June 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.

Interior Dept. watchdog looking at Zinke's involvement in real estate development connected to oil company executive

6/29/2018
ABC News: Interior Dept. watchdog looking at Zinke's involvement in real estate development connected to oil company executive by Stephanie Ebbs - Zinke's wife, Lola, is still listed as an officer of the foundation in public records and their daughter is the treasurer. The nonprofit watchdog group Public Citizen wrote to Interior's ethics office this week calling for them to investigate whether Zinke's or his family's business relationship with Halliburton violated federal ethics rules.

FEC struggles to craft new rules for political ads in the digital space

6/29/2018
The Washington Post: FEC struggles to craft new rules for political ads in the digital space by Michelle Ye Hee Lee - "Merely taking that step and requiring that type of disclaimer and creating disclosure across the board on the Internet will help put everyone on alert that this is a concern that the Federal Election Commission and others are trying to address,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for the watchdog group Public Citizen.

Farewell to Anthony Kennedy, author of some of the most ludicrous pronouncements in Supreme Court history

6/28/2018
The Intercept: Farewell to Anthony Kennedy, author of some of the most ludicrous pronouncements in Supreme Court history by Jon Schwarz - Kennedy’s bizarre assertion is based on a belief that money in politics only amounts to corruption if it involves notarized memos. “Kennedy argued that independent expenditures by definition could not have a corrupting effect on elected officials,” says Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “By definition, because the political spender did not obtain a signed agreement for a favor in exchange for the political spending. There are perhaps five people in Washington, D.C. who think this reflects how political spending works.

Trump has appointed some major corporate cronies, but this FTC stooge might beat them all

6/28/2018
The Intercept: Trump has appointed some major corporate cronies, but this FTC stooge might beat them all by David Dayen - Public Citizen obtained the financial disclosure through a Freedom of Information Act request and provided it to The Intercept. “Consumers deserve a consumer protection advocate in this position, not a hired gun for corporate sharks,” said Remington A. Gregg, Public Citizen’s counsel for civil justice and consumer rights. “Even in instances where Smith is recused from participating in decisions that pertain to former clients, his many perceived conflicts of interest do not instill confidence that he is first and foremost looking out for consumers’ best interests.”

FTC's new head of consumer protection is a major corporate shill

6/28/2018
Gizmodo: FTC's new head of consumer protection is a major corporate shill by AJ Dellinger - According to his financial disclosure forms—obtained via Freedom of Information Act by nonprofit consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen and published by The Intercept—Smith has taken money from just about every major player in every industry that he will be tasked with overseeing. Surely that won’t affect his judgment at all...right? Here’s what Remington A. Gregg, Public Citizen’s counsel for civil justice and consumer rights, had to say about Smith: "The bureau that Andrew Smith leads plays a pivotal role in protecting consumers.

Democrats take aim at 'dark money' with eye on midterm elections

6/28/2018
Bloomberg: Democrats take aim at 'dark money' with eye on midterm elections by Bill Allison - "It shouldn’t take secret money from foreign nations to prod transparency,” said Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs for Public Citizen, an advocacy organization that opposes corporate influence. “But now that we are in just that crisis, the bill deserves a hearing, attention and passage."

Trump backs softer restrictions on Chinese investment

6/28/2018
The New York Times: Trump backs softer restrictions on Chinese investment by Ana Swanson, Alan Rappeport and Jim Tankersley - Data released this week from Public Citizen, a liberal advocacy group and think tank, showed that 56 percent of Chinese investments in the United States last year were in industries that Beijing defines as “strategic,” such as aviation, biotechnology and new-energy vehicles — up from 25 percent in 2016.

Consumer groups urge FTC to probe Google, Facebook data-consent tactics

6/28/2018
The Hill: Consumer groups urge FTC to probe Google, Facebook data-consent tactics by Ali Breland - The other groups that signed the FTC letter are Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Public Citizen and U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

Watchdog group finds more spending at Trump properties by foreign governments, political groups

6/28/2018
ABC News: Watchdog group finds more spending at Trump properties by foreign governments, political groups by Ali Dukakis - In a report published on Wednesday called “Hotel Swamplandia: 200 Big Spenders at President Donald Trump’s Businesses,” Public Citizen, a non-profit consumer protection and government accountability group, identified what they called “the interest groups, companies, politicians and governments most enthusiastically embracing Trump and spending money socializing at his properties around the country, ostensibly to curry favor with the president.” For Alan Zibel, research director of Public Citizen’s Corporate Presidency project, the spending makes it difficult to separate Trump’s private and

Trump family border policy could trip up CFPB nominee

6/21/2018
Bloomberg: Trump family border policy could trip up CFPB nominee by Evan Weinberger -  Kraninger’s lack of experience on consumer finance issues means that her potential work on the zero-tolerance policy could provide a window into her views on a range of issues, Lisa Gilbert, the vice president of legislative affairs at consumer group Public Citizen, told Bloomberg Law in a June 19 phone interview.“The things that we could find out about her DHS experience could be quite troubling,” she said.

Public Citizen seeks probe of Zinke connection to Halliburton chairman

6/21/2018
Politico: Public Citizen seeks probe of Zinke connection to Halliburton chairman by Ben Lefebvre -  Public Citizen is asking the Interior Department’s top ethics officer to determine whether the arrangement violates any federal laws. A foundation Zinke launched to build a park in his hometown is aiding a proposed mixed-use real estate development backed by Halliburton Chairman David Lesar, as POLITICO reported Tuesday.

Here's what is known about the surprising choice to lead the CFPB

6/19/2018
MarketWatch: Here's what is known about the surprising choice to lead the CFPB by Francine McKenna - “With the choice of Kathy Kraninger, it is crystal clear that Mick Mulvaney wants to continue to pull the strings at the CFPB. In little more than six months of his improper leadership at the agency, Mulvaney has shut down enforcement, rolled back rules and demoralized staff – all to benefit big banks and predatory lenders. If Kraninger is confirmed, we should expect more of the same. The American people deserve better,” said Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs, Public Citizen in a statement.

Head of national and Dulles is among highest-paid U.S. airport executives

6/19/2018
The Washington Post: Head of national and Dulles is among highest-paid U.S. airport executives by Lori Aratani - But government watchdogs say the airports authority needs to be more transparent. “MWAA should be seen as a quasi-public agency whose obligation is to serve the public’s interests,” said Craig Holman, a government-affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen. “This means that salaries, including the salary of the agency’s CEO, should be commensurate with the salaries of comparable airport authorities, and most certainly these salaries and benefits should be subject to public scrutiny."

White House leaves harassment guidance in limbo

6/13/2018
Bloomberg: White House leaves harassment guidance in limbo by Chris Opfer - “This is very strange,” Amit Narang, a regulatory policy advocate at Public Citizen, told Bloomberg Law. “The fact that it’s just been sitting there for so long—and already the review of guidance documents is much less formal than for regulations—has made this a really curious situation.” Part of the reason OIRA doesn’t get to review independent agency guidance is to cut down on politics impacting the substance of the regulation,” Public Citizen’s Narang said. “That’s the whole point of their independence.”

Senators: Convicted lobbyists need to disclose their record

6/13/2018
Roll Call: Senators: Convicted lobbyists need to disclose their record by Kate Ackley - Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the liberal group Public Citizen and a proponent of government transparency, called the effort a “fairly straightforward transparency bill that proposes one additional disclosure” for lobbyists. “It does not offer a dramatic change in the lobby disclosure laws, and it plays on the popular perception that many lobbyists are corrupt, so it could well get some legs in Congress,” Holman said. “The markup will show if the measure enjoys some broad support.”

Mick Mulvaney changed the CFPB’s sign to BCFP

6/12/2018
Vox: Mick Mulvaney changed the CFPB’s sign to BCFP by Emily Stewart - “I think [Mulvaney] means to be very explicit that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is subordinating consumers — consumers no longer come first at the CFPB,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, in a phone call. He quipped, “I’m sure what he’d rather do is just take out the C altogether.”

SEC should revisit stock buyback limits, commissioner says

6/12/2018
Pensions & Investments: SEC should revisit stock buyback limits, commissioner says by Hazel Bradford - Bartlett Naylor, financial policy advocate for watchdog group Public Citizen, commended Mr. Jackson for highlighting "one of the most profound misallocations of capital. Because executives are free from anti-manipulation rules, they've steered hundreds of billions in buybacks to pad millions onto their stock-fed paychecks. The SEC can and must fix this mess," Mr. Naylor said.

Major Trump donor helped Pruitt pick EPA science advisers

6/11/2018
Politico: Major Trump donor helped Pruitt pick EPA science advisers by Emily Holden and Anthony Adragna - Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for the watchdog group Public Citizen, said Deason's influence in the process "raises serious concerns." "That should have been a merit-based process of selection and not based on the wishes of personal friends and major party donors," Holman said. "It's a sad reflection of what we're seeing going on throughout the Trump administration.

Trump's consumer agency chief looks to shut down database of consumer complaints

6/8/2018
The Los Angeles Times: Trump's consumer agency chief looks to shut down database of consumer complaints by David Lazarus - Fun fact: Eight of the 10 financial institutions with the most complaints in the database contributed to Mulvaney while he was in Congress, according to an analysis by the advocacy group Public Citizen.

US trade deficit falls for second straight month in April

6/6/2018
Associated Press: US trade deficit falls for second straight month in April by Paul Wiseman - "The trade deficit has worsened considerably since President Trump took office," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch and a critic of U.S. trade policy. She added: "If Trump is serious about reducing our trade deficit, then he must stay focused on changing China's unfair trade practices, not settle for the usual Chinese promises to buy more U.S. exports." Wallach also said NAFTA needs a major overhaul.

Aide sought a new apartment for Scott Pruitt, and an ‘old mattress’ from Trump Hotel

6/4/2018
The New York Times: Aide sought a new apartment for Scott Pruitt, and an ‘old mattress’ from Trump Hotel by Lisa Friedman and Eric Lipton - Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, a nonprofit ethics group, said that Mr. Pruitt’s reliance on Ms. Hupp was a violation of federal ethics rules. “Pruitt apparently believes the agency is at his service to attend to his personal needs, whims and desires for luxurious accommodations,” Mr. Weissman said. “Usually public servants think they are working for the public.”

Trump flexes power of pardon

6/4/2018
The Hill: Trump flexes power of pardon by Niall Stanage - “It makes us increasingly worried,” said Lisa Gilbert of Public Citizen, a not-for-profit watchdog group. “Trump’s feeling that people who say the right things or show some kind of loyalty or play on his team should be pardoned is completely antithetical to how our justice system works.”