THIS WEEK: We are taking on vampires, testifying before the Federal Reserve and more!

"Public Citizen Lady Liberty"It’s another week here in Washington, D.C. The weather is cloudy, all the more reason we are determined to keep the light shining in the Halls of Power.

Public Citizen financial analyst Bartlett Naylor will be testifying before the Federal Reserve tomorrow regarding the proposed Capitol One/ING Direct merger. If you are among those who doesn’t want to see another bank created that’s “too big to fail” check out his blog post, “What’s in your bracket” or this piece quoting Naylor from Reuters, “Fed tested on ‘too big to fail’ in merger review.”

Though I am not sure of the weather now in Geneva, I am positive that if anyone could shine a light on the many critical issues of global trade, it’s our own Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch and one of the leading masterminds behind the 1999 Battle in Seattle. She will be presenting to and meeting with negotiators at a WTO public forum event this week.

Wednesday, our eyes are on congressional leaders who are set to markup H.R. 2847, the American Specialty Agriculture Act of 2011. H.R. 2847 as proposed would force agricultural workers into binding arbitration (that’s legalese for fine print that says, “by signing here, you can’t ever sue us if we screw you over”). The bill would also reduce oversight by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In short H.R. 2847, is one bad news combo for workers who are barely making minimum wage as it is.

Friday, we will participate with Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) in a press conference in the Capitol building to draw attention to her bill titled “Return to Prudent Banking” (essentially a restoration of the Glass-Steagall separation of commercial and investment banking). Come to HVC215 of the Capitol Visitor Center if you are in Washington, D.C. to hear our president Robert Weissman speak to the merits of this important legislation.

Speaking of investment bankers, you’ll want to be sure to tune back in tomorrow to read my next blog post regarding the heated debate that Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, has stirred up with his recent letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission regarding their failure to rein in Wall Street vampires. Oops! Did I say vampires? I meant “financial speculators.”

Finally, yet another Public Citizen-fueled fire stems from actions we took last week when we heard that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had decided to take down a database that tracks physicians malpractice records and has been open to the public for 15 years. This database has enabled us to do some kick-ass reports highlighting which state medical boards are failing to discipline doctors with documented violations that pose a threat to the public. The controversy HHS’s decision has incited is not going to die down any time soon, as the Los Angeles Times reports that many journalism organizations have joined the fight to restore the National Practitioner Data Bank.

Inevitably, more to come but above is a taste of THIS WEEK in The Halls of Power where your favorite watchdog is on the beat!

Flashback: 1973. Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox’s firing is deemed illegal in response to a Public Citizen lawsuit. JOIN US IN CELEBRATING 40 YEARS OF PROGRESS.