Lee Fang

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Lee Fang, a freelance journalist, is the former Senior Investigator for United Republic and a former investigative blogger for ThinkProgress.org. He has broken stories that include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s foreign funding, the attendance of U.S. Supreme Court justices at secretive political fundraisers and the stealth efforts by lobbyists to orchestrate and control the Tea Party. Lee’s work has resulted in multiple calls for hearings in Congress and the Federal Election Commission. His book on the campaign to block Obama’s domestic priorities is slated for publication in late 2012.

February 20, 2014

Palantir Hires Former Congressman to Oversee D.C. Operations, Doesn’t Register Him as a Lobbyist

“The air is fresher outside of Washington,” said Zach Wamp, a Republican politician after he left his seat in Congress. Wamp told reporters that he would not pursue a career in lobbying. Instead, he founded a firm that he said would focus on “business development” in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

But like many other former officials, leaving Washington was easier said than done. In a new investigative piece for The Nation magazine published this morning, I explain how Wamp and many others have engaged in what appears to be lobbying activity without registering as lobbyists. Thousands of individuals in …

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February 19, 2014

Media Companies Lobby for Trans-Pacific Partnership

Earlier this month, Media Matters for America published a short research note revealing that most major cable and broadcast news outlets have largely ignored the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Media Matters’ “transcript search of CBS Evening News with Scott Pelly, ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams from August 1, 2013 through January 31, 2014 found no mention of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” Cable news outlets have not been much better. Fox News and CNN spent virtually no time on the issue.

One outlet bucks the trend. MSNBC is the only private sector station to devote significant …

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February 18, 2014
Comcast chief executive Neil Smit (left) and Brent Wilkes (center). Smit has been tapped to lead the merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
Comcast chief executive Neil Smit (left) and Brent Wilkes (center). Smit has been tapped to lead the merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

Comcast-Funded Latino Groups Celebrate Comcast Merger

While many community advocates expressed skepticism about the proposed merger between Comcast Corporation and Time Warner Cable, a certain subset of Latino organizations immediately celebrated the deal.

The “United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) congratulates Comcast for its planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable,” proclaimed a press release sent to reporters last week. “Comcast is an industry-leader in communications and mass media. Upon the completion of the merger, the company will plant its stake in the ground as one of the world’s most innovative and highly-regarded companies in the field,” said USHCC President and CEO Javier Palomarez.

Another press statement, …

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February 18, 2014

Refineries Seeking Canadian Tar Sands Quietly Finance Pro-Keystone XL Advocacy

The Consumer Energy Alliance has played a key role in building support for the Keystone XL pipeline. The group sponsored a pro-pipeline study, provided letters used by members of Congress to endorse the project, mobilized thousands of petitions to the State Department, and even created the website “BuildKXLNow.org.”

David Holt, president of CEA, portrays his group as a broad coalition, testifying to a congressional committee that he represents ”hundreds of thousands of grassroots supporters” and various stakeholder companies.

But disclosures show one of the largest contributors to CEA is a group of refineries seeking Canadian tar sands oil. …

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February 17, 2014
Stefan Selig

Obama Admin’s TPP Trade Officials Received Hefty Bonuses From Big Banks

Officials tapped by the Obama administration to lead the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations have received multimillion dollar bonuses from CitiGroup and Bank of America, financial disclosures obtained by Republic Report show.

Stefan Selig, a Bank of America investment banker nominated to become the Under Secretary for International Trade at the Department of Commerce, received more than $9 million in bonus pay as he was nominated to join the administration in November. The bonus pay came in addition to the $5.1 million in incentive pay awarded to Selig last year.

Michael Froman, the current U.S. Trade Representative, received over $4 million as …

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February 14, 2014

Pro-Keystone XL Labor’s Short Term Strategy: Fund Union-Busting

Several construction labor unions have decided to lend their support to the Keystone XL. Though critics charge that the pipeline will lead to a drastic increase in carbon emissions, the unions, including Laborers International Union and the International Union of Operating Engineers, have endorsed the project in exchange for several thousand short-term jobs and only 35 permanent jobs.

Trading a few jobs now for environmental destruction might seem like short-sighted strategy, but apparently such thinking runs deep in both unions.

According to a search of Department of Labor records, both the Laborers and the Engineers provided the U.S. Chamber …

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February 14, 2014

How the Manufacturer of Chemical in WV Spill Lobbies to Prevent Regulation

As 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM), a coal-processing chemical, leaked into the Elk River in West Virginia last month, the health effects of the substance were not, and are still not, clear. Both federal and state officials know little about the chemical, even though it has been in use for decades.

And if Eastman Chemical Company, the manufacturer of MCHM, has its way, Americans will be kept in the dark about their product and many other chemicals.

MCHM is one of tens of thousands of chemicals currently on the market that have not undergone health and environmental testing, as

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February 13, 2014

Revolving Door: Top Obama Admin Antitrust Officials Tied To Comcast

The news that cable and news giant Comcast has struck a deal to purchase Time Warner, another large cable business, has raised concerns over market concentration. Observers note that the combined company, even if it divests some holdings, would create monopoly-like conditions for the industry.

Many are predicting a lobbying blitz by both companies to pressure governments officials to accept the deal. When Comcast purchased NBC Universal, lobbyists were hired to ensure the merger went through. Critics charge that the payments went beyond the traditional influence industry: after signing off on the Comcast-NBC deal, FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker …

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