Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Jul 13, 2009 Tiny Airports Get Big Cut of Stimulus Cash: Small, Rural Airports Get Big Payouts While Safety Violations at Major National Airports Get Little Attention
QUOTE: taxpayers may be surprised to find "that airports they never heard of in communities they will never visit are getting some of the maximum stimulus grants," says Michael Grabell of the non-profit journalism group ProPublica.
CBS News Jul 09, 2009 Europe Is Studying Delays in Access to Generic Drugs
QUOTE: Europe’s antitrust regulator took aim at drug companies in France, Israel, India and the United States on Wednesday after a lengthy inquiry into practices that it claimed kept low-cost medicines from reaching consumers quickly.
New York Times Jul 07, 2009 Florida aided Allen Stanford, suspect in huge swindle: Florida regulators -- over objections by the state's top banking lawyer -- gave sweeping powers to banker Allen Stanford, accused of swindling in
QUOTE: Over objections by the state's chief banking lawyer -- including concerns that [Allen] Stanford was laundering money -- regulators granted sweeping powers never given to a private company.
Miami Herald Jul 06, 2009 Familiar Players in Health Bill Lobbying: Firms Are Enlisting Ex-Lawmakers, Aides
QUOTE: The nation's largest insurers, hospitals and medical groups have hired more than 350 former government staff members and retired members of Congress in hopes of influencing their old bosses and colleagues.... public interest groups and reform advocates complain that the concentration of former government aides on K Street has distorted the health-care debate,
Washington Post Jul 03, 2009 Purity of Federal 'Organic' Label Is Questioned
QUOTE: the USDA [organic food] program's shortcomings mean that consumers, who at times must pay twice as much for organic products, are not always getting what they expect: foods without pesticides and other chemicals, produced in a way that is gentle to the environment.
Washington Post Jul 02, 2009 Congress's Travel Tab Swells:Spending on Taxpayer-Funded Trips Rises Tenfold; From Italy to the Galápagos
QUOTE: Spending by lawmakers on taxpayer-financed trips abroad has risen sharply in recent years, a Wall Street Journal analysis of travel records shows,
Wall Street Journal, The (WSJ) Jun 26, 2009 Bailout of U.S. Banks Gives British Rum a $2.7 Billion Benefit
QUOTE: Congress inserted the tax benefits for companies other than banks in a fog of confusion and panic after the House of Representatives rejected the first attempt to fund the bank support effort urged by then President George W. Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
Jun 19, 2009 Facebook Taps Privacy Hawk as Lobbyist: Former ACLU Counsel Working to Build Technology Firm's Beltway Clout
QUOTE: Facebook's newly minted lobbyist used to be one of the company's most formidable adversaries. [Timothy Sparapani] argued that Internet companies have too much control over consumers' data....
Washington Post Jun 10, 2009 Lobbyists unlimited in honoring lawmakers
QUOTE: Despite a ban on gifts to lawmakers and limits on campaign contributions, lobbyists and groups that employ them can spend unlimited money to honor members of Congress or donate to non-profits connected to them or their relatives.
USA TODAY Jun 04, 2009 Growing White House ties to Google draw protest: Consumer groups object to expected selection of Google exec to deputy CTO post
QUOTE: White House's reported plan to appoint another Google Inc. executive to a top tech advisory post is, for some, carrying the idea [a "Google-enabled government"] too far.
Computerworld Apr 23, 2009 Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate
QUOTE: For more than a decade the Global Climate Coalition, a group representing industries with profits tied to fossil fuels, led an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign against the idea that emissions of heat-trapping gases could lead to global warming.... even as the coalition worked to sway opinion, its own scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted.
New York Times Apr 20, 2009 Lawmaker Is Said to Have Agreed to Aid Lobbyists
QUOTE: [Representative Jane Harman of California was] overheard on telephone calls intercepted by the National Security Agency agreeing to seek lenient treatment from the Bush administration for two pro-Israel lobbyists who were under investigation...
New York Times Mar 29, 2009 Star Lobbyist Closes Shop Amid F.B.I. Inquiry
QUOTE: ...[federal] prosecutors’ initial questions have focused on the possibility that Mr. Magliocchetti used straw campaign contributors.... as a front to funnel illegal donations to friendly lawmakers, a felony that could carry a minimum sentence of five years.
New York Times Mar 21, 2009 Some Activists Barred From Government Work: Nonprofits and Public Interest Groups Are Hurrying to Meet Obama's Strict New Ethics Guidelines
QUOTE: But the standards [ethics guidelines] he [President Obama] has put in place are so broad that all lobbyists -- including those working for charities and public interest groups -- are prohibited from working in the administration unless they are granted an exception
Washington Post Nov 15, 2008 In Transition, Tangle of Ties to Lobbying
QUOTE: President-elect Barack Obama has imposed stricter conflict-of-interest restrictions on his White House transition team than any president before him. But a list of transition team members that his office made public on Friday includes a complicated tangle of ties to private influence-seekers.
New York Times Nov 10, 2008 A Quiet Windfall For U.S. Banks: With Attention on Bailout Debate, Treasury Made Change to Tax Policy
QUOTE: ...Administration officials had just given American banks a windfall of as much as $140 billion. The sweeping change to two decades of tax policy escaped the notice of lawmakers for several days, as they remained consumed with the controversial bailout bill.
Washington Post Nov 05, 2008 Google Wins the Presidential Election (So Does Obama)
QUOTE: if Lessig has Obama's ear, you might see more policies leaning towards "fair use" of other people's copyrighted works. That also dovetails with Google's agenda, which needs net neutrality and could use less content protection so it can take over the world by providing other people's content and its own advertising over other people's pipes.
PC Magazine Oct 27, 2008 Stevens Found Guilty on 7 Counts: Senator Will Remain on Nov. 4 Ballot
QUOTE: Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, one of Congress's most powerful Republicans, was convicted yesterday of lying on financial disclosure forms to conceal his receipt of gifts and expensive renovations to his house, just eight days before he faces voters in a tight reelection contest.
Washington Post Oct 24, 2008 Debate to delay 'white space' vote heats up
QUOTE: Google and Microsoft, support the use of "white spaces," because they believe the spectrum can be used to help deliver new wireless broadband services. After more than four years, and over 30,000 filings by the public, broadcasters now accuse the commission of a rush to judgment on the white spaces.
CNET Sep 28, 2008 For McCain and Team, a Host of Ties to Gambling
QUOTE: A lifelong gambler, Mr. McCain takes risks, both on and off the craps table....As a two-time chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, Mr. McCain has done more than any other member of Congress to shape the laws governing America’s casinos, helping to transform the once-sleepy Indian gambling business into a $26-billion-a-year behemoth with 423 casinos across the country. He has won praise as a champion of economic development and self-governance on reservations....Mr. McCain portrays himself as a Washington maverick unswayed by special interests, referring recently to lobbyists as “birds of prey.” Yet in his current campaign, more than 40 fund-raisers and top advisers have lobbied or worked for an array of gambling interests — including tribal and Las Vegas casinos, lottery companies and online poker purveyors.
New York Times Sep 26, 2008 Do you oppose the $700 billion Wall Street bailout? Click here
QUOTE: Quote:A flurry of Web activism is channelling misgivings about the proposed $700 billion Wall Street bailout into political action.
CNET Sep 22, 2008 EPA Unlikely to Limit Perchlorate in Tap Water
QUOTE: The Environmental Protection Agency, under pressure from the White House and the Pentagon, is poised to rule as early as today that it will not set a drinking-water safety standard for perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel that has been linked to thyroid problems in pregnant women, newborns and young children across the nation.
Washington Post Jul 22, 2008 Democrats Deny Inquiry Into Gregoire's Gambling Pacts: Republicans say tribal campaign contributions may be linked to deal
QUOTE: Democratic leaders in the [Washington State] House and Senate have rejected Republicans' request for an inquiry into the connection between political contributions and tribal gambling compacts negotiated by Gov. Chris Gregoire.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer May 20, 2008 Not All Earmarks Are Paid in Full, and a Senator Wants to Know Why
QUOTE: While many of his questions remain unanswered, Mr. Nelson says that federal agencies have been taking a cut from earmarked funds for years, some for unrelated purposes as varied as staff salaries and postage stamps. Mr. Nelson calls the practice “earmark skimming,” and lately he has become increasingly vocal over what he describes as unaccountable federal bureaucrats diverting millions of dollars into agency “slush funds
New York Times May 06, 2008 Farm Bill Negotiators Cut Funds for Overseas School Lunch Program
QUOTE: House and Senate negotiators bargaining over a new farm bill have reduced funding for a key school lunch program for poor children abroad and agreed to sharply expand nutrition programs for low-income families and children in the United States.
Washington Post May 06, 2008 A Living, Breathing Lobby: Oxygen-Supply Firms Turn to Customers for Help on the Hill
QUOTE: pitting the multibillion-dollar industry that supplies oxygen to medical patients against a large number of lawmakers and Medicare, which said it was being charged many times more for oxygen equipment rentals than the actual cost.
Washington Post Apr 27, 2008 Studies on Chemical In Plastics Questioned: Congress Examines Role Of Industry in Regulation
QUOTE: Despite more than 100 published studies by government scientists and university laboratories that have raised health concerns about a chemical compound that is central to the multibillion-dollar plastics industry, the Food and Drug Administration has deemed it safe largely because of two studies, both funded by an industry trade group.
Washington Post Apr 20, 2008 Ethics Law Isn’t Without Its Loopholes
QUOTE: Starting Monday, Washington lobbyists must file detailed quarterly reports of their activities...But even as they try to figure out what the law requires, lobbyists are working to preserve the access and influence they have in Congress and at federal agencies.
New York Times Jan 13, 2008 Two Views of Innovation, Colliding in Washington
QUOTE: ...in changing the nation’s patent laws, Congress runs the risk of throttling the little guy — the Stephen Wozniaks and the Steven Jobses — who strike out from their garages with novel ideas that change the world. On the other hand, consumers have clearly benefited from the ability of large technology companies like Intel and Microsoft to use their prodigious market power to drive down prices.
New York Times Dec 20, 2007 In Charity and Politics, Clinton Donors Overlap
QUOTE: The New York Times has compiled the first comprehensive list of 97 donors who gave or pledged a total of $69 million for the Clinton presidential library in the final years of the Clinton administration. The examination found that while some $1 million contributors were longtime Clinton friends, others were seeking policy changes from the administration. Two pledged $1 million each while they or their companies were under investigation by the Justice Department.
New York Times Nov 16, 2007 'Pork' still reigns on Capitol Hill: Lawmakers have dropped in at least 12,000 earmarks worth $24.7 billion.
QUOTE: Moreover, say watchdog groups and some members, Congress has waived its own new rules on these spending add-ons, meaning the public is unable to see earmarks on a searchable database before they come up for a vote. Millions of dollars in projects are still being "air-dropped" into final bills behind closed doors, they charge.
Christian Science Monitor Oct 18, 2007 Democratic Lawmaker Pushing Immunity Is Newly Flush With Telco Cash
QUOTE: Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) is reportedly steering the secretive Senate Intelligence Committee to give retroactive immunity to telecoms that helped the government secretly spy on Americans. He has also recently benefited from some interesting political contributions.
Wired Oct 17, 2007 Industry Money Fans Debate on Fish
QUOTE: Since then several coalition members have renounced the findings, some criticizing the coalition’s leadership for taking thousands of dollars from the fishing industry to promote the recommendations. The coalition’s leaders did not present the recommendations to its members before releasing them.
New York Times Oct 14, 2007 Getting Around Rules on Lobbying: Despite New Law, Firms Find Ways To Ply Politicians
QUOTE: Looking for ways to keep spreading freebies legally, hundreds of lobbyists have been attending seminars at Washington law firms to learn the ins and outs of the new law.
Washington Post Oct 01, 2007 Insurers fight law on punitive payouts
QUOTE: Insurance giants like Allstate, State Farm, Safeco and Farmers have poured more than $8 million into the referendum battle. Their goal is to convince voters to reject a law passed earlier this year that could force insurers to pay up to triple damages and lawyer fees if they fail to pay a legitimate claim and then lose in court.
CNN (Cable News Network) Sep 12, 2007 Earmark Gone, Indian Project Is One-Winged
QUOTE: In this remote town of 2,000, the people who have been planning the center for more than a decade say they feel unfairly tarnished by anti-earmark sentiment, prompted in part by the scandals surrounding the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former Representative Randy Cunningham of California and by proposed projects like the $200 million “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska.
New York Times Aug 14, 2007 Congressman, It's (Still) on Us: The Ethics Law's Many Loopholes
QUOTE: [While] legislation bars lobbyists from providing meals and gifts to lawmakers... Miller and others point out that the ban is full of loopholes.
Washington Post Aug 01, 2007 Congressional lobby reform aims at disclosure: The US House clears a bill that lifts the curtain on contacts between lobbyists, lawmakers.
QUOTE: ...Democratic leaders in Congress are moving ahead on lobby and ethics reform legislation that they say will make sweeping changes in the way business is done in Washington. At the heart of the measure are new reporting requirements for lobbyists' expenditures on Capitol Hill and protections against conflict of interest for members.
Christian Science Monitor Jul 23, 2007 Deceased Farmers Got USDA Payments: Study Faults Lack Of Case Reviews
QUOTE: The U.S. Department of Agriculture distributed $1.1 billion over seven years to the estates or companies of deceased farmers and routinely failed to conduct reviews required to ensure that the payments were properly made, according to a government report.
Washington Post Jul 16, 2007 Campaign Contributions Change Priorities, Not Beliefs
QUOTE: there are always going to be sleazy politicians who think of donations as bribes. But these are the exception, not the rule. By looking at the issue of money in politics in moralistic terms, [Richard] Hall says, both politicians and the public fail to recognize what is truly insidious about these donations.
Washington Post Jun 25, 2007 Fred Thompson: The Philip Morris Candidate
QUOTE: If Fred Thompson is elected president, he will be the first federally registered lobbyist to become Commander in Chief. ... Thompson's prospective presidential bid stands out in another respect: No campaign has been so dominated by staffers and advisers who have worked on behalf of Philip Morris, one of the world's leading tobacco conglomerates and a leading force in promoting cigarette smoking.
Huffington Post Jun 23, 2007 HuffPost Exclusive: More Lobbyists On McCain Staff Than Any Other 08 Candidate
QUOTE: John McCain, who made his name attacking special interests, has more lobbyists working on his staff or as advisers than any of his competitors, Republican or Democrat ... All the campaigns pale in comparison to McCain's, whose rhetoric stands in sharp contrast to his conduct.
Huffington Post Jun 21, 2007 Student Loan Overhaul Advances: Votes Expected By House, Senate
QUOTE: Federal and state investigations have found conflicts of interest among lenders, universities and government regulators....Many Democrats have long decried subsidies to the lending industry as a waste of taxpayer dollars and have promoted direct lending by the government to students. Republicans have generally sided with the lending industry, contending that the companies bring needed competition to the market.
Washington Post Jun 15, 2007 Assisting the Good Life
QUOTE: Much controversy swirls around the subsidies and tax exemptions state and local governments offer expressly to attract businesses to a community. But far less attention has been focused on the many kinds of indirect favors that are showered on places like Bandon Dunes through government policies that influence the flow of money from the public to private interests and often serve to reinforce benefits for those who are already successful.
New York Times Jun 04, 2007 Congress nips at heels of credit-card companies: Both the Senate and the House have held hearings this year on what consumer advocates regard as greedy practices by credit-card firms.
QUOTE: Today, credit-card companies often charge interest rates to consumers that many would regard as usurious, that is, excessively high....Both the Senate and the House have held hearings this year on what consumer advocates regard as greedy practices by credit-card firms.
Christian Science Monitor May 25, 2007 House Votes to Lift Veil Over Lobbyists’ Donations
QUOTE: The House voted Thursday to drag into public view the role that registered lobbyists play in soliciting and collecting contributions for political campaigns, exposing for the first time one of the most effective ways that influence-seekers ingratiate themselves with lawmakers and presidents.
New York Times May 13, 2007 Religious Groups Reaping Share Of Federal Aid for Pet Projects
QUOTE: Religious organizations have long competed for federal contracts .... But an analysis of federal records shows that some religious organizations are also hiring professional lobbyists to pursue the narrowly tailored individual appropriations known as earmarks.
New York Times Apr 25, 2007 OSHA Leaves Worker Safety in Hands of Industry
QUOTE: ...OSHA’s practices under the Bush administration, which vowed to limit new rules and roll back what it considered cumbersome regulations that imposed unnecessary costs on businesses and consumers. Across Washington, political appointees — often former officials of the industries they now oversee — have eased regulations or weakened enforcement of rules on issues like driving hours for truckers, logging in forests and corporate mergers.
New York Times Feb 27, 2007 Insurers Prepare a Battle Strategy to Protect a Key Exemption
QUOTE: The exemption can operate only if states regulate the insurers, and lately a growing number of lawmakers have complained that some states have failed to do so. Hence the legislation -- and its companion bill in the House -- which would repeal the exemption and impose regulation by the consumer-focused Federal Trade Commission.
Washington Post Feb 01, 2007 USDA Outlines a Plan To Cut Farm Subsidies: Proposal Would Close Many Loopholes
QUOTE: The Bush administration yesterday proposed ending farm subsidies for an estimated 80,000 wealthy individuals as part of a broad plan that would close loopholes and cut traditional farm programs by $4.5 billion over the next 10 years. The proposal unveiled by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns was the administration's opening move in what will be a lengthy tug of war with Congress over a new multi-year farm bill.
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