May 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.

As centrist Democrats warm to government-sponsored healthcare, their road to single payer remains icy

5/31/2018
FierceHealthcare: As centrist Democrats warm to government-sponsored healthcare, their road to single payer remains icy by Mike Stankiewicz - Eagan Kemp, a healthcare policy advocate at Public Citizen, an advocacy group that supports single-payer healthcare, told FierceHealthcare that Feinstein’s shift on policy signals a larger growing acceptance among reluctant Democrats to expand government-sponsored healthcare, which could eventually lead to the party accepting a "Medicare for all" system. “Democrats are feeling pressure from the base to do more on healthcare,” Kemp added. “We are very happy with the level of support we’ve seen so far for progressive healthcare policies.”

U.S. Fed moves to soften rule that limits risky bank trades

5/31/2018
Agence France-Presse: U.S. Fed moves to soften rule that limits risky bank trades by John Biers - Bart Naylor, a financial policy advocate at Public Citizen, said easing up requirements on smaller banks made sense, but he was generally troubled that policymakers appeared much more fixated on easing bank requirements than on ensuring the bank system is safe. “We’re concerned that this empowers banks to do what they want to do and that is gamble with funds made cheap and available by taxpayers,” Naylor said in an interview.

FERC approves $2.7M cyber fine without naming names

5/31/2018
E&E News: FERC approves $2.7M cyber fine without naming names by Blake Sobczak - Tyson Slocum, energy program director for the consumer rights group Public Citizen, said yesterday he would review his options to further pressure public disclosure of the fined entity. Public Citizen and the Utility Reform Network filed a motion to intervene in the case in April, while the notice of penalty was still under review at FERC (Energywire, April 17). They said at the time that "concealing the name of the recipient of the largest fine in history sends a confusing message to the public that large penalties do not come with full accountability."

Former Perry adviser is FirstEnergy’s secret weapon in U.S. bailout

5/30/2018
Bloomberg: Former Perry adviser is FirstEnergy’s secret weapon in U.S. bailout by Ari Natter - “This is the swamp that Trump promised to drain,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Washington-based watchdog group Public Citizen. “The fact that it is becoming swampier shows that Trump is making no effort to clean up Washington.”

Wisconsin lawmakers got $164,000 in travel and perks last year from outside groups

5/29/2018
USA Today: Wisconsin lawmakers got $164,000 in travel and perks last year from outside groups by Keegan Kyle and Patrick Marley - Craig Holman, who helped draft a federal law a decade ago that restricted when outsiders could cover travel expenses for members of Congress, said he was not concerned about travel paid by nonpartisan organizations like the National Conference of State Legislatures. But he said he sees serious problems with having travel funded by ideological and political entities. "(Lawmakers) are being influenced by accepting gifts of travel and that's what these gifts are designed to do," said Holman, who is now the government affairs lobbyist for the watchdog group Public Citizen.

Concerned by Trump, some Republicans quietly align with Democrats

5/25/2018
The New York Times: Concerned by Trump, some Republicans quietly align with Democrats by Kenneth P. Vogel - “It was a kumbaya moment,” said Lisa Gilbert, an official at the left-leaning watchdog group Public Citizen, which helped coordinate lobbying by groups across the political spectrum.

Senate passes long-stalled bill to address sexual harassment on Capitol Hill

5/25/2018
CNN: Senate passes long-stalled bill to address sexual harassment on Capitol Hill by Sunlen Serfaty - "This bill contains numerous provisions that are contrary to key principles we've previously articulated, falls short of an acceptable compromise, and may have unintended negative consequences," says a letter sent to Senate leaders signed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Equal Pay Today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights National Women's Law Center and Public Citizen.

Veteran with PTSD alleges sexual abuse at hands of former VA social worker and therapist

5/23/2018
ABC 7 Eyewitness News: Veteran with PTSD alleges sexual abuse at hands of former VA social worker and therapist by Jovana Lara and Lisa Bartley - Dr. Michael Carome, of the non-profit watchdog group Public Citizen, said a sexual relationship between a patient and a social worker-therapist can never be consensual, especially if you consider Jackie's psychiatric history. "Absolutely not," Carome told Eyewitness News. "When you have a health care provider-patient relationship like this in which the power is significantly tilted toward the health care professional, this type of sexual relationship could never even be considered consensual. It represented sexual abuse, it's unacceptable."

Congress passes Dodd-Frank changes, but not the rewrite GOP wanted

5/23/2018
Washington Examiner: Congress passes Dodd-Frank changes, but not the rewrite GOP wanted by Joseph Lawler - Bartlett Naylor, an expert for the liberal consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, said that Dodd-Frank defenders have achieved relative success as Congress wasn’t able to undo more of its provisions.

Trump signs bill blocking consumer bureau auto-lending measure

5/22/2018
Politico: Trump signs bill blocking consumer bureau auto-lending measure by Zachary Warmbrodt -  “This controversial abuse of the CRA should never have been allowed to happen in the first place," said Amit Narang, regulatory policy advocate at Public Citizen. "By signing it, President Trump is turning his back on consumers by giving auto dealers license to discriminate against minorities.”

Can an obscure, 100-year-old patent law take on Big Pharma?

5/22/2018
Bloomberg: Can an obscure, 100-year-old patent law take on Big Pharma? by Jacquie Lee - Proposed solutions for lowering drug prices typically hinge on sweeping transformations within the drug-supply chain, but what if there’s a more immediate solution? There is, according to Sidney Wolfe, founder of Public Citizen’s health research group. The federal government should use a century-old patent law, usually referred to as Section 1498, to overlook branded drug patents and mass-manufacture generic drugs for the greater good, Wolfe told Bloomberg Law.

Amid ethics scrutiny, EPA’s Pruitt also finds his regulatory rollbacks hitting bumps

5/21/2018
The Washington Post: Amid ethics scrutiny, EPA’s Pruitt also finds his regulatory rollbacks hitting bumps by Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis - "The rules are coming in undercooked," said Amit Narang, regulatory policy advocate for the watchdog group Public Citizen.

Millions flow to fast-growing lobbying firms with ties to the Trump administration

5/18/2018
USA Today: Millions flow to fast-growing lobbying firms with ties to the Trump administration by Fredreka Schouten - Last week, the Public Citizen watchdog group filed complaints against Cohen, arguing that he violated federal ethics and lobbying laws by failing to register as a lobbyist.

The Finance 202: Trump's NAFTA pledge in danger as key deadline passes

5/17/2018
The Washington Post: The Finance 202: Trump's NAFTA pledge in danger as key deadline passes by Tory Newmyer - Yet others pushing for a rewiring of the 24-year-old trade pact say that timing is arbitrary, and negotiators still have weeks to continue their work. " 'The calendar made me do it' is not an excuse to quit on the American worker," Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said Wednesday in a conference call organized by Public Citizen and the AFL-CIO.

As Nafta deadline nears, four scenarios that could unfold

5/16/2018
The Wall Street Journal: As Nafta deadline nears, four scenarios that could unfold by William Mauldin - But in the long term, Trump’s campaign promises and prior warnings could lead him to return to a withdrawal from NAFTA if there is no deal at the negotiating table, according to people following the talks. “I don’t think that there’s any chance at this time next year we have the NAFTA status quo,” said Lori Wallach, senior trade expert at watchdog group Public Citizen, which backs some of the Trump administration’s controversial proposals.

Clients’ Cohen ties become PR liability

5/16/2018
The Hill: Clients’ Cohen ties become PR liability by Megan Wilson - While much of Cohen’s consulting work appears to fall within the law, there are still questions about whether any of his work involved direct advocacy or fell within lobbying laws. Public Citizen, a left-leaning government watchdog group, filed a complaint with the Justice Department and officials on Capitol Hill, asking them to look into whether his arrangements violated domestic or foreign lobbying laws.

The left keeps up the NAFTA pressure

5/14/2018
Politico: The left keeps up the NAFTA pressure by Adam Behsudi - Public Citizen’s Lori Wallach acknowledged that Lighthizer has been “making progress on important elements” in a revamped NAFTA but said the administration should “continue negotiating until they get a deal that would enjoy broad support.”

Were Trump's lawyer Cohen's actions legal?

5/11/2018
NPR: Were Trump's lawyer Cohen's actions legal? by Peter Overby - The watchdog group Public Citizen has asked the House, Senate and Justice Department to launch investigations of Cohen's D.C. activities. "His solicitations were very specific," Public Citizen's Craig Holman told NPR. "He would be bragging about his close connections to Donald Trump and others in the administration. And if you hired Michael Cohen, you'd have access to Trump and the administration."

Trump plan for drug prices seen largely sparing industry

5/11/2018
Reuters: Trump plan for drug prices seen largely sparing industry by Yasmeen Abutaleb - “The payments to Cohen are just another indicator of how deep the corrosive influence of the pharmaceutical industry goes in the Trump administration,” said Peter Maybarduk of advocacy group Public Citizen. “It makes sense that proposals we see coming out of the administration would be somewhat limited.”

Watchdog group wants DOJ to probe whether Trump lawyer violated lobbying laws

5/11/2018
ABC News: Watchdog group wants DOJ to probe whether Trump lawyer violated lobbying laws by Ali Dukakis - The complaint filed by Public Citizen on Thursday comes after Michael Avenatti, the attorney for adult film actress Stormy Daniels, this week published what he said were bank transactions showing more than $4.4 million in payments from a number of companies, some foreign and some domestic, to Essential Consultants LLC., a corporation Cohen set up in late 2016. In some cases, these clients had significant business interests in Washington.

A year after Comey's firing, scope of Mueller probe expands to lawyer's shell company

5/11/2018
The Huffington Post: A year after Comey's firing, scope of Mueller probe expands to lawyer's shell company by S.V. Date - “It’s unbelievable,” said Robert Weissman, president of the open government group Public Citizen. “We don’t know enough, so I can’t tell you if it was a bribe. But the facts that we have fit what bribes look like.”

‘I’m crushing it’: How Michael Cohen, touting his access to President Trump, convinced companies to pay millions

5/11/2018
The Washington Post: ‘I’m crushing it’: How Michael Cohen, touting his access to President Trump, convinced companies to pay millions by by Michael Kranish, Rosalind S. Helderman, Carolyn Y. Johnson and Josh Dawsey - Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy organization, said Cohen’s work at the firm should be disclosed because he was simultaneously Trump’s personal attorney and introducing clients to a lobbying firm that may have interests before the president and his administration.“This is the swamp of Washington,” Holman said, referring to Trump’s campaign metaphor about draining the city of special-interest players. “If you are the president’s attorney, you should not be in a position to enrich oneself.”

How can U.S. fight the opioid crisis? Try antidote patents

5/4/2018
Bloomberg: How can U.S. fight the opioid crisis? Try antidote patents by Christopher Yasiejko and Anna Edney - By overriding patents for naloxone treatments including Kaleo Inc.’s injectable Evzio and Adapt Pharma Inc.’s Narcan nasal spray, the government could lower the cost and increase availability of the antidote, Baltimore’s health department and Public Citizen said in a letter to the White House on Thursday.

Trump’s not king, but his party is paying him tribute anyway

5/4/2018
The Huffington Post: Trump’s not king, but his party is paying him tribute anyway by S.V. Date - “If you are a politician who, A, has no principles and, B, wants Donald Trump’s endorsement, then of course you will want to host your fundraising event at a Trump property,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, an open-government advocacy group that has successfully sued Trump for access to White House visitor logs. “There’s no better way to appeal to the transactional president, no better way to make a mark with the no-attention-span president.”

Top Interior official facing ethics questions after meetings with casino lobbyists

5/4/2018
ThinkProgress: Top Interior official facing ethics questions after meetings with casino lobbyists by Mark Hand - A government affairs lobbyist for watchdog group Public Citizen told HuffPost that Bernhardt’s meetings, especially the one with Norton, “gives every appearance that Bernhardt is personally involved in negotiating public policies that directly impact MGM and his former lobby firm.”