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The Center For Public Integrity – Polluters Get a Free Pass

From The Center For Public Integrity:

December 2, 2010

Center Blogs

PaperTrail Blog » Money & Politics

Whistleblower Bill Close to Winning Senate Approval

December 2, 2010, 4:04 pm

A landmark bill to protect government whistleblowers is expected to win U.S. Senate approval this month, according to two advocacy groups, extending protection to members of the intelligence community who report waste, fraud, and abuse. Read More

PaperTrail Blog » Finance » Financial Reform Watch

New Consumer Agency Won’t Survive If It Focuses Only On Making Rules

December 2, 2010, 3:02 pm

With Republicans angling to strip power from the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Elizabeth Warren said the agency won’t succeed in curbing unfair and abusive lending practices if it gets bogged down in making too many rules. Read More

The Daily Watchdog

Most Contract Awards Posted on Pentagon Website Omit Key Information

December 2, 2010, 9:45 am

Most of the contract awards announced each day on the Pentagon’s public website are missing some of the information required about dollar amount, number of bids submitted, and other details, the Government Accountability Office says. Read More

The Daily Watchdog

Sensitive Information Posted On Pentagon’s Own Public Websites, Report Says

December 1, 2010, 3:55 pm

The Pentagon, already embarrassed by WikiLeaks’ publication of classified documents, needs to tighten up management of hundreds of its own websites because some sensitive information is inadvertently being posted there, according to a new inspector general report. Read More

Polluters Get a Free Pass

Call it the dark side of expediency. In the name of job creation and clean energy, the Obama administration has doled out billions of dollars in stimulus money to some of the nation’s most egregious polluters. And it has granted the companies sweeping exemptions from the most basic form of environmental oversight, according to a new Center investigation. The administration has awarded more than 179,000 “categorical exclusions” to stimulus projects funded by federal agencies, freeing those projects from review under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. We obtained documents that show the administration has devised a speedy review process that relies on voluntary disclosures by companies to determine whether projects pose environmental harm.

Better Tracking of Tuna Fisheries

We’re always watching for story impact. The intergovernmental body charged with protecting Atlantic Bluefin Tuna voted last week to create an electronic system to better track the troubled tuna trade, whose problems were detailed in a recent investigation by our International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The 7-month probe by ICIJ revealed that the trade in Atlantic Bluefin Tuna has been plagued by years of fraud, overfishing and lack of oversight. ICIJ showed that the current paper-based system that is supposed to track the catch is full of holes and inconsistencies, and leaves enforcement officials unable to oversee the trade in real time.

More Money Flowing to Chamber

American businesses do a brilliant job protecting their interests in Washington. The US Chamber of Commerce is currently raising millions of dollars from energy, health insurance and financial services companies to fund a new anti-regulatory campaign, Center reporter Peter H. Stone finds.  The business lobby group is trying to fend off regulations of greenhouse gases by the Environmental Protection Agency; curb the power of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; and ease the costs of the new healthcare reform law for insurers and businesses. The chamber has for many years provided convenient cover to companies wishing to anonymously affect policy.

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