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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Senate Votes Down DISCLOSE Act

The Senate held two votes on the DISCLOSE Act on July 16 and 17 but failed to pass the legislation each time. The bill would have created new campaign finance disclosure requirements and made public the names of super PAC contributors. In an effort to control the rising tide of "secret money" – political campaign spending by unknown donors – the bill attempted to make the federal election process more transparent.

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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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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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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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Disclosing Dissension: Shareholders Push for More Control of Corporate Political Spending

Although the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is again trying to implement the Citizens United decision, shareholders across the country are refusing to wait for more control over corporate political spending.

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In the Aftermath of Citizens United, Courts Muddy the Waters on Political Engagement

While observers agree that Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is already transforming the way political campaigns operate, courts cannot seem to agree what the decision truly means.

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FEC Approves Coordination Rule

With a 5-1 vote, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) approved a rule on coordinated communications, to regulate messages that are the "functional equivalent of express advocacy" for or against candidates. This "functional equivalent" language comes from the 2007 Supreme Court decision in Wisconsin Right to Life Inc. v. FEC. A separate provision was voted down and would have covered all messages that "promote, support, attack or oppose" candidates.

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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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Congress Fails to Address Corporate Political Spending before August Recess

Recent congressional actions highlight concerns over corporate involvement in elections. Before the August recess, Congress made several attempts to regulate corporate electoral involvement, including the Senate’s failed attempt to pass the DISCLOSE Act and the House Financial Services Committee’s approval of the Shareholder Protection Act. Though some lawmakers worked around the clock, Congress ultimately failed to follow through on reform before the recess.

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Legislation to Overhaul Public Funding for Presidential Campaigns

Legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate (H.R. 6061 and S. 3681) to revise the outdated presidential public campaign financing system. Seeking to encourage smaller individual contributions, the bill would match small contributions of $200 or less with public funds at a 4-to-1 ratio.

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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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