March 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.

EXCLUSIVE: EPA chief Pruitt joined by family in condo tied to lobbyist 'power couple'

3/30/2018
ABC News: EXCLUSIVE: EPA chief Pruitt joined by family in condo tied to lobbyist 'power couple' by John Santucci, Matthew Mosk and Stephanie Ebbs - Craig Holman, an ethics specialist at Public Citizen, a non-partisan watchdog group, wrote to the EPA Inspector General Thursday to request an investigation into the rental arrangement. If the rental arrangement was anything other than a market rate deal, he wrote, “it would at least constitute a violation of the federal statutes and executive branch rules prohibiting gifts to covered officials from prohibited sources.”

Dem calls on Pruitt to resign over rental deal with lobbyist

3/30/2018
The Hill: Dem calls on Pruitt to resign over rental deal with lobbyist by Timothy Cama - In addition to Beyer’s call for Pruitt to resign, Public Citizen, a left-leaning watchdog group, is asking the EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) to probe the matter. “While a market rate rental arrangement between Pruitt and the lobbyist ‘power couple’ would not pose a violation of conflict of interest or gift rules, neither the EPA nor the Harts would comment on whether the arrangement involved fair market rates,” the group wrote to the OIG.

White House claims win in Korea trade deal, faces skepticism

3/29/2018
Associated Press: White House claims win in Korea trade deal, faces skepticism by Paul Wiseman - "It's unclear how the proposed changes to the pact itself would reverse the doubling of our Korea trade deficit under KORUS," Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, which is critical of many U.S. trade agreements.

‘This situation . . . made my first four years of teaching so much harder’: How a grant became a loan

3/29/2018
The Washington Post: ‘This situation . . . made my first four years of teaching so much harder’: How a grant became a loan by Danielle Douglas-Gabriel - Numerous teachers have accused FedLoan Servicing, the company that oversees the program on behalf of the government, of converting grants in error and refusing to right the wrong. Now, Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, wants the U.S. Department of Education to disclose the full extent of the problem. On Wednesday, the group sued the Education Department seeking the release of records on the federal TEACH grant.

Watchdog group files ethics complaints against lobbyists who joined Trump administration

3/28/2018
ABC News: Watchdog group files ethics complaints against lobbyists who joined Trump administration by Ali Dukakis - Public Citizen, a non-profit consumer protection and government accountability advocacy group, filed 30 ethics complaints against the agencies and the White House after the group identified dozens of appointments in the Trump administration that it says appear to violate one of the president's ethics rules.

Government watchdog files 30 ethics complaints against Trump administration

3/26/2018
The Hill: Government watchdog files 30 ethics complaints against Trump administration by Julia Manchester - Public Citizen says in complaints obtained by NBC News that government employees have worked against President Trump Donald John Trump McCaskill: Clinton should be more careful in how she describes Trump voters Stormy Daniels lawyer slams critics who say there was 'nothing new' in '60 Minutes' interview Costello won't seek reelection in Pennsylvania MORE 's executive order to keep lobbyists out of the government.   "The bottom line is that neither Trump nor his administration take conflicts of interest and ethics seriously," Lisa Gilbert, the group's vice president of legislative affairs, t

Blizzard of ethics complaints filed against Trump administration by Public Citizen

3/26/2018
NBC News: Blizzard of ethics complaints filed against Trump administration by Public Citizen by Adam Edelman - A prominent government watchdog group has filed 30 ethics complaints with various federal agencies — including the White House — alleging that employees are working in violation of President Donald Trump's executive order intended to "drain the swamp" and keep government free of former lobbyists. The group, Public Citizen, filed the complaints in recent days, charging possible violations of ethics rules that Trump announced just days into his presidency.

Elizabeth Warren has a plan to make health care coverage cheaper and more reliable

3/22/2018
The Huffington Post: Elizabeth Warren has a plan to make health care coverage cheaper and more reliable by Daniel Marans - The consumer advocacy organizations Families USA, Public Citizen, Consumers Union and Community Catalyst have also endorsed Warren’s bill.

Mulvaney, Acosta override regulatory office to hide tips rule data

3/22/2018
Bloomberg Law: Mulvaney, Acosta override regulatory office to hide tips rule data by Ben Penn - To Amit Narang, a regulatory policy advocate at Public Citizen, Acosta and Mulvaney winning the day on the tip pool proposal suggests a disturbing pattern emerging of OIRA’s role being undermined under Trump. The White House has also been suspected of overruling OIRA in clearing Environmental Protection Agency regulations that would erase Obama-era rules.

Anti-abortion clinics take First Amendment case to Supreme Court

3/20/2018
The Hill: Anti-abortion clinics take First Amendment case to Supreme Court by Lydia Wheeler - But Scott Nelson, an attorney with the Public Citizen Litigation Group, worries a ruling in favor of NIFLA could ultimately limit states’ ability to force businesses to disclose key information about goods and services to consumers.  “Here, the state’s disclosure requirements are reasonably related to legitimate interests in ensuring that women seeking pregnancy-related care receive factual information that is highly material to the decision whether to seek care at specific facilities,” he wrote in a friend of the court brief siding with the state.

Senate gives consumers free credit freezes — but also gifts for Equifax

3/16/2018
Yahoo! Finance: Senate gives consumers free credit freezes — but also gifts for Equifax by Ethan Wolff-Mann - With the anti-liability provisions and the window into the mortgage business, Equifax’s win shows the lobbying power the company still has, something that has angered consumer advocate groups. Public Citizen’s Financial Policy Advocate Bartlett Naylor called for Congress to “do more to protect consumers” in a press release.

House defeats ‘right-to-try’ legislation to allow expanded use of experimental drugs

3/16/2018
The Washington Post: House defeats ‘right-to-try’ legislation to allow expanded use of experimental drugs by Laurie McGinley - Critics celebrated its demise. “We applaud the House members who voted against the seriously flawed False Hope legislation, which would have created a dangerous, uncharted pathway for accessing experimental medications that have not been shown to be safe or effective,” said Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, said in a statement. “The bill would have exposed vulnerable patients to risks of serious harm, including dying earlier and more painfully than they otherwise would have, without appropriate safeguards.”

Companies fretting over ‘foreign agents’ label

3/13/2018
The Hill: Companies fretting over ‘foreign agents’ label by Megan R. Wilson - Government watchdog groups such as Issue One and Public Citizen, which have long been champions of ethics reform, see the current political environment as the time to strike.

Trump administration wages a ‘war on information,’ group charges

3/13/2018
McClatchy: Trump administration wages a ‘war on information,’ group charges by Anita Kumar - In a new report to be released Tuesday, watchdog group Public Citizen outlined 25 ways President Donald Trump and federal agencies have conducted a so-called war on information over the last 14 months, largely eliminating data it finds inconvenient.

Companies are disclosing how much less they pay workers than executives

3/13/2018
The Huffington Post: Companies are disclosing how much less they pay workers than executives by Arthur Delaney and Dave Jamieson - Lisa Gilbert, a lobbyist and expert on executive pay with the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, said that if company leaders dreaded this day, they were right to do so. “It’s embarrassing,” Gilbert said. “We’re learning how little they pay their workers. We’re learning how much they pay their CEOs, and the ratios are stark.”

Republicans eye making bank bill even weaker for consumers

3/9/2018
Huffington Post: Republicans eye making bank bill even weaker for consumers by Arthur Delaney - “These are crumbs in an otherwise toxic bill,” Bart Naylor, a financial policy expert with the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, said in an interview. Naylor said it’s unfair that medical debt hurts anyone’s credit score in the first place.   “We actually think while veterans do deserve special attention, this slight nod in their direction should apply to everyone,” Naylor said. “Medical debt is certainly not a sign of profligate spending.”

What swamp? Lobbyists get ethics waivers to work for Trump

3/9/2018
Associated Press: What swamp? Lobbyists get ethics waivers to work for Trump by Michael Biesecker, Juliet Linderman and Richard Lardner - Craig Holman, who lobbies in Washington for stricter government ethics and lobbying rules on behalf of the advocacy group Public Citizen, said just five of the waivers under Obama went to former lobbyists, most of whom had worked for nonprofit groups. Although he was initially optimistic when Trump issued his executive order, Holman said Wednesday, "It is now quite evident that the pledge was little more than campaign rhetoric.

Trump's top economic advisor, Gary Cohn, to resign amid tariff dispute

3/7/2018
The Los Angeles Times: Trump's top economic advisor, Gary Cohn, to resign amid tariff dispute by Don Lee - "That his departure would be spurred over a trade policy dispute reveals that his years on Wall Street at Goldman Sachs apparently made his one unbending principle the defense of the corporate-managed trade policies," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. She said those policies have cost American jobs and hurt wages.

An important voice for free trade proponents goes silent

3/7/2018
The New York Times: An important voice for free trade proponents goes silent by Peter Baker - Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch and a longtime critic of trade deals, said the divide over trade crossed all sorts of traditional lines.  “The division is not Trump vs. G.O.P.,” she said, “but anyone contesting the trade and globalization status quo from the left or the right versus a shrinking but still powerful bipartisan elite defense of policies that have outsourced millions of middle-class jobs and pushed down Americans wages.”

Trump slams the brakes on Obama gun-safety measures

3/6/2018
NBC News: Trump slams the brakes on Obama gun-safety measures by Suzy Khimm - "It's directly at odds with what Trump has claimed is going to be a renewed interest in gun control regulations," said Amit Narang, regulatory policy advocate at Public Citizen.

How Demcorats are helping Trump dismantle Dodd-Frank

3/1/2018
The New Republic: How Demcorats are helping Trump dismantle Dodd-Frank by Talmon Joseph Smith - According to a Senate staffer close to the negotiations on the Democratic side, there is cautious optimism that there will be an open-amendment process, during which the senators currently opposed to the bill may propose amendments that might then allow them to reconsider their opposition. But advocacy groups like Indivisible and Public Citizen are rallying opposition on social media, furiously tweeting out damning quotes from fact sheets and citing polls showing support for more banking regulation. They are even hinting at primarying Democrat co-sponsors.

Kushner's family business received loans after White House meetings

3/1/2018
The New York Times: Kushner's family business received loans after White House meetings by Jesse Drucker, Kate Kelly and Ben Protess - The Trump administration no longer publicly discloses logs of visitors to the White House. In February, the White House settled litigation with Public Citizen, a nonprofit organization, and agreed to disclose some of that information.

Critics question undisclosed flow of money from foreign governments to Trump properties

3/1/2018
ABC News: Critics question undisclosed flow of money from foreign governments to Trump properties by Ali Dukakis - “The Constitution prohibits government officials gifts and things of value,” Robert Weissman, the president of the government watchdog group Public Citizen told ABC News. “The payments to the Trump properties are exactly the kinds of concerns that the framers had in mind because of your ability to buy or curry favor through direct payment to the president.”