New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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Celebrating Sunshine Week 2013

Sunshine Week, a nationwide initiative highlighting the importance of open government and accountability, will be held this year from March 10-16. Created by journalists in 2002, Sunshine Week is designed to educate people on their right to access public information in understandable, user-friendly formats to participate more effectively in democracy and to use such information to protect and improve their communities.

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Open Government Gets a Second Term

Four years ago, when Barack Obama assumed the office of the President of the United States, he signaled his commitment to open and accountable government with a set of directives and executive orders designed to make his administration “the most transparent in history.” Significant progress was made in his first term, but the president's vision has not yet been translated into across-all-agencies improvements in openness, and in the area of national security, most civil liberties advocates are disappointed.

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Senate Passes Amendments to Shed Light on Contractor Misbehavior

The Senate has approved several amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 3254), which will bring greater transparency and accountability to federal contracting. The amendments, which OMB Watch endorsed, would strengthen whistleblower protections for federal contractors and grantees, modeled after the protections pioneered in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. 

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Medical Mistake Reporting System Could Make Health Care Safer

Victims of mistakes at hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies could soon have a way to report their experiences to the federal government. This new effort could make health care safer for everyone. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is proposing to create a consumer reporting system for patient safety events

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State and Local Governments Can Enhance Campaign Finance Transparency

I testified last week at a hearing of the District of Columbia Council about ways to strengthen campaign finance transparency. My message was that transparency should be part of any reform approach that the District pursues. My message to the D.C. Council was that transparency should be part of any reform approach that the District pursues. As I pointed out, "Transparency deters corruption, exposes abuse if it does occur, and empowers voters to hold public officials accountable."

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Hurricane Sandy Highlights Role of Government Information in Our Everyday Lives

As the country continues to recover from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, one lesson is already clear: government information plays a vital role in Americans' everyday lives whether they realize it or not. Information created, collected, and disseminated by government agencies alerted the nation to the storm, tracked its every move, and helped millions of Americans to prepare.

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Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Begins Work

This morning, the long-awaited Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is holding its first public meeting. Congress created the board in 2007 to ensure privacy and civil liberties are protected from overzealous domestic counterterrorism activities.  However, the board has laid dormant since its creation. The Senate failed to confirm President Bush's nominees in 2008.

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Scaling Up Transparency: New Approaches Could Yield Greater Openness

Two reforms launched by federal agencies this month represent new approaches to more efficiently releasing government information. New websites to publish declassified documents and records released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) could set new precedents and improve on older practices by making the information available to everyone online.

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This week, released new enhancements to the site as part of a continuing redesign and improvement effort. There are more changes to come, but the latest features make rulemaking dockets easier to navigate and understand.

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New Website Will Make Government Information Easier to Obtain

A new federal website launched Oct. 1 could speed processing of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and release more information to the public. FOIAonline is a multi-agency portal that allows the public to submit and track requests, receive responses, and search others' requests through a single website. The system also provides agencies new features to assist with processing requests, which could improve timeliness and reduce backlogs. Agencies can also use the system to publish their responses to FOIA requests, which would make this information more widely accessible.

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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