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THIS WEEK in The Halls of Power . . . Policy pumpkins?, consumer database under attack and FEC hearing press conference

Earlier today, Allison Fisher, outreach director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, and other advocates had a scream at the Beyond Nuclear rally outside the Department of Energy headquarters. "public citizen pumpkin"

Meanwhile, policy advocates and media folks alike are on alert with news today that Public Citizen, the Consumer Federation of America and Consumers Union are asking a federal court to deny a company’s motion to seal all papers filed in its lawsuit against the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). In the underlying case, the company is trying to block the CPSC from posting on a publicly accessible database a consumer’s report of harm apparently caused by one of the company’s products.

Also today, an Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) panel conducts an evidentiary hearing in Rockville, Md., in the South Texas Project Combined License (COL) proceeding. The ASLB granted intervenor standing to Public Citizen, the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition, and the South Texas Association for Responsible Energy, and found they had submitted admissible contentions that challenge the COL application. The contention that will be addressed today involves the question of whether the application and NRC review properly accounts for energy-efficient building code rules in assessing the need for power.

Thursday morning at 9:15 a.m., Public Citizen and other good government groups will hold a press conference in advance of a hearing on the Federal Election Commission. We will highlight the failures of the FEC and call on President Barack Obama to fill the vacancies on the FEC so the agency can adequately enforce campaign finance laws. This is particularly important as candidates gear up for the presidential and congressional elections that are widely expected to be the most expensive ever.

On Thursday at 11:30 a.m., our president, Robert Weissman, is scheduled to give the key address to a coalition of unions gathering at Lafayette Square for an International Day of Action “Make Wall Street Pay.” In his address, he will make the case for a much needed financial transaction tax.

We’re not done with Thursday yet! On that day, the House Judiciary Committee will mark up the Regulatory Accountability Act, another bad regulatory bill. For more information on this please see the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards.

Finally, at some point this week, we will weigh in on our concerns about the proposed testing of the anthrax vaccine in children.

Of course, we cannot do all this work without a little fun from time to time– see the third place winner of our pumpkin carving contest to the right AND, look at what a great time we had at our 40th Anniversary Gala last week here.