March 23, 2015

Leaders Tell Obama: Time Running Out On Preventing Chemical Disasters

Late last week, hundreds of organizations and people sent a letter to President Obama warning that his administration is running of time to act on an issue long-identified by the President as essential to our national security and public safety: protecting our people from the dangers of accidents or deliberate attacks at U.S. chemical plants.

I signed this letter, along with leaders including retired Army General Russel Honore, the commander of Task Force Katrina, and 9-11 widow Kristen Breitweiser, and organizations including the Environmental Justice Health Alliance, United Steelworkers, Sierra Club, and Greenpeace.

I have been involved in the effort to get …

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September 15, 2014

Bill Maher, John Oliver Slam Predatory For-Profit Colleges

In a single week, two of America’s best comedic truth-tellers — John Oliver and Bill Maher — hit hard against the predatory for-profit colleges that rip off taxpayers and ruin students’ lives.

On his HBO show “Last Week Tonight,” Oliver attacked these profit-making colleges for their sky-high prices, meager spending on instruction, and deceptive and coercive recruiting tactics, including the enrollment of soldiers who had brain injuries and couldn’t even name the courses they’d signed up for. Oliver added, “I will say this for for-profit colleges: They’ve just given us all a first-class education in the depths of human depravity.” Oliver noted that …

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September 6, 2012

Cuomo, at DNC, Can’t Escape Calls From New Yorkers to Bar Hazardous Gas Fracking

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is in Charlotte today for the Democratic National Convention; he delivered an aggressive speech this morning to his state’s delegation, sharply criticizing the Republicans. But even in far-away Charlotte, Cuomo can’t avoid the growing chorus back home calling on him to reject the controversial natural gas extraction process of hydraulic fracking.


While Cuomo’s Administration has delayed its final decision, it signaled in June that it was preparing to allow fracking in five counties in the southwest part of the state.  A strong grassroots citizens coalition is growing in those counties and across New York state, concerned that fracking …

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July 13, 2012

Med Students Fighting To Keep Big Pharma Bribes Out Of Doctors’ Offices

If you’ve ever been to a doctor’s office, chances are you’ve seen pharmaceutical advertisements or even samples of the latest wonder drug. In 2011, ProPublica published a landmark database that showed how widespread the practice is of major pharmaceutical companies paying doctors to promote their drugs; some estimates of these payments find that as many as 25 percent of doctors have gotten some form of these payments.

Two years ago, the state of Massachusetts banned these gifts to doctors and imposed penalties of up to $5,000 for violations. Unfortunately, Massachusetts lawmakers recently voted to soften this gift ban, …

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June 22, 2012

After Spying Incident, Warehouse Workers Bring Charges Against Wal-Mart And PR Firm

We were the first news site to  report last week that Wal-Mart had hired Mercury Public Affairs, an elite public relations and lobbying firm, to fight against warehouse workers in Los Angeles. A Mercury staffer was caught spying on the workers, and was apparently let go after a media firestorm.

Now, the Warehouse Workers United, which represents the workers who were spied on, has announced that it will be filing charges with the National Labor Relations Board, which prohibits spying on workers, against both Wal-Mart and Mercury. The group is also asking Wal-Mart to fire Mercury:

“If Walmart truly is concerned …

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June 8, 2012

20,000 United Republic Members Petition Supreme Court To Overturn Citizens United

Last month, “Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to let stand a decision by the Montana Supreme Court, American Tradition Partnership vs. Bullock, upholding the state’s ban on outside election spending by corporations. The anti-environmental group American Tradition Partnership contends that Montana’s law conflicts directly with the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision.”

We asked United Republic members to petition the court to overturn the Citizens United decision and stand with the American people, not Big Money. Over 20,000 members signed our petition of support, and we received 1,700 comments from Americans of …

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June 6, 2012
Nathan Sproul

Romney Quietly Hires Consulting Firm With Sordid History Of Destroying Democratic Voter Registration Forms

Republic Report has covered how political money can corrupt government by influencing the actions of elected representatives. But professional hacks can also disrupt democracy by interfering with the voting process itself.

Late last year, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign began paying Nathan Sproul, a political consultant with a long history of destroying Democratic voter registration forms and manipulating ballot initiatives. Sproul, who changed his firm’s name from Sproul and Associates to Lincoln Strategies, has received over $70,000 from Romney’s campaign. Much of the campaign coverage has focused on the rhetoric of surrogates and the role of high-priced television advertisements. But if Sproul …

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May 10, 2012
Cord Sterling, a lobbyist for a group representing defense contractors like Boeing and Lockheed Martin, speaks at a Tea Party-style event against cuts to wasteful defense spending.

Military Industry Lobbyists Manufacture Fake Tea Party Outrage Against Cutting Defense Pork

Military industry lobbyists are using the Tea Party as props to fight back against defense cuts. Companies that benefit from tens of billions of taxpayer dollars, many of which are for unnecessary and wasteful programs, are attempting to co-opt political support as they desperately try to maintain their pork barrel contracts.

Take, for example, the “Coalition for the Common Defense,” an ad hoc project launched last fall to develop “grass-roots lobbying” to prevent “automatic budget cuts known as sequestration that will slash defense spending by as much as $600 billion over 10 years,” according to Roll Call.

The Coalition for …

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