June 2016 media hits

Public Citizen is mentioned, or its experts quoted, every day in print and broadcast media around the world. Below are links to some of the recent stories in which we have appeared.

U.S. hardens royalty rules on fossil fuel production

6/30/2016
Reuters: U.S. hardens royalty rules on fossil fuel production by Valerie Volcovici - "This is significant, as 42 percent of the coal produced in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin was sold through such captive transactions, depriving taxpayers, local schools and other beneficiaries of royalties," said Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s energy program.

Health: A 'breakthrough' drug may not be as great as it sounds

6/30/2016
South Bend Tribune: Health: A 'breakthrough' drug may not be as great as it sounds by Trudy Lieberman - What exactly does the term “breakthrough” mean? It sounds as if it signifies a sudden, important and dramatic discovery or development. The Food and Drug Administration has a specific meaning for the term. A few years ago Congress gave the FDA, which regulates drugs, the authority to designate certain drugs as “breakthroughs” and allow drug companies to market them based on preliminary evidence that they might result in important outcomes for patients.

EXCLUSIVE: Pro-Hillary group takes $200K in banned donations

6/29/2016
The Hill: EXCLUSIVE: Pro-Hillary group takes $200K in banned donations by Harper Neidig and Jonathan Swan - “The increasing trend of contractors violating the law comes as no surprise,” said Craig Holman of Public Citizen, an advocacy group that was involved in a high-profile case regarding the ban. Holman said the extraordinary development is that following the ruling, federal contractors aren’t even bothering to take advantage of the loophole, knowing they are unlikely to face any repercussions.

FDA issues new draft guidelines for ‘appearance’ of conflicts of interest

6/29/2016
Stat News: FDA issues new draft guidelines for ‘appearance’ of conflicts of interest by Ed Silverman - One watchdog says there have been fewer instances when financial conflicts have raised concerns recently, but welcomed the effort. “Appearances are almost as important as actual conflicts,” said Dr. Michael Carome of Public Citizen. “If there are multiple instances where there are appearance questions, it can have negative consequences and undermine public trust in the review process.”

White House under pressure to withdraw changes to human research rules

6/29/2016
Stat News: White House under pressure to withdraw changes to human research rules by Dylan Scott - “I think it would be surprising if the Common Rule agencies moved forward with a final rule in the face of the criticisms,” said Michael Carome, a former senior official in the US Department of Health and Human Services’ human research office who is now with the advocacy group Public Citizen.

Public Citizen: Rules to protect workers have experienced ‘historic’ delays

6/29/2016
Safety + Health Magazine: Public Citizen: Rules to protect workers have experienced ‘historic’ delays - “If the current trends in rulemaking length continue, a president’s ability to pass an economically significant regulation in one term may be in jeopardy,” Michael Tanglis, senior researcher for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division and lead report author, said in a press release. 

FDA urged to place warnings on Parkinson’s drugs about compulsive behaviors

6/29/2016
Stat News: FDA urged to place warnings on Parkinson’s drugs about compulsive behaviors by Ed Silverman - “The current warnings found in the drugs’ labels are far too weak and do not adequately warn prescribers and patients about these serious risks,” Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, which filed the petition, said in a statement. “The FDA should move swiftly before these side effects devastate any other patients’ lives.”

The Supreme Court That Allowed Corporations to Buy Elections Has Now Approved the Bribing of Governors

6/29/2016
The Nation: The Supreme Court That Allowed Corporations to Buy Elections Has Now Approved the Bribing of Governors by John Nichols - "We’re very disappointed that the court took such a narrow view of what amounts to bribery under the law,” says Scott Nelson, an attorney who did the legal work on an exceptionally strong amicus brief that was filed in regard to the McDonnell case by Public Citizen and Democracy 21. “This ruling opens the way for corporate executives and wealthy individuals to undermine our democracy by buying influence at the state level.”

Warren calls for tougher regs

6/28/2016
The Hill: Warren calls for tougher regs by Tim Devaney - “A new administration presents new opportunities to push for the strongest rules that protect American workers,” Warren said at a pro-regulatory event organized by the left-leaning Public Citizen.

AstraZeneca Pushes to Protect Crestor From Generic Competition

6/27/2016
The New York Times: AstraZeneca Pushes to Protect Crestor From Generic Competition by Andrew Pollack -  Dr. Sidney M. Wolfe, founder and senior adviser of the Public Citizen health research group, said that if AstraZeneca was interested in that rare disease, “They could have done it a long time ago, not right before midnight when it is about to turn into a pumpkin.”

The Politicians Who Stayed Quiet on the Supreme Court's Corruption Ruling

6/27/2016
The Atlantic: The Politicians Who Stayed Quiet on the Supreme Court's Corruption Ruling by Russell Berman - Good-government groups were the most vocal after the ruling. Public Citizen attorney Scott Nelson said the decision “opens the way for corporate executives and wealthy individuals to undermine our democracy by buying influence at the state level.”

Tell Democrats to Stand Up to Big Pharma

6/25/2016
The Nation: Tell Democrats to Stand Up to Big Pharma - Between now and the end of June, the Democratic Platform Committee is soliciting input on this year’s Party Platform. We’ve joined with the Alliance for Retired Americans, Public Citizen, Brave New Films, and others in calling on the committee to include detailed plans to rein in abuses by the pharmaceutical industry. 

Solutions Afoot for Curbing Class Action Gadflies

6/24/2016
Bloomberg BNA: Solutions Afoot for Curbing Class Action Gadflies by Perry Cooper - Legitimate objectors—like consumer group Public Citizen and Ted Frank of the Center for Class Action Fairness—won't be affected by the proposal because they aren't in it for the money, he said.

Paul Ryan’s anti-Obamacare plan would screw the sick and poor, critics say by

6/23/2016
VICE News: Paul Ryan’s anti-Obamacare plan would screw the sick and poor, critics say by by Sydney Lupkin - "The Ryan plan, from what I've seen, doubles down on the private insurance model in the name of providing choice, but it does nothing in terms of guaranteeing universal healthcare for us that progressive Democrats have offered," said Vijay Das, a policy advocate at Public Citizen, a nonprofit public advocacy group.

In letter to Franken, FDA defends handling of Medtronic's Infuse study

6/22/2016
Minnesota Star Tribune: In letter to Franken, FDA defends handling of Medtronic's Infuse study by Jim Spencer and Joe Carlson - Sarah Sorscher, an expert in health research for the consumer group Public Citizen, said the FDA had been too lax in allowing a summary report. “It remains troubling that they [Medtronic] still have not published this as a study,” she added. “It definitely has valuable information that patients need, and still don’t have.”

Congress stops traveling to Turkey after ethics probes, political turmoil

6/21/2016
Fernanda Crescente and Paul Singer: Congress stops traveling to Turkey after ethics probes, political turmoil by USA Today - Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen, agreed.  “The fact these organizations were sponsoring 100 members of Congress and then suddenly dropping to zero would raise red flags that the organizations themselves or their funders are not supposed to be sponsoring these kinds of trips,” Holman said. 

Must Read: Too Big

6/21/2016
Inequality.org: Must Read: Too Big by Sarah Anderson - Bart Naylor estimates that as Public Citizen’s Financial Policy Advocate, he is one of only about a dozen people who are regularly walking the halls of Congress and the regulatory agencies to inject the public interest into the Wall Street reform fight. 

The Victims of For-Profit Education Are Creating a Debtors’ Movement

6/19/2016
The Nation: The Victims of For-Profit Education Are Creating a Debtors’ Movement by Michelle Chen - According to Julie Murray of Public Citizen, even under the proposed reforms, students could still be subjected to a financial bait-and-switch when presented with a contract that stipulates a nominally “voluntary” arbitration provision: “The department’s proposal would treat that contract as “voluntarily” entered into by the student and thus permissible, but we expect schools will abuse this loophole by leading students to believe through the actions of their e

Trump, Clinton money awash in conflicts of interest

6/17/2016
Politico: Trump, Clinton money awash in conflicts of interest by Katy O’Donnell - The situation is “unprecedented,” said Craig Holman, the government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, a nonpartisan watchdog group.“We’ve had wealthy presidents before, John Kennedy and others, but their wealth was mostly domestic. When it comes to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, both have become tied to foreign governments and foreign companies,” Holman said. 

Opponents of Pepco-Exelon Merger Promise to File Court Appeal If Necessary

6/16/2016
Washington City Paper: Opponents of Pepco-Exelon Merger Promise to File Court Appeal If Necessary by Andrew Giambrone -  "Public Citizen and DC SUN are arguing both that the decision was wrong on the merits and that the order should be vacated for several additional reasons," a release explains.

Is the U.S. fight over fiduciary rule really about the little guy?

6/16/2016
Reuters: Is the U.S. fight over fiduciary rule really about the little guy? by Mark Miller - All in all, Public Citizen received return phone calls from just four of the people featured on the site who stepped up to "speak out" against the best-interest rule. “I found not one person that could legitimately be described as saying what Chamber is saying,” said Bartlett Naylor, financial policy advocate for Public Citizen, who conducted the research for a report the group published on the matter.

Donald Trump Accused of Using His Charity as a Political Slush Fund

6/16/2016
Daily Beast: Donald Trump Accused of Using His Charity as a Political Slush Fund by Tim Mak - “Trump apparently does not understand either [the Federal Election Campaign Act] or the tax code and seems to have encouraged both organizations to cross the line,” said Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist at the consumer rights group Public Citizen.

Opposing the Chamber of Commerce's harmful agenda

6/14/2016
Dan Dudis: Opposing the Chamber of Commerce's harmful agenda by The Hill -

Why is this liberal congresswoman spreading anti-solar arguments?

6/14/2016
Grist: Why is this liberal congresswoman spreading anti-solar arguments? by Ben Adler - Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at Public Citizen, an actual consumer advocacy group, says EEI isn’t really looking out for regular folks. “Nothing gets us more upset than when EEI or another industry trade group says they are acting on behalf of consumers,” he says. “They are not. They are acting first and foremost in the interest of their shareholders."

Deregulating PEC would drive up costs for customers

6/14/2016
Austin American Statesman: Deregulating PEC would drive up costs for customers by Tom “Smitty” Smith -

Wiping Out Debt

6/14/2016
Inside Higher Ed: Wiping Out Debt by Paul Fain - “We applaud the Department of Education for taking this important step,” said Sonia Gill, counsel for civil justice and consumer protection for Public Citizen, in a written statement, “but urge it to adopt a rule with teeth to protect the interests of students and families when they are defrauded by unscrupulous schools engaged in predatory practices.”

Feds propose rule to help students sue colleges

6/13/2016
The Hill: Feds propose rule to help students sue colleges by Lydia Wheeler - Public Citizen, which petitioned the department back in February to ban schools from using forced arbitration clauses, called the proposed rule an “important step forward.” 

Week ahead: Feds poised to issue rule on students' right to sue

6/13/2016
Lydia Wheeler and Tim Devaney: Week ahead: Feds poised to issue rule on students' right to sue by The Hill -  "Few students are aware that arbitration clauses are in their contracts or that these clauses preclude them from going to court or joining with other students in suits to address misconduct by their schools," Public Citizen said in a release last week.

UPDATE: Feds propose rules that would make it easier for students to sue their schools

6/13/2016
Morning Star: UPDATE: Feds propose rules that would make it easier for students to sue their schools by Jillian Berman - "We know that most consumers don't have any idea that arbitration agreements are in the contracts that they sign," said Julie Murray, an attorney at Public Citizen Litigation Group, which submitted a petition to the Department asking the agency to ban mandatory arbitration. "Under those circumstances, it's wrong to believe that predatory schools will not abuse that loophole." 

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Hurt Farmers and Make Seed Companies Richer

6/10/2016
The Nation: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Hurt Farmers and Make Seed Companies Richer by Alex Press - TPP requires that member countries make patents available for “inventions that are derived from plants.” According to Burcu Kilic, a legal and policy director at the advocacy group Public Citizen who has written extensively on the TPP, the provision will likely translate to patents on genes that, once inserted into plants, render the plant patent-protected.

Obama Endorses Clinton, Then Undermines Her On TPP

6/10/2016
Nation of Change: Obama Endorses Clinton, Then Undermines Her On TPP by Dave Johnson -  At the Democratic National Committee platform hearing on Wednesday, Lori Wallach of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch called for such anti-TPP language in the platform.

Taking a Hard Look at a Campaign Critical of a Fiduciary Rule

6/9/2016
New York Times: Taking a Hard Look at a Campaign Critical of a Fiduciary Rule by Daniel Dudis - We tried to contact each of the featured small-business leaders. Public Citizen is now publishing a report, “Sacrificing the Pawns,” revealing our findings.

Parmesan and Gouda May Shred a New US Trade Agreement With Europe

6/9/2016
VICE News: Parmesan and Gouda May Shred a New US Trade Agreement With Europe by John Dyer - Europe mandates that citizens can demand that tech companies erase their identities from the Internet under the 'right to be forgotten' whereas no such rules exist in the US. American tech companies like Facebook want to transfer data for storage to the US, whereas EU officials wants that data kept in Europe, said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch.

SCOTUS Throws Bone to Plaintiffs on Federal Tort Claims

6/9/2016
Melissa Heelan Stanzione: SCOTUS Throws Bone to Plaintiffs on Federal Tort Claims by Bloomberg BNA - “This case was simple for the court,” Allison M. Zieve, an attorney with Public Citizen Litigation Group, told Bloomberg BNA June 6. 

Can a Democracy Reform Agenda Help Democrats Win Back the Senate?

6/9/2016
The American Prospect: Can a Democracy Reform Agenda Help Democrats Win Back the Senate? by Justin Miller -  “Senate Democrats have accepted the fact that a lot will be spent against and for them. They have no control of that,” says Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist with the progressive advocacy group Public Citizen. What they do have control over, Holman says, is defining the Democratic Party as the party opposed to dark money. “Schumer sees this as a big advantage and that’s why they want to bring this into the public dialogue,” Holman adds.

Obama to aggressively pursue 2016 regulations agenda

6/8/2016
The Hill: Obama to aggressively pursue 2016 regulations agenda by Lydia Wheeler - “Congress has in fact been hostile and uncooperative and focused on rolling back vital public protections rather than taking on the nation’s urgent challenges,” said Robert Weissman, president at Public Citizen. 

Clinton claims victory, Trump tones it down

6/8/2016
Politico: Clinton claims victory, Trump tones it down by Ben White - Public Citizen’s Bart Naylor: “Chair Hensarling might expect that we on the left find him tone deaf. But the fact that bankers hear he can't sing their tune suggests this could be one of those overlong operas that beg for the plus size lady. He doesn't even excite with his rendition of the Ride of the Volcker Rule.” 

Before Congress, IRS commissioner is the adult in the room

6/8/2016
Lisa Gilbert and Emily Peterson-Cassin : Before Congress, IRS commissioner is the adult in the room by The Hill -

Will Obama Heed Advocates' Call to Act on Dark Money and Voting Rights?

6/8/2016
The American Prospect: Will Obama Heed Advocates' Call to Act on Dark Money and Voting Rights? by Justin Miller - “With the clock ticking down on President Obama’s tenure in the White House, it is vital that he issue a clarion call for far-reaching reform, including legislative action and a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s devastating Shelby County and Citizens United decisions,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.

Time is Running Out: Coalition Calls on Obama to Protect Democracy Before November Election

6/8/2016
Common Dreams: Time is Running Out: Coalition Calls on Obama to Protect Democracy Before November Election by Nika Knight - "Our democracy is in crisis. Big Money is dominating our elections, and voters across the country are systematically being denied the franchise. Americans of all political stripes are united by their outrage and demand for action," said Robert Weissman, president of consumer watchdog Public Citizen. 

Time is Running Out: Coalition Calls on Obama to Protect Democracy Before November Election

6/8/2016
Common Dreams: Time is Running Out: Coalition Calls on Obama to Protect Democracy Before November Election by Nika Knight - "Our democracy is in crisis. Big Money is dominating our elections, and voters across the country are systematically being denied the franchise. Americans of all political stripes are united by their outrage and demand for action," said Robert Weissman, president of consumer watchdog Public Citizen. 

Why the energy industry is encouraged by Donald Trump

6/6/2016
Washington Examiner: Why the energy industry is encouraged by Donald Trump by John Siciliano - “I honestly don’t take much of what Trump says on energy policy very seriously,” said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at Public Citizen, the consumer advocacy organization founded by Ralph Nader. “He’s all over the map,” Slocum said. “He makes you scratch your head” and bring in the fact checkers. “His positions are just so strange at times.”

A Trump OSHA Likely to Enforce Less, Make Fewer Rules

6/3/2016
Bloomberg BNA: A Trump OSHA Likely to Enforce Less, Make Fewer Rules by Stephen Lee - Trump could further try to block any workplace or mine safety regulation that hasn’t been completed by the end of President Barack Obama’s term, Amit Narang, a regulatory policy advocate at Public Citizen, told Bloomberg BNA.

‘Prestigious Pets’ trying to maintain its prestige by obscure ‘you-can’t-criticize-us’ provision in its customer contracts

6/2/2016
The Washington Post: ‘Prestigious Pets’ trying to maintain its prestige by obscure ‘you-can’t-criticize-us’ provision in its customer contracts by Eugene Volokh - There’s also a dispute as to whether the nondisparagement provision was pointed out to the customer; Public Citizen’s motion to dismiss (which, if granted, would also require Prestigious Pets to pay the defendants’ attorney fees) claims it wasn’t, while the complaint alleges the contrary.

Some Go to Jail - Not Jack Evans

6/2/2016
Huffington Post: Some Go to Jail - Not Jack Evans by Pete Tucker - “D.C. residents deserve to know if pay-to-play politics or quid pro quos played any role in advancing this massive corporate merger,” Public Citizen’s Craig Holman said at a press conference on the site of the planned stadium.

Independence of compliance reviews is questioned in drug firm settlements

6/2/2016
Reuters: Independence of compliance reviews is questioned in drug firm settlements by Sarah N. Lynch - GlaxoSmithKine, Novartis and Merck have all been involved in multiple settlements with the U.S. government since 1991 to resolve a range of criminal and civil claims, according to a recent report by the nonprofit watchdog Public Citizen. 

Showdown over Obama’s student-loan swan song

6/1/2016
Politico: Showdown over Obama’s student-loan swan song by Michael Stratford - Julie Murray of Public Citizen told Morning Education. “Students and taxpayers lose when students cannot bring claims for fraud in court.”

Outrage of the Month: New Evidence Shows Parents of Babies in NIH-Funded Oxygen Experiment Were Misled

6/1/2016
Huffington Post: Outrage of the Month: New Evidence Shows Parents of Babies in NIH-Funded Oxygen Experiment Were Misled by Michael Carome - new study — published by researchers at Public Citizen and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on May 18 in the medical journal PLOS ONE — shows that some key procedures used in the experimental trial were inconsistent with usual or standard care for premature babies. 

FDA sued for failing to impose regs about shellfish bacteria

6/1/2016
Food Safety News: FDA sued for failing to impose regs about shellfish bacteria by Coral Beach - “The FDA’s failure to adopt a safety standard to control these deadly bacteria is unconscionable,” Julie Murray, the Public Citizen attorney who filed the case against FDA with the CSPI, said in a news release.