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Blog Post | Financial Reform

Debating trade and consumer protection in Brussels today | Ed Mierzwinski

I am in Brussels today debating consumer protection and the proposed US-European trade treaty known as the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP. Today's public event, and a second public meeting tomorrow (Wednesday with live webstream 9am-noon DC time) comparing the CFPB to its European counterparts, are sponsored by the PIRG-backed TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Democracy

Oregon’s Multi-Million Dollar Democracy

It is well-established that Oregon’s elections often attract large donors from both within and outside the state and that this is all permissible through a combination of state and federal court decisions as well as Oregon’s longstanding lack of campaign finance regulation. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Make VW Pay

House Tees Up VW Bailout and Other Attacks on Public Protections, Consumer Rights | Ed Mierzwinski

(Updated 8 January to add vote results): You've probably heard that the House is soon planning to again repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). That bill will certainly be vetoed. But the House has other anti-consumer, anti-environmental bills scheduled for floor action this week and next. The bills take aim at agency health, financial and safety regulations and also consumer rights to band together as a class to take their grievances against corporate wrongdoers to court. That last bill would immunize Volkswagen from having to compensate VW Diesel owners for being deceptively sold cars designed to "defeat" air pollution requirements.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Is your daily routine toxic? | Anna Low-Beer

Because of a lack of regulation, many cosmetics and personal care products contain potentially toxic ingredients, like formaldehyde and lead acetate. What toxic chemicals might you encounter as you go about your daily routine? 

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Blog Post | Public Health

Senate passes flawed chemical policy legislation | Carli Jensen

On Thursday, the Senate passed a flawed bill to update the federal chemical safety law, the 1976 Toxics Substance Control Act (TSCA), unanimously approved on a voice vote. While improved from their original versions, neither the House nor Senate bill is strong enough, and both bills contain some dangerous flaws.

 

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News Release | OSPIRG | Tax

Department of Justice Orders Release of More Hidden Tax Subsidy Data

In response to a petition filed by OSPIRG, the Oregon Department of Justice has ordered the Oregon Department of Revenue to release employment data about Enterprise Zones, a major tax subsidy program estimated to cost Oregon taxpayers over $75 million in the next two years.

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News Release | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

$80 Million In Health Insurance Waste Cut Since 2010

Since 2010, close scrutiny of health insurance rate hikes has cut over $80 million in waste and unjustified costs from health insurance premiums in Oregon, according to an OSPIRG Foundation report released today. The report also identifies changes to Oregon’s rate review program that would effectively tackle the biggest driver of costs: waste in the health care delivery system.

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News Release | OSPIRG | Tax

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Oregon Taxpayer $816 a Year, Oregon Small Business $2,350

With Tax Day approaching, it’s a good time to be reminded of where our tax dollars are going. The average taxpayer in Oregon in 2012 would have to shoulder an extra $816 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals, according to a new study released today by OSPIRG.

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News Release | OSPIRG | Budget, Tax

Department of Justice Orders Release of Hidden Tax Subsidy Data, Clarifies Public Has Right to Know How Subsidy Dollars are Spent

Yesterday, the Oregon Department of Justice ordered a state agency to release data about a major tax subsidy program estimated to cost Oregon taxpayers $322 million over the next two years, saying that there is a “strong public interest” in disclosing the information.

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News Release | OSPIRG Foundation | Tax

Offshore Tax Dodging Blows a $506 million Hole in Oregon Budget

With Oregon facing tough budget choices, OSPIRG Foundation, joined by Main Street Alliance, released a new study revealing that the State of Oregon lost an estimated $506 million due to offshore tax dodging in 2012. Many of America’s wealthiest individuals and largest corporations use tax loopholes to shift profits made in America to offshore tax havens, where they pay little to no taxes.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Transportation

A Track Record of Success

As America moves toward construction of new high-speed rail networks in regions throughout the country, we have much to learn from experiences abroad. High-speed rail lines have operated for more than 45 years in Japan and for three decades in Europe, providing a wealth of information about what the United States can expect from high-speed rail and how we can receive the greatest possible benefits from our investment.

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Report | OSPIRG | Consumer Protection, Food

Recipe for Disaster

To assess one cost of not strengthening our food safety system, Consumer Federation of America, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and U.S. Public Interest Research Group studied recalls of foods regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from August 1, 2009, to October 2010. That study found that a wide variety of foods were recalled in the 13-month period due to contamination by Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and other bacteria.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

Delivering on the Promise

The recently passed federal health care reform law will make significant changes in how health insurance and health care work for consumers, businesses, and local and state governments, as well as how insurers and providers operate.  But whether Americans experience improved care, lower costs and greater access depends largely on what happens next.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Transportation

Road Work Ahead

For decades, political pressures have often led to policies and projects that favor new highway expansion while neglecting existing infrastructure that is in serious need of repair. We need stronger “fix-it-first” policies that prioritize repair and maintenance of our existing roads and bridges rather than spending on needless and wasteful new highway capacity.

 

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Budget, Democracy, Tax

Following the Money

This report rates all 50 states on the quality of their budget transparency websites. Read to see how Oregon ranks.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

50 Years Ago This Week, JFK Ushered in Modern Consumer Protection Era | Ed Mierzwinski

I've got a new column at Huffington Post, "50 Years Ago This Week, JFK Ushered in Modern Consumer Protection Era." I discuss President Kennedy's visionary "Special Message to the Congress on Protecting the Consumer Interest" announced on March 15, 1962. He declared that consumers have rights and government should protect them. Read the full column after the jump.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

B of A tests new fees, CFPB asks for your checking account complaints | Ed Mierzwinski

Reporters are calling about BofA's proposed new checking account fees, "Ed, what does it mean?" Meanwhile the CFPB says checking accounts can be "complex and confusing" and announced it is now  ready and waiting for your checking account complaints. Find out more.

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Blog Post | Tax

Could Obama's Business Tax Reform Realize Its Potential? | Matt Orchant

The much anticipated corporate tax reform framework released last week by President Obama hit all the right notes but lacked the details to know if can fully realize it’s potential.

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Blog Post | Ed's Blog

White House Announcing Online Privacy Push | Ed Mierzwinski

White House urges privacy rights, industry promises "Do Not Track Sometimes" while states investigate Google

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

CFPB to possibly end $39 lattes | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, CFPB to announce overdraft fee investigation, unveil "penalty box" disclosure, possibly end $39 lattes.

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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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