kept provision to fight high drug prices out of spending bill, Democrats say by David Dayen - “Foregoing the CREATES Act is a mistake and a lost opportunity to curb the abusive practices of prescription drug corporations,” wrote Public Citizen, a consumer rights advocacy group, in a statement. “Americans overwhelmingly support disciplining Big Pharma to help make therapies affordable.”

For privacy advocates, Nunes' criticism of the FBI brings mental whiplash

2/7/2018
The Los Angeles Times: For privacy advocates, Nunes' criticism of the FBI brings mental whiplash by Evan Halper - "We need to see more transparency" around government monitoring, said Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs at the watchdog group Public Citizen. "But it needs to be balanced with this investigation needing to continue."

House passes package to combat Capitol Hill harassment

2/7/2018
Politico: House passes package to combat Capitol Hill harassment by Elana Schor - Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist with the nonprofit group Public Citizen's Congress Watch, said in a statement that the outside ethics office "must remain a strong, independent check within Congress, and we remain committed to fighting against any weakening of the office’s power."  "It is unfortunate that this good and necessary measure is being used to undercut the office’s role in the ethics process." Holman added.

Trump said he’d shrink the trade deficit with China. It just hit a record high.

2/6/2018
The Washington Post: Trump said he’d shrink the trade deficit with China. It just hit a record high. by David J. Lynch - “Right now, the same trade policy that Trump attacked ferociously and promised to speedily replace is still in place,” said Lori Wallach, director and founder of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. “The first-year Trump jump in the U.S. trade deficit adds urgency to the administration actually securing a NAFTA replacement deal that ends NAFTA’s job outsourcing incentives and implementing a new China trade policy.”

U.S.-China trade deficit hits record, fueling trade fight

2/6/2018
The New York Times: U.S.-China trade deficit hits record, fueling trade fight by Ana Swanson - “The same trade policy that Trump attacks ferociously and promised to speedily replace is still in place,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “It’s not surprising that the deficit is up because in year one there has been a wide gulf between Trump’s fiery trade rhetoric and action.”

Trade 'disaster' worsens under Trump

2/6/2018
Politico: Trade 'disaster' worsens under Trump by Doug Palmer - “They’ve got a lot of irons in the fire and some of the things that they are proposing are good ideas” that could help balance trade, said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “But if you look at ... the laws and policies in force, they are the same as they were a year ago and not surprisingly, you have the same kind of results that Trump attacked as a candidate.”

Sanders and Trump agree NAFTA has to change. They split on how to fix it.

2/2/2018
The Washington Post: Sanders and Trump agree NAFTA has to change. They split on how to fix it. by Jeff Stein - “The surprising and exciting thing is how much overlap there is between the administration’s proposal and progressive demands about removing NAFTA’s job outsourcing incentives,” said Lori Wallach, of the left-leaning nonprofit watchdog Public Citizen. “The problematic part is that, so far, the necessary environmental and labor standard improvements have not been proposed, and some rollbacks of consumer protections are on the agenda.”

Legal fees consumed 40% of Trump campaign spending at year's end

2/1/2018
USA Today: Legal fees consumed 40% of Trump campaign spending at year's end by Fredreka Schouten and Christopher Schnaars - In his first year, Trump has delivered fiery speeches to campaign rallies around the country. During Tuesday night's State of the Union address, he raised campaign money by scrolling donors' names during a live stream of his speech to Congress. (On Wednesday, Trump's unorthodox move drew a formal ethics complaint to Congress from the liberal watchdog group Public Citizen, which argued that broadcast of official floor proceedings in the U.S. House cannot be used for political purposes.)

Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, C.D.C. director, resigns over tobacco and other investments

2/1/2018
The New York Times: Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, C.D.C. director, resigns over tobacco and other investments by Sheila Kaplan - But Craig Holman, the government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, the consumer advocacy group, said not knowing about the investments a manager is making on your behalf is not an excuse. “You cannot just say the manager can do whatever he or she wants to do as long as I don’t know about it,” he said. “That’s not the conflict of interest code.”