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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

CFPB Taps Former Pentagon Legal Official to Head Office of Servicemember Affairs

We join National Consumer Law Center, Americans for Financial Reform and other leading groups in a release commending the appointment of senior Pentagon official Colonel Paul Kantwill (U.S. Army, Retired) to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Office of Servicemember Affairs. The CFPB plays an important role in protecting servicemembers, veterans and their families from financial predators.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

CFPB Slams Two Credit Bureaus For Deceptive Marketing, Expect Experian Next | Ed Mierzwinski

This week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau nailed two "big 3" credit bureaus --Trans Union and Equifax -- for deceptive marketing of their over-priced, under-performing credit monitoring subscription products.  Combined fines and consumer restitution total $23 million. I predict that the CFPB will also bring a case against the remaining bureau, Experian, and that it will pay much more, because Experian really has led the way in aggressively marketing these tawdry products. They don't prevent identity theft, nor do they always accurately disclose your credit score, at fees of up to $16.95/month or more. Yikes!

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

This New Year, Celebrate the CFPB | Ed Mierzwinski

This month, we published our 8th report based on analyzing consumer complaints collected in the CFPB's Public Consumer Complaint Database. The release of "Big Banks, Big Overdraft Fees" provides a good year-end opportunity to summarize a few of the reasons to be thankful for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which took over in July 2011 as the first federal regulator with just one job: protecting consumers from unfair financial practices. The idea of the CFPB needs no defense, only more defenders.

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Statement on Procter & Gamble’s New Preservative Tracker in Personal Care Products

Personal care product giant Procter & Gamble (P&G) recently unveiled a new preservative tracker, which lets consumers know which preservatives are included in various categories of P&G’s products, such as baby wipes, skin care, and hair care products. Consumers can search the tracker by ingredient or by product type.

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News Release | OSPIRG | Democracy

Portland City Council Votes to Make Government More Accountable to Everyday People

The Portland City Council passed a major reform that will lift up the voices of everyday voters in local government. Open and Accountable Elections will empower candidates to run for office without taking big campaign contributions, instead fueling their campaigns with small donations from local, everyday voters, matched 6-to-1 with designated public funds.

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News Release | OSPIRG Foundation | Transportation

New Report: University Campuses Are Transportation Trailblazers as Students Lead Shift From Driving

As Millennials lead a national shift away from driving, universities like the Oregon State University and the city of Corvallis are giving students new options for getting around and becoming innovators in transportation policy.

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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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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 | Transportation

Two good inter-city transit developments | David Rosenfeld

Two interesting (and at face value, good) announcements today from the Oregon Department of Transportation.

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Blog Post | Tax

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Oregon Taxpayers Dearly | David Rosenfeld

Just in time for Tax Day, OSPIRG released another fine piece of work from our national Budget and Taxes guru Phineas Baxendall.  The report-Picking up the Tab: Average Citizens and Small Businesses Pay the Price for Offshore Tax Havens-examines the practice of hiding legitimate U.S. profits and income in offshore tax havens. While this has mostly been discussed as a federal matter, the topic has a big impact on Oregon taxpayers, small businesses and state revenue.

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Blog Post | Transportation

Why are young people driving less? | David Rosenfeld

New report by OSPIRG Foundation and Frontier Group that documents the nationwide decline in driving—and finds that young people are leading the trend. The report explores the many factors that have led to the decrease in driving among the young. Bottom line: if these trends are structural, as the data suggests, then transportation planners will need to overhaul their assumptions about whether the nation needs (or can afford) major highway expansions.

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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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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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