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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New Court Decision Is a Blow to Political Spending Transparency Requirements that Were Already Being Evaded

On Sept. 18, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Van Hollen v. Federal Election Commission (Van Hollen), a lower court ruling that effectively required more disclosure of political spending. But the Court of Appeals' blow to political spending transparency is mostly a symbolic one: over the last six months, most nonprofit political advocates have found ways to skirt the disclosure requirements and keep their donors anonymous.

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Has the Supreme Court United Against Citizens' Participation in Government?

By refusing to hear American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock, the Montana case on corporate election spending, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed on June 25 that corporations can spend unlimited money to influence the outcome of political campaigns.

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Spotlighting the Federal Election Commission's Efforts to Keep Political Spending in the Shadows

"[P]rompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions and supporters," the U.S. Supreme Court wrote in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. On March 30 – more than 26 months after Citizens United was decided – a federal judge struck down a Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulation that had been preventing disclosure.

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Cutting to the Heart of Nonprofits' Political Activities

A leak of documents allegedly produced by the Heartland Institute, a libertarian think tank organized as a 501(c)(3) institution, is just the latest contribution to the controversy surrounding politically active nonprofit organizations as the 2012 elections approach.

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Super (Loud) PACs and Soft-spoken Issue Advocates

Outside groups are spending nearly 1,300 percent more on broadcast advertising for the 2012 election than they did in 2008, according to an analysis released on Jan. 30. This is the clearest demonstration yet that Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has fundamentally rewritten the rules for political spending.

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Pulpit Freedom Sunday Clarifies the Need for Clarity

Hundreds of pastors took to their pulpits on Sunday, Oct. 2, to engage in an annual civil disobedience ritual known as Pulpit Freedom Sunday. Initiated by the Alliance Defense Fund and supported by Glenn Beck, Pulpit Freedom Sunday aims to challenge the current prohibition on partisan electioneering by churches and other 501(c)(3) organizations.

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Neither Death Nor Certainty for the 501(c)(4) Gift Tax

Anyone keeping tabs on the efforts of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to assess gift taxes on major donations to 501(c)(4) organizations should be wondering if the old adage regarding the certainty of death and taxes needs to be updated in the post-Citizens United era.

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Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Still AWOL

Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Daniel Akaka (D-HI) last week urged President Obama to revive the dormant Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board by nominating members to fill the board's vacancies.

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Regulating Political Advertisements: Looking Beyond the FEC

Over the past several election cycles, the statement that “I’m John Smith, and I approved this message” has become a ubiquitous part of the political lexicon. If the Media Access Project has its way, however, a whole new series of disclosures will become just as familiar to the American public.

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Statement of Commissioners Highlights Leniency of FEC Disclosure Rules

Earlier this week, the three Republican members of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) released a statement of reasons explaining their votes in May to dismiss a case against a no longer active 501(c)(4) group, Freedom's Watch.

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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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