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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Court Rejects PIRG-Opposed Swipe Fee Settlement With Visa/Mastercard | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit threw out a preliminary $7.25 billion settlement between Visa and Mastercard and any merchant accepting credit cards (including U.S. PIRG), ruling that despite that seemingly massive payment for past practices that the settlement gave inadequate relief to merchants going forward, as it essentially immunized the networks for any future illegal conduct while providing mostly illusory benefits. Since we accept credit cards from our members, we, joined by Consumer Reports, had formally objected to the settlement as consumer advocates who also happen to be merchant class members (most merchant associations also objected).

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Getting Personal with Chemicals

We should be able to trust that the products we buy are safe — especially the ones our families use every day, directly on our bodies. However, we looked into common ingredients in popular personal care products, and found that when we use these products, like shampoo, baby wipes, deodorant, shaving gel, or perfume, we are often dosing our bodies with chemicals that can disrupt our hormones, cause developmental problems, cause cancer, and more.

This consumer guide describes the results of our investigation of 10 popular personal care products that contain chemicals of concern.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

House Launches Frenzy of Attacks on CFPB, Public Protections | Ed Mierzwinski

Today and tomorrow the House floor showcases a variety of special-interest backed bills designed to eliminate public protections and weaken financial reform. Action starts soon with an attempt to override the President's veto of legislation to wipe away a new Department of Labor rule designed to protect hard-earned retirement savings from Wall Streeters seeking their "share" of your own share. Then, the House will consider the massive FSGG Appropriations bill, which rolls back the independence and authority of the CFPB and other financial reforms. Finally, they've teed up a bill to eliminate the Supreme Court's long-standing "Chevron doctrine," which says that courts must defer to expert agencies in certain circumstances. Without the doctrine in place, polluters and wrongdoers will have more opportunities to challenge public protections.

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Blog Post | Public Health, Antibiotics

Grilling to protect public health | Anya Vanecek

With antibiotics, we can all enjoy the summer free from the worry that a stumble on the sidewalk or a minor burn from the grill could turn into a serious illness. So what could be a better centerpiece to the picnic table than meat raised without routine antibiotics?

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Blog Post | Democracy

Six Twitter users to follow for all things democracy

This election cycle news about money in politics, election fiascos and voting rights is breaking at the speed of, well, Twitter. If you want to stay up-to-date, we’ve got your back.

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News Release | Democracy

OSPIRG Applauds Reps. Blumenauer, DeFazio and Bonamici for the Government by the People Act

OSPIRG proudly endorses the Government By the People Act, legislation introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives that would put ordinary Americans back in charge of our elections.

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News Release | Consumer Protection

With Privacy Breaches at Large Retailers, OSPIRG Offers Consumers Tips to Protect Against Identity Theft

In light of the recent breaches in consumers' private information at Target, Neiman Marcus and elsewhere, we've put together a resource to help you protect yourself from identity theft.

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News Release | OSPIRG | Food

New Farm Bill Contains Massive Taxpayer Handouts To Big Ag

Statement of OSPIRG Federal Tax and Budget Advocate Dan Smith on the Farm Bill Conference Committee agreement to be voted on by the House this week:

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News Release | OSPIRG Foundation | Financial Reform

Report: Capital One Most-Complained-About Credit Card Company in Oregon

Oregon consumers file more complaints about Capital One than any other credit card company, according to a report released today by OSPIRG Foundation. The report is the fourth in a series of reports that analyze the complaints in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s consumer complaints database.

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News Release | Consumer Protection

Tips for Getting the Right Cell Phone Plan

Deciding whether or not to sign up for another two year cell phone contract can be a tough decision for many consumers. Our resource can help many consumers sort through their choices and find a cell phone plan that fits their needs and budget. 

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Budget

Following the Money 2012

This report is OSPIRG Foundation’s third annual ranking of states’ progress toward “Transparency 2.0” – a new standard of comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility. The past year has seen continued progress, with new states providing online access to government spending information and several states pioneering new tools to further expand citizens’ access to spending information and engagement with government.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Budget, Tax

Revealing Tax Subsidies

Last year, Oregon took an important first step towards showing the public whether the hundreds of millions of tax dollars spent on corporate economic development tax subsidies are worth the money. House Bill 2825 went into effect at the close of 2011, requiring disclosure of twelve corporate tax subsidy programs estimated to cost taxpayers nearly $530 million in the 2011-2013 biennium.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Democracy

Auctioning Democracy

The vast majority of Super PACs are funded by less than 1% of the 1%, according to a new report entitled “Auctioning Democracy.”

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Democracy, Tax

Representation without Taxation

Two years ago, the Supreme Court’s Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission decision opened the floodgates to corporate influence in our political system by allowing corporations to pour money from their treasuries into the campaign coffers of political candidates. This report examines one area of policymaking where corporate money already had an enormous impact even before that decision: tax law. 

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

Comments on Regence Small Business Rate Hike Proposal

We are concerned that Regence BlueCross BlueShield (Regence) has not adequately justified its proposal for a rate increase impacting 47,806 Oregonians with coverage through a small business employer.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

CFPB GETS RESULTS FOR CONSUMERS, SLAMS CHASE FOR DECEPTIVE CARD ADD-ONS | Ed Mierzwinski

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is getting results for consumers. Today, the CFPB announced that it had imposed a $20 million civil penalty on JP Morgan Chase and ordered it to refund $309 million to over 2 million consumers for deceptively marketing junky credit card add-on products, some of which consumers didn't even receive. 

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Blog Post | Health Care

A New Health Care Marketplace is Coming: Get Informed and Protect Yourself from Fraud | Jesse Ellis O'Brien

In just a few weeks, Oregon’s new health insurance marketplace, Cover Oregon, will be open for business. Any new program can be confusing for people at first, and scam artists and unscrupulous business ventures may try to take advantage of that confusion to rip off consumers. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, be sure to check out these top tips for protecting yourself from fraud.

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Blog Post | Tax

Would you pay $170 for a 15 page document (that you should already have)?

In the next two years, Oregon taxpayers are projected to spend an estimated $665 million on corporate tax subsidies that are intended to create jobs and promote economic growth. Unfortunately, these same Oregon taxpayers have to overcome substantial hurdles when seeking the most basic information about these subsidies. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Top Ten Most Frequently Asked Renter’s Questions

OSPIRG’s Renters' Handbook has provided hard-to-find information about how to keep your security deposit, get that toilet fixed, deal with a difficult landlord and more. Here are the top ten most frequently asked renter’s questions from the past 40 years.

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Blog Post | Health Care

All you need to know about the 2014 health insurance rate decisions--in one chart! | Jesse Ellis O'Brien

Scrutiny of health insurance rates has cut over $69 million in waste and unjustified costs from 2014 premiums. This chart breaks it down for you.

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Defend the CFPB

Tell your senators to oppose the “Financial CHOICE Act,” which would gut Wall Street reforms and destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as we know it.

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