January 2015 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.

Congress Revives Gingrich-Era Law to Thwart Obama

1/31/2015
Huffington Post: Congress Revives Gingrich-Era Law to Thwart Obama by Zach Carter - "Cost-benefit analysis has been and will continue to be a blueprint for big banks to water down, dilute and block Wall Street reforms," warned Amit Narang, regulatory policy advocate for Public Citizen. "The bill ensures that if financial agencies adopt reforms based on cost-benefit analyses that do not reflect Wall Street preferences, big banks will be waiting in the wings with a lawsuit to overturn the rule."

Meet the New HSBC

1/30/2015
Huffington Post Politics: Meet the New HSBC by Andrew Perez and Taylor Lincoln - On Thursday, Public Citizen released a report enumerating a number of legal inquiries involving HSBC since the deal was signed. Sovereign's description of its practices "raises not just one red flag but dozens of red flags," Mahany told Public Citizen, adding that he would have recommended rejecting Sovereign's business if he were advising HSBC.

Senate OKs Keystone XL Pipeline, Setting Up Fight With Obama

1/29/2015
NPR: Senate OKs Keystone XL Pipeline, Setting Up Fight With Obama by Krishnadev Calamur - But David Arkush, head of Public Citizen's Climate Program, called the vote "shameful," and urged Obama to "reject it."

HSBC Still Aiding Tax Fraud Even After Justice Department Settlement: Report

1/29/2015
International Business Times: HSBC Still Aiding Tax Fraud Even After Justice Department Settlement: Report by Matthew Cunningham-Cook - "The government’s decision to offer HSBC a deferred prosecution agreement was remarkable in light of the egregious acts the bank had engaged in,” conclude Public Citizen researchers. “To the extent that the agreement offered a silver lining for the public, it was that it promised to compel HSBC to enact reforms that would prevent the bank from acting wrongfully in the future.”

Marching Band Delivers Petition To Citi Asking Banks To “Revoke License To Steal”

1/28/2015
The Consumerist: Marching Band Delivers Petition To Citi Asking Banks To “Revoke License To Steal” by Chris Morran - “The broad response that the petition has received around the country shows a strong consumer demand for an end to this rigged game designed by Wall Street,” said Christine Hines, consumer and civil justice counsel for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.

Public Citizen Claims Life Line Screening Ads for Heart Disease, Osteoporosis, Are Deceptive

1/27/2015
AboutLawsuits.com: Public Citizen Claims Life Line Screening Ads for Heart Disease, Osteoporosis, Are Deceptive by Irvin Jackson - On January 22, Public Citizen sent a letter (PDF) to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asking that it investigate the advertising and promotional activities of Life Line Screening. According to the group, the company uses “direct-to-consumer marketing to promote inappropriately broad, nonselective cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis screening to people across the U.S.”

Kochs’ massive spending plan roils political world

1/27/2015
USA Today: Kochs’ massive spending plan roils political world by Fredreka Schouten- The liberal-leaning advocacy group Public Citizen renewed calls Tuesday for President Obama to act unilaterally to require companies that receive federal government contracts to disclose their political activity. -

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Sink the Middle Class

1/26/2015
TruthOut: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Sink the Middle Class - All free-trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA really did, though, was take the most important part of our economy - manufacturing - and send it overseas. According to Public Citizen, NAFTA alone led to a net loss of over 1 million jobs.

Senate energy committee leaders divided on FERC oversight priorities

1/26/2015
SNL Financial: Senate energy committee leaders divided on FERC oversight priorities by Esther Whieldon - They both care about FERC but in different ways, said Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's energy program. On market oversight, Cantwell "really came of age in understanding FERC during the California electricity crisis, and that experience really informs her leadership on those issues," Slocum said in an interview.

Inside medicine's gray zone

1/24/2015
Modern Healthcare: Inside medicine's gray zone by Sabriya Rice- For years, complaints about the poor performance of pricey and sometimes dangerous new technologies were limited to consumer advocates. - “It's an all too common scenario, and the motivation is ultimately money,” said Dr. Michael Carome, director of the Health Research Group for Public Citizen. “But it is not in the best interest of patients or public health.”

Republican-Led Congress Opens With Broad Attack On Regulation

1/23/2015
Mint Press News: Republican-Led Congress Opens With Broad Attack On Regulation by Carey L. Biron - “We’ve calculated the bill would add 74 additional requirements in terms of procedure and analysis that federal agencies would have to conduct before being able to finalize and enforce new regulations,” Amit Narang, a regulatory policy advocate with Public Citizen, a consumer rights group, told MintPress News.

Ohioans Stand Up in Force to Oppose Bailing out Old, Dirty Power Plants

1/23/2015
Huffington Post: Ohioans Stand Up in Force to Oppose Bailing out Old, Dirty Power Plants by Mary Anne Hitt - Sierra Club Ohio is also part of a broad, diverse coalition of groups fighting the coal bailout - including Ohio Citizen Action, Public Citizen, the Citizens for Keeping the All Electric Promise, the Cleveland Environmental Action Network, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, CURE Ohio and many others.

Obama is wrong about 'fast track' trade

1/23/2015
CNN Kohn: Obama is wrong about 'fast track' trade by Sally Kohn - However, government data analyzed by the nonprofit Public Citizen shows that under two decades of fast-track trade agreements, U.S. trade deficits have gotten worse -- increasing by over 440%. Nearly 5 million U.S. jobs -- 1 in 4 manufacturing jobs in America -- have been lost since fast-track deals like NAFTA and related agreements.

Out of Jack Abramoff’s ashes

1/23/2015
Politico: Out of Jack Abramoff’s ashes by Anna Palmer - “It isn’t just Jack Abramoff,” said Public Citizen’s Craig Holman, referencing other legal problems the firm has had over the years. “It bothers me that Greenberg would continue making quite a presence here on Capitol Hill as a lobbying firm.”

The Trans-Pacific Partnership won't deliver jobs or curb China's power

1/22/2015
LA Times: The Trans-Pacific Partnership won't deliver jobs or curb China's power by Clyde Prestowitz - Further, the same Peterson Institute that estimates big family-income gains also estimates that the TPP would add only 0.13% to U.S. GDP by 2025, while the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that abolition of all TPP country tariffs and tariff rate quotas to zero would add nearly zero “percentage difference in real GDP.” Others, such as EPI, the Economic Strategy Institute and Public Citizen predict that a TPP deal would result in further U.S. job losses and reduced earnings for the vast majority of Americans.

What Obama Got Wrong in His State of the Union Remarks on Trade

1/22/2015
Huffington Post: What Obama Got Wrong in His State of the Union Remarks on Trade by Dave Johnson - The president said that "past trade deals haven't always lived up to the hype." Please see last week's post "What You Need To Know When Obama Talks Trade" for a breakdown of what has happened with previous trade agreements. Also see the Public Citizen report, "Prosperity Undermined: Fast-Tracked Trade Agreements' 20-Year Record of Massive U.S. Trade Deficits, American Job Loss and Wage Suppression" for a more comprehensive look at what these trade agreements have cost U.S.

HHS, Researchers Debate Informed Consent Policy

1/22/2015
Medpage Today: HHS, Researchers Debate Informed Consent Policy by Shefali Luthra - No matter what kind of study, people deserve to know the relative risks of getting one treatment versus another, said Michael Carome, director of the health research group at Public Citizen, a left-leaning public interest group that has long called for stronger regulations. Though the proposal may be confusing, it doesn't need more than cosmetic editing, he said. "The guidance – in terms of its overall intent and basic conclusion – is more or less on target."

Obama warns Congress on changing Dodd-Frank

1/21/2015
CNN: Obama warns Congress on changing Dodd-Frank - In a telephone conference last week, for example, one Wall Street reform advocacy group, Public Citizen, shared their State of the Union wish list with White House officials. Among the requests was that Obama not only defend Dodd-Frank in his speech, but also threaten to veto future bills aimed at undermining the law. Bart Naylor, a financial policy advocate at Public Citizen, said Obama seemed to have found "a new backbone to defend Dodd-Frank." "On Dodd-Frank, we got what we wanted. We wanted him to stand up and threaten a veto," Naylor said.

Former congressman turned lobbyist was in the House last night. Did he break the rules?

1/21/2015
Washington Post: Former congressman turned lobbyist was in the House last night. Did he break the rules? by Colby Itkowitz - Craig Holman of Public Citizen, who advocated for the 2007 federal lobbying and ethics reform legislation, was unaware of the exception, which he said undermines the entire goal of preventing special access and privilege for former members turned lobbyists. “It’s unfortunate it’s in there,” Holman said. The State of the Union “is mostly political and schmoozing and partisan politics,” he said. “That was never my understanding when we worked on the rule … the whole rule gets defeated.”

Activists press Obama to curb secret political spending

1/21/2015
USA Today: Activists press Obama to curb secret political spending by Fredreka Schouten - "We applaud his statement today and now look to him to act," said Lisa Gilbert of Public Citizen, the left-leaning advocacy group founded by Ralph Nader. "We look to the administration to be bold."

Obama Has Only Vetoed 2 Bills. That's About to Change—Thanks to Democrats

1/20/2015
Mother Jones: Obama Has Only Vetoed 2 Bills. That's About to Change—Thanks to Democrats by Patrick Caldwell - Changes to how the government writes rules "seem both kind of technical and innocent, because they talk about things like cost-benefit analysis, or increasing judicial review, or more economic requirements to help small business" says Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch.

HHS, Research Community Debate Informed Consent Policy

1/20/2015
Kaiser Health News: HHS, Research Community Debate Informed Consent Policy by Stefali Luthra- No matter what kind of study, people deserve to know the relative risks of getting one treatment versus another, said Michael Carome, director of the health research group at Public Citizen, - a left-leaning public interest group that has long called for stronger regulations. Though the proposal may be confusing, it doesn’t need more than cosmetic editing, he said. “The guidance – in terms of its overall intent and basic conclusion – is more or less on target.” “The concern that people will no longer enroll in research if we describe the risk, I think, doesn’t make sense,” he added.

Obama Could Get More Cheers From Republicans On Trade

1/20/2015
NPR: Obama Could Get More Cheers From Republicans On Trade by Scott Horsley- That's Lori Wallach, who monitors trade policy for the nonprofit watchdog group Public Citizen. She argues that the president who once campaigned on - a platform of changing the North American Free Trade Agreement is now drafting new trade deals with many of the same characteristics.

Left, right mobilize against Obama’s trade push

1/20/2015
Politico: Left, right mobilize against Obama’s trade push by Adam Behsudi - “It’s going to come down to whether or not the House rank-and-file Republicans are willing to do a party-line vote,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, a liberal group at the forefront of the fight against the fast-track legislation.

Informed consent: U.S. considers new rules for taking part in medical research

1/19/2015
Washington Post: Informed consent: U.S. considers new rules for taking part in medical research by Shefali Luthra - No matter what kind of study, people deserve to know the relative risks of getting one treatment vs. another, said Michael Carome, director of the health research group at Public Citizen, a public interest group that has long called for stronger regulations. Though the proposal may be confusing, it doesn’t need more than cosmetic editing, he said. “The guidance, in terms of its overall intent and basic conclusion, is more or less on target.”

Fast Track Not a Done Deal, The People Will Stop It

1/18/2015
Nation of Change: Fast Track Not a Done Deal, The People Will Stop It by Kevin Zeese - & Margaret Flowers - Perhaps the president is making the mistake of believing the false and misleading statements of the US Trade Representative. Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, said “The fact that the Korea deal has resulted in a worse trade deficit and more lost jobs has had a very chilling effect on public and congressional support for the TPP and Fast Track….”

Credit Suisse: Big Crimes Become Big Business

1/16/2015
Huffington Post: Credit Suisse: Big Crimes Become Big Business by Ralph Nader - Public Citizen's Bartlett Naylor wrote in a public comment to the Department of Labor: Firms that engage in criminal activity should face real consequences. Where those consequences are excused, the firm is invited to become a repeat offender; and the deterrence effect for other firms is nullified. Pension fund beneficiaries are especially vulnerable to Wall Street abuse because their savings may be managed by firms they do not even choose, let alone control.

Campaign Finance Disclosure: The Laws States Need To Shine Light On Dark Money In Politics

1/15/2015
Mint News Press: Campaign Finance Disclosure: The Laws States Need To Shine Light On Dark Money In Politics by Katie Lentsch - The opposition from the Maryland Chamber may not come as a shock. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce oversees the state chambers, and according to “The Dark Side Of Citizens United,” a report by Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was one of largest dark money spenders in 2014, spending $31.8 million as of Oct. 24. It was the highest spender in 80 percent of the contests it tried to influence.

'Competitive Disadvantage'?: Pay-to-Play Rules and the 2016 Stakes

1/15/2015
NBC News: 'Competitive Disadvantage'?: Pay-to-Play Rules and the 2016 Stakes by Carrie Dann - "There is such a high degree of corruption when you actually have someone who wants a specific contract from you handing over a wad of campaign cash," says Craig Holman, a lobbyist for good-government nonprofit group Public Citizen. "The link of possible corruption is right there, right in your face."

Don't Buy the Hype: 20 Years of Data Reveals 'Free Trade' Fallacies

1/15/2015
Common Dreams: Don't Buy the Hype: 20 Years of Data Reveals 'Free Trade' Fallacies - "It’s not surprising that Democrats and Republicans alike are speaking out against Fast Track because it cuts Congress out of shaping trade pacts that most Americans believe cost jobs while empowering the president to sign and enter into secret deals before Congress approves them," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

U.S. regulators question whether Credit Suisse has rule-breaking culture

1/15/2015
Reuters: U.S. regulators question whether Credit Suisse has rule-breaking culture by Sarah Lynch - Bartlett Naylor of the non-profit Public Citizen urged regulators on Thursday to deny the exemption, saying the Justice Department's fine was a "pain free" guilty plea because shareholders bore the brunt of the costs.

After Citizens United, wealthy donors' campaign spending skyrocketed

1/15/2015
Al Jazeera America: After Citizens United, wealthy donors' campaign spending skyrocketed by Ben Piven - Andrew Perez, a co-author of Public Citizen’s report, said the new data highlights glaring problems with the campaign finance system. “Unregulated groups that are essentially extensions of the candidates and parties just serve to subvert existing contribution limits,” he said.

40 patients mistakenly given unsterile intravenous fluid

1/15/2015
USA Today: 40 patients mistakenly given unsterile intravenous fluid by Liz Szabo - Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, called the mix-up "outrageous." Injecting someone with non-sterile fluids could cause serious bloodstream infections, if the fluids are contaminated with bacteria or the toxins that bacteria produce, says Carome, a physician.

IOM urges vast changes in clinical trial data sharing

1/14/2015
Modern Healthcare: IOM urges vast changes in clinical trial data sharing by Sabriya Rice - The guidelines would be a major step in the right direction, if they are implemented, but there is a major emphasis on the 'if ', said Dr. Michael Carome, director of the Health Research Group for Public Citizen. “Many times we have seen recommendations sit in a book on a shelf and never get implemented. That is all too common,” he said.

The Upside of a Republican Congress

1/14/2015
In These Times: The Upside of a Republican Congress by Cole Stangler - “It remains to be seen if the Republican rank-and-file members of Congress, who are so busy attacking Obama as the power-grabbing unilateral imperial president, want to voluntarily delegate a huge swath of their constitutional authority,” says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. Wallach says the change in Hill leadership may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. “If anything, it makes it less likely that trade authority will be granted,” she says.

Five years after Citizens United, new report finds wealthy have unprecedented influence

1/14/2015
Scripps News: Five years after Citizens United, new report finds wealthy have unprecedented influence by Mark Greenblatt - The Washington D.C.-based watchdog Public Citizen suggests in a new report, however, that the very groups claiming to be independent in the wake of the Court’s decision are often closely aligned with a single candidate.

Watchdog Groups: Ex-Lawmakers Find Easy Ways Around Lobbying Curb

1/14/2015
McClatchy Washington Bureau: Watchdog Groups: Ex-Lawmakers Find Easy Ways Around Lobbying Curb by Greg Gordon - Much of the job of lobbying entails advance work and strategizing, and veteran senators can easily advise underlings on what to say during visits to their former colleagues, said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen. The group sought tighter restrictions when the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act was crafted, but its appeals got nowhere in the House of Representatives, he said. As a result, the law is “easily evaded by simply doing lobbying activity without actually making a lobbying contact,” Holman said.

5 things to know about Obama's next climate move: methane

1/14/2015
Associated Press: 5 things to know about Obama's next climate move: methane by Dine Cappiello - The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America said it "reserves judgment on the plan until it sees more details." David Arkush, managing director of Public Citizen's Climate Program, said stronger and faster curbs were needed. "It's disappointing that the EPA issued a plan to regulate rather than proposing an actual rule," he said.

House quietly changes ethics rules

1/13/2015
The Hill: House quietly changes ethics rules by Megan R. Wilson - Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, said the new language pertaining to the OCE is troubling because it turns the informal review of a complaint into a more formal legal proceeding. Sometimes people under OCE investigation hire lawyers, “but formal legal proceedings are not part of this preliminary stage,” Holman wrote in an email to The Hill.

New rules target House witnesses

1/13/2015
The Hill: New rules target House witnesses by Megan R. Wilson - Individuals are already required to detail any contracts or grants from the federal government — either given to them or their employer — relating to the topic of the hearing. Now that rule extends to payments received from foreign governments in the two years before that person’s testimony. “Foreign sources of funding often have just as much influence over the conclusions offered by witnesses as domestic government contracts,” said Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, in an email.

Reporting Recipe: How to Investigate Health Professionals

1/12/2015
ProPublica: Reporting Recipe: How to Investigate Health Professionals by Annie Waldman - "The ability for people to get information on their doctors and nurses in this country depends on what state you live in," said Wolfe, whose organization published a yearly index ranking state medical boards by the number of disciplinary actions per physician. "That kind of information is too important to be left to the whims of the state."

House considers bipartisan bill to ‘rein in excessive regulatory costs’

1/12/2015
The Washington Post: House considers bipartisan bill to ‘rein in excessive regulatory costs’ by Josh Hicks - “This bill rigs the regulatory process against new public safeguards and provides industry special interests a blueprint for killing new health and safety standards in court,” said Amit Narang, a policy expert for the advocacy group Public Citizen, in an article last week from The Hill.

The House Is Set to Pass a GOP Bill Wiping Out Wall Street Reforms

1/12/2015
Mother Jones: The House Is Set to Pass a GOP Bill Wiping Out Wall Street Reforms by Erika Eichelberger - Weaken transparency rules. The bill exempts about 60 percent of publicly traded companies from certain rules regarding how those companies must file financial statements with the SEC. The measure would also allow certain smaller companies to omit historical financial data in their financial statements. "This allows firms to choose a convenient history as they promote their securities," the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen noted last week.

Public Citizen Pushes Against Approval Of Twice-Rejected Drug

1/12/2015
Inside Health Policy: Public Citizen Pushes Against Approval Of Twice-Rejected Drug - Public Citizen urged FDA to reject for the third time a Ferring Pharmaceuticals drug manufactured to treat frequent nighttime urination, which the consumer group says dangerously lowers blood sodium levels.

Watchdog groups: Ex-lawmakers find easy ways around lobbying curb

1/12/2015
McClatchy DC: Watchdog groups: Ex-lawmakers find easy ways around lobbying curb by Greg Gordon - Much of the job of lobbying entails advance work and strategizing, and veteran senators can easily advise underlings on what to say during visits to their former colleagues, said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen. The group sought tighter restrictions when the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act was crafted, but its appeals got nowhere in the House of Representatives, he said. As a result, the law is “easily evaded by simply doing lobbying activity without actually making a lobbying contact,” Holman said.

Illinois inauguration raises questions of corporate influence

1/11/2015
Reuters: Illinois inauguration raises questions of corporate influence by Mark Guarino - "We're seeing more and more inaugural activities that have become more expensive, more lavish, and they're being bought and sold by people who have business pending before government," says Craig Homan, a lobbyist for Public Citizen, a group advocating for transparency in public financing.

The Brief: Abbott Warns Against Texas Being California-ized

1/9/2015
The Texas Tribune: The Brief: Abbott Warns Against Texas Being California-ized by John Reynolds - “Governor Abbott is talking out of both sides of his mouth as fast as he can. On one hand, when it comes to the federal government telling states what to do, he says 'local control,” Tom “Smitty” Smith of Public Citizen told the San Antonio Express-News. “And so we now have Greg Abbott declaring the state is more powerful than cities or local communities and their desires. It looks like a Stalinist dictatorship is beginning.”

Brownback evades questions about federal grand jury investigation

1/9/2015
AP: Brownback evades questions about federal grand jury investigation by Bonyen Lee - Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for the campaign finance watchdog Public Citizen, said a political motivation for the loans wouldn't have sparked the grand jury probe. Although the loans themselves are probably legal, Holman said, the timing of them repeated three times is "quite suspicious." He said it's not clear what the grand jury is investigating, but pointed out a federal panel likely wouldn't probe a state campaign just because of alleged finance violations because such races don't fall under federal campaign finance laws.

Is Chris Christie’s Bromance with the Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones violating Ethics Laws?

1/9/2015
In These Times: Is Chris Christie’s Bromance with the Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones violating Ethics Laws? by David Sirota - Despite his state’s business with Jones, Christie nonetheless accepted free travel and game tickets from the Cowboys owner. The governor claims that an executive order he signed allows him to accept gifts from “personal friends.”

Democrats Step Up Efforts to Block Obama’s Trade Agenda

1/8/2015
New York Times: Democrats Step Up Efforts to Block Obama’s Trade Agenda by Julie Hirschfield Davis - Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, said presidential efforts to secure the trade power had met with hostility from Congress since the adoption of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement and the creation of the World Trade Organization. Those are the product of a collaboration of another Republican Congress and a Democratic president, Bill Clinton.

Grand jury investigating loans to Kansas governor's campaign

1/8/2015
Associated Press: Grand jury investigating loans to Kansas governor's campaign - by Roxana Hegeman - Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for the campaign finance watchdog Public Citizen, said a political motivation for the loans wouldn't have sparked the grand jury probe. Although the loans themselves are probably legal, Holman said, the timing of them repeated three times is "quite suspicious." He said it's not clear what the grand jury is investigating, but pointed out a federal panel likely wouldn't probe a state campaign just because of alleged finance violations because such races don't fall under federal campaign finance laws.

How to Investigate Health Professionals

1/8/2015
Health News Digest: How to Investigate Health Professionals by Annie Waldman - Dr. Sidney M. Wolfe, the founder and former director of the Health Research Group at the consumer watchdog organization Public Citizen, says that state boards should be more transparent with disciplinary information. "The ability for people to get information on their doctors and nurses in this country depends on what state you live in," said Wolfe, whose organization published a yearly index ranking state medical boards by the number of disciplinary actions per physician. "That kind of information is too important to be left to the whims of the state."

'Chalk One Up for Main Street': House Rejects Wall Street Giveaway

1/7/2015
Common Dreams: 'Chalk One Up for Main Street': House Rejects Wall Street Giveaway by Deirdre Fulton - "[W]e urge you to Vote NO on the bill deceptively titled the 'Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act'," Public Citizen said in a letter (pdf) sent Wednesday. "Not a month since Congress unwisely pierced a key Wall Street safeguard that would have prevented certain bank speculation with taxpayer-insured funds, the House now considers a package with several measures that threaten the fabric of other protections."

Hepatitis C drug costing VA, DoD millions

1/7/2015
Navy Times: Hepatitis C drug costing VA, DoD millions by Patricia Kime - "These prices are intolerably high and imposing unsustainable costs on consumers, insurers and taxpayers," Weissman said, adding that rationing "would be unfortunate but somewhat unavoidable if the drugs were extraordinarily expensive to manufacture, or if research-and-development costs had been unusually high. But neither is the case."

The Drugs That Companies Promote to Doctors Are Rarely Breakthroughs

1/7/2015
ProPublica: The Drugs That Companies Promote to Doctors Are Rarely Breakthroughs by Charles Ornstein and Ryann Grochowski Jones - Largely absent from the top of the list were drugs that cure disease, such as a new class of hepatitis C treatments, or those that significantly extend life, particularly for cancer patients. If a drug is either the first to treat a disease or is much better than existing drugs, said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, the founder and now senior adviser to Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, “they ‘sell themselves’ on the merits of their unique benefits.”

Punching above his weight

1/6/2015
The Hill: Punching above his weight by Megan Wilson - “This idea that was outside the bounds of serious discussion is now in the middle of the debate,” Weissman said during an interview with The Hill. “We had a floor vote in the U.S. Senate in September. And a majority of the Senate voted for a constitutional amendment.”

John McCain gets gavel, but few defense dollars

1/6/2015
Politico: John McCain gets gavel, but few defense dollars by Jeremy Herb - “It’s just a matter of rule that the leadership of the committees that have oversight of a particular industry are the primary recipients of the campaign contributions,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen, a government watchdog group. “And the fact that McCain ranks in at 190 in the defense industry, and yet … is in position to assume leadership of the committee, is just utterly surprising.”

Political Wrangling Heats Up Over Keystone Pipeline

1/6/2015
Voice of America: Political Wrangling Heats Up Over Keystone Pipeline by Jim Randle - "You essentially have to do a strip-mining operation, where you’re scooping this tarry, oily earth out of the ground and putting it into very large chemical processing facilities that use enormous amounts of electricity and water," said Tyson Slocum, who speaks for advocacy organization Public Citizen.

House edits rules to help members facing ethics probes

1/6/2015
USA Today: House edits rules to help members facing ethics probes by Paul Singer - "Clearly (the new language) was put in there to allow members of Congress to restrain certain activities of the ethics committees based on their own interpretation of what the Constitution means," said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist at the watchdog group Public Citizen.

Chris Christie Gets Luxury Box Seats After NJ Gave NFL Big Subsidies

1/5/2015
International Business Times: Chris Christie Gets Luxury Box Seats After NJ Gave NFL Big Subsidies by David Sirota- If he is, says Craig Holman of the ethics watchdog group Public Citizen, he may be relying on the part of New Jersey - ’s ethics rules that allows politicians to accept gifts as long as they pay back the cost of such gifts. Holman, though, says that reimbursement for access to owners' boxes is rare. He said the situation “smacks of the Jack Abramoff-style of gift” -- a reference to the convicted lobbyist whose influence-peddling operation involved giving lawmakers access to his FedEx Field skybox for professional football games.

After Morgan Stanley Data Breach, How to Talk to Clients About Cybersecurity

1/5/2015
Financial Planning: After Morgan Stanley Data Breach, How to Talk to Clients About Cybersecurity by Andrew Welsch and Suleman Din - "The person who stole the information needs to be held to account. But how is it that they could get away with it in the first place?" asked Bart Naylor, financial policy advocate at Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group in Washington. "Were there lapses in supervision, and if so, will those people be held accountable too? How many employees have access to such account information at Morgan Stanley, and can steal them? It seems to be a management problem."

Steyer Midterm Spending Buys Extensive White House Access

1/5/2015
The Washington Free Beacon: Steyer Midterm Spending Buys Extensive White House Access - by Lachlan Markay - “It shows Tom Steyer has not just got the ear of the president, but he clearly has the president’s attention,” said Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist at the watchdog group Public Citizen. “That’s what money does buy; it buys access.”

Firms skirting ‘pay-to-play’ prohibitions, advocates say

1/3/2015
The Hill: Firms skirting ‘pay-to-play’ prohibitions, advocates say by Lydia Wheeler - “They are going to set up their own super-PACs that are going to solely support their presidential candidacy,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. “And they will become recipients of Wall Street money that’s otherwise forbidden under the SEC’s pay-to-play rule.”

Texas now hands-down leader in wind power

1/2/2015
Texas Tribune: Texas now hands-down leader in wind power by Jim Malewitz - “Perry is bipolar on wind. He plugged into when he saw he could get a political benefit. And now that the winds have changed in the Republican Party, he’s unplugged himself from one of his greatest environmental victories,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of the Texas office of Public Citizen.

Feds step up review of complaints from patients who say they were harmed

1/2/2015
Scripps News: Feds step up review of complaints from patients who say they were harmed by Sydney Freedberg - Several reports, including a 2009 probe by Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, found that hospitals routinely failed to report or take action against physicians with a trail of medical mistakes and malpractice payments.

Hogan's pick for health chief says he'll avoid conflicts

1/2/2015
Baltimore Sun: Hogan's pick for health chief says he'll avoid conflicts by Michael Dresser and Meredith Cohn - Craig Holman of the ethics advocacy group Public Citizen said Mitchell's appointment reflects a "classic revolving door" through which people move in and out of government.

Regulations to watch in 2015

1/2/2015
The Hill: Regulations to watch in 2015 by Lydia Wheeler - To comply, companies would have to disclose the median of total compensation for all employees, the total compensation of the CEO and a ratio between the two numbers — figures that businesses say are difficult to figure out. “I think it’s pretty open and shut,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of Congress Watch, a division of Public Citizen.

Pay-disclosure advocates chafe at SEC rule delays

1/2/2015
MarketWatch: Pay-disclosure advocates chafe at SEC rule delays by Eric Garcia - Lisa Gilbert, director of the Congress Watch Division of Public Citizen, said she expects the rule to be implemented soon, but is concerned that it's taken so long. Gilbert also said it was helpful for investors to know how executive pay incentives in a company are structured.

SEC agenda 2015: Swaps, 'pay ratio' and new Republican oversight

1/2/2015
Politico Pro: SEC agenda 2015: Swaps, 'pay ratio' and new Republican oversight by Patrick Temple-West - “The ‘cromnibus’ is a pretty clear lesson to pay attention to policy riders that might undo pieces of Dodd-Frank or undermine policies we support,” said Lisa Gilbert, an official with Public Citizen.

Teach Congress a Lesson

1/1/2015
The New York Times: Teach Congress a Lesson by David Cicilline and Scott Rigell - But according to a representative from Public Citizen, a nonpartisan public-interest group, many of the ethical infractions we have seen stem not from intentional corruption but rather ignorance or misunderstanding of the rules.

Obama executive actions put Asia free trade deal at risk

1/1/2015
The Washington Times: Obama executive actions put Asia free trade deal at risk by Dave Boyer - Ben Beachy, research director at Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, has said the agreement would result in “a pay cut for 90 percent of U.S. workers.”