December 18, 2014
Jeff Shockey, a lobbyist for defense contractors and Academi. He will soon lead the day to day operations of the House Intelligence Committee.
Jeff Shockey, a lobbyist for defense contractors and Academi. He will soon lead the day to day operations of the House Intelligence Committee.

Blackwater Lobbyist Will Manage the House Intelligence Committee

After lobbyist-run SuperPACs and big money efforts dominated the last election, legislators are now appointing lobbyists to literally manage the day-to-day affairs of Congress. For the House Intelligence Committee, which oversees government intelligence operations and agencies, the changing of the guard means a lobbyist for Academi, the defense contractor formerly known as Blackwater, is now in charge.

Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA), the incoming chairman of the Intelligence Committee when the House reconvenes in January, announced that Jeff Shockey will be the new Staff Director of the committee. As a paid representative of Academi, Shockey and his firm have earned $80,000 this …

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December 11, 2014
Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute
Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute

Deniers’ Latest Attack on UN Summit: Poor Countries’ Delegates Show Up Just for the Per Diem

LIMA, PERU — Climate science deniers have routinely appeared at international summits to address global warming, hoping to bog down the process with a litany of arguments and colorful publicity stunts. They’ve charged, for instance, that there is a global conspiracy of UN scientists working to “manufacture a global warming crisis.” At recent events, echoing the coal giant Peabody’s new campaign, the same cadre of deniers have claimed that any reductions in CO2 emissions will limit the development of African nations.

Now here’s a relatively new line of criticism: Delegates from poor nations are showing up to the …

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December 10, 2014
IMG_2362 (1)

At UN Summit, Businesses Back Climate Reforms While Quietly Financing Lobby to Kill Them

LIMA, PERU — Several fossil fuel interests are here at the United Nations climate negotiations, putting on their best public face in support of reducing carbon emissions. Despite the lofty rhetoric, with some pledging to lead the way in reducing carbon pollution, the same corporate actors are also fueling efforts to block any substantive reforms.

It’s been called the “Jekyll and Hyde Approach to Climate Change.” In other words, businesses are boosting their brand by appearing to support climate reforms, while working to block policies to achieve these goals at very same time.

Republic Report talked to several corporate lobbyists and business representatives at the summit this …

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November 18, 2014
UBBMemorial

WV Activist to Senator Inhofe: Give Blankenship Campaign Money to the Community

Last week, Republic Report revealed that recently indicted former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship had given campaign cash to only one federal politician this campaign cycle: Republican Senator Jim Inhofe.

Now, a prominent West Virginia activist, Vernon Haltom, the executive director of Coal River Mountain Watch, is writing to Sen. Inhofe to highlight that donation. In a letter he shared with Republic Report, Vernon says that Blankenship’s “reprehensible, inexcusable contempt for workers’ safety resulted in heartbreak for the families and community of 29 miners.” He goes on to call for the Oklahoma senator to “please consider returning that campaign donation …

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November 13, 2014
SNAP

Still More Scam For-Profit College Websites – Linked to Dallas Mystery Man

I reported yesterday and this morning on scam websites that promise people help with jobs, food stamps, heat assistance, Medicaid — things that low-income and working Americans want — but the sites are really just fronts to get people’s phone numbers, so workers at a call center in Utah can pitch them on enrolling in overpriced, low-quality for-profit colleges.

Within 90 minutes after I posted my story yesterday, one of the sites I discussed, localemploymentnetwork.org, had been shut down. Perhaps just caution by its operators, or perhaps some concern about suggestions I made that the site’s owner, Neutron Interactive, and the …

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November 13, 2014
MedCareer1

More Scam Websites to Lure the Poor to For-Profit Colleges

Yesterday I reported on how a Utah-based company, Neutron Interactive, operated a website that promised jobs but was in reality a scam — it seemed to function mainly to send customer leads to at least one other company’s Salt Lake City call center, called EdSoup, whose only purpose, in turn, is to recruit people, mostly low-income people, to high-priced training programs at for-profit colleges. Similar sites promise food stamps, Medicaid, and heating assistance, but all lead to more pitches to sign up for expensive programs at the University of Phoenix, Brown Mackie, Colorado Tech, Kaplan, and other for-profits.  EdSoup …

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November 12, 2014

Dems Push Keystone XL Vote After Sharing Consultants with TransCanada

Over the course of a very expensive midterm election, Senate Democrats used a number of outside groups to shore up vulnerable incumbents. Federal Election Commission disclosures show that many of these groups relied on SKDKnickerbocker, a Democratic consulting firm, to produce the advertisements that flooded swing states this year.

SKDKnickerbocker, according to multiple reports, was also retained by TransCanada to build support for the Keystone XL pipeline.

The firm, run by veteran Democratic consultants including Anita Dunn and Hilary Rosen, produced advertising for Senate Majority PAC, WomenVote!, Walsh for Montana, and Patriot Majority USA, the highest spending dark money group supporting Democrats …

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October 30, 2014
empty classroom

New gainful employment rule is weak, but predatory for-profit colleges remain on the ropes

The Obama Administration is releasing its “gainful employment” rule, aimed at curbing abuses by federally-funded career colleges, at 7 am Thursday.  I can’t fully evaluate the rule without seeing its details. But I have obtained a press release and fact sheet provided by the Administration to the media and also spoken to Administration and other sources, and I have this to report: UPDATE [Oct. 30 11:00 am]: I’ve read the rule, and my views remain the same]

1. The rule is far too weak to address the grave misconduct of predatory for-profit colleges.  The Administration missed an opportunity to issue …

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