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THIS WEEK in the Halls of Power: STOCK Act, Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations and another Bank of America video

"Public Citizen Lady Liberty"This Week in the Halls of Power has already been a busy one for us here at Public Citizen! But what’s new, right? By now you’re probably aware that a good public interest watchdog never sleeps!

Something else that never sleeps? Money. Yes, there’s some truth to that iconic Gordon Gekko line! And, we’ve seen it manifest in the watered-down House version of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. (See this piece by Public Citizen President Robert Weissman for details). Yesterday, we delivered a message from more than 46,000 people to U.S. Sen. Harry Reid (D- Nev.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) calling for a stronger STOCK Act, a piece of legislation we have long fought for. In its original Senate version, the STOCK Act would stop congressional insider trading. However, in the House form of the bill that Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) pushed for, a key provision calling for political intelligence consultants to register as lobbyists was stripped. out This will not do! By the overwhelming response we got on our petition drive, we saw that clearly, citizens want a strong STOCK Act.

People also want commonsense health, safety and environmental safeguards. Just think Wall Street, BP and Massey Energy . . . got regs? Yes, regulations, those so-called “job killers” that aren’t actually job killers. It’s time to put an end to the war on commonsense safeguards. Yesterday, Public Citizen President Robert Weissman testified before the House Committee of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law regarding a horrible bill, H.R. 4078, which would put a moratorium on new regulations for the next five years. Check out his written testimony and more information about several other outrageous bills at www.sensiblesafeguards.org, a large coalition that we lead with OMB Watch.

Another big item to watch over the next few weeks? The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement negotiations, the next round of which will be taking place in Australia. Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, and Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines Program, are already en route to Melbourne. While there, they will be presenting to trade negotiators, press and civil society groups in hopes of counteracting the heavy corporate lobbying efforts by transnational corporations as reported about by National Journal’s Chris Frates last Friday.

On Thursday, we will be posting another video highlighting why we think Bank of America needs to be broken up. If you like music, you’ll love this. It’s a must-see.

Also Thursday, Public Citizen attorney Michael Kirkpatrick will also be speaking at the Impact Fund’s class action conference in Berkeley, Calif. To understand why we are so concerned about the future of class action lawsuits, check out this post and www.fairarbitrationnow.org.

Finally, on Friday, Public Citizen Energy Program Director Tyson Slocum and Scott Nelson, veteran Public Citizen attorney, will be co-hosting a panel at the University of Oregon Law School as part of the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, which is widely considered to be the more important environmental law conferences around. The topic of their panel is environmental advocacy in a Post-Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission world. The event brings about 1,000 of America’s leading environmental attorneys together. Slocum’s portion of the panel will be dedicated to a discussion of the impacts of Citizens United on the clean energy and climate movements.

Of course, stay tuned to us on Twitter @Public_Citizen as well for breaking news, and be sure to check out our ACTION CENTER for highlights of the many other ongoing campaigns we are engaged in as we fight to make sure your voices are heard this week, and every week, in the Halls of Power!