This week in the Halls of Power: in court, in Congress and in the streets

"Public Citizen Lady Liberty"This week in The Halls of Power we have our hands full as usual. Setting the record straight on regulations was first on our list today as we convened a briefing on Capitol Hill featuring testimony by small business owners and experts ready to put real facts up against the sky-is-falling claims that Big Business proponents love to circulate. Apparently,  two GOP staffers that showed up. We know it’s hard to resist a free nibbles, but hey guys, if you are going to show up, try not to sigh every 10 seconds, okay? 

As Lady Liberty types this blog post, Public Citizen lawyer and Internet freedom of speech expert Paul Levy is preparing to argue as amicus at a Thomas Cooley v. Doe hearing in Michigan today. That’s a case involving an online anonymous critic of a law school who is being pursued by the school.

Tomorrow, Public Citizen President Robert Weissman will participate in a panel at the Take Back America conference, discussing issues related to exorbitant executive pay, how it contributes to malpractice and must be reformed. Both today and tomorrow, our new organizers, who are dedicated to advancing our campaign to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, will be tabling with our partners People for the American way. Swing by to find out how you can help the movement!

Also tomorrow, a much-anticipated meeting of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the topic of discussion will be … position limits! Will the CFTC rule in favor of consumers or of the Wall Street Vampires?!

On Wednesday  and Thursday, Dr. Michael Carome, deputy director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, will be giving a keynote address titled, “Pills, Potions, and Profits” at the University of Wyoming’s annual Consumer Issues Conference. He also will be leading a break-out session discussing the influence of the pharmaceutical industry over physician prescribing practices. For more on our four-decade long crusade against dangerous drugs, including current drugs we are petitioning the FDA to ban, click here.

Speaking of over-prescribing, Thursday marks another stop along the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Snake Oil Tour where former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and former White House Bushie Andy Card will cash in on their revolving door transition into the world of Big Business spin. Don’t worry though, we are ready to set the record straight.  Job killers? Hardly!  Sorry guys, you’ve been deBUNKED! (Cough)  Next?

What?! Next up is Richard Cordray. Who is that? Well, Cordray is the man Obama nominated to head up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Though we were big supporters of Elizabeth Warren to head the agency, we think Cordray can deliver, and we hope you will take a moment to urge your representatives to approve him so he can get to work. It’s been more than a year since Congress passed the Wall Street Reform bill that created the agency. The last thing we need is to leave the watch tower unoccupied in these troubling financial times.

Finally, the Keystone Pipeline-o-sludge! Will Obama stand up to the pusher-men, or are we destined to stay addicted to dangerous oil forever? On Friday, Public Citizen Energy Program Outreach Director Allison Fisher will be testifying to the State Department about why the pipeline shouldn’t be approved. She also will be helping get people out to a protest at the Ronald Regan Building in Washington, D.C., where the hearing is being held. Fisher was among the almost a thousand people arrested by the White House for opposing the pipeline.

And that, my friends, is but a glimpse of our work on your behalf THIS WEEK in The Halls of Power.