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News Release | Iowa PIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Secretive, Out of State Donors Dominate Election in Iowa

Over 96% of campaign donations for Iowa’s Congressional races came from out of state funders, according to a report released today by the Iowa Public Interest Research Group (Iowa PIRG). The report, entitled, “Billion Dollar Democracy: The Unprecedented Role of Money in the 2012 Elections,” examined the deep pocket spending by Super PACs and other non-party entities in the 2012 campaign cycle.

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Blog Post | Ed's Blog

FTC SEEKS INFORMATION FROM DATA BROKERS | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued nine administrative orders seeking information to analyze the "Data Broker Industry’s Collection and Use of Consumer Data." The questions being asked track closely the questions posed both in a forthcoming U.S. PIRG/Center for Digital Democracy law review article and in similar information requests from the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus.

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Blog Post | Ed's Blog

CFPB'S #2 IS LEAVING, REPLACEMENT MUST MEET STANDARDS TO BECOME #1 | Ed Mierzwinski

The industry trade press is all a-flutter with demands that when CFPB Deputy Director Raj Date leaves, that be replaced with what they characterize as "another" bank-friendly regulator when he leaves. Raj Date wasn't selected as CFPB special advisor and then deputy director because he had a banking background; he was selected because his additional consumer background made him qualified to become director.

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Blog Post | Ed's Blog

GROUPS CRITICIZE FTC USED CAR RULE AND OTHER FINANCIAL FOLLIES | Ed Mierzwinski

Americans for Financial Reform and other leading groups slammed a proposed new FTC Used Car Rule for failing to protect consumers and ignoring advice of advocates and state attorneys general. Meanwhile, in case you missed it, find out why an alleged financial fraudster was featured on the New York Times baseball page and read other financial follies of the week.

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Report | Iowa PIRG Education Fund | Budget, Tax

What America Could Do With $150 Billion Lost to Offshore Tax Havens

Many corporations and wealthy individuals use offshore tax havens—countries with minimal or no taxes—to avoid paying $150 billion in U.S. taxes each year. By shielding their income from U.S. taxes, corporations and wealthy individuals shift the tax burden to ordinary Americans, who must pick up the tab in the form of cuts to public services, more debt, or higher taxes. The $150 billion lost annually to offshore tax havens is a lot of money, especially at a time of difficult budget choices. To put this sum in perspective, we present 16 potential ways that income could be used.

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News Release | Iowa PIRG | Budget, Food

Taxpayer Subsidies Prop Up Junk Food Industry with Billions

Amid debates over wasteful agricultural subsidy handouts to the top 10% of wealthiest farmers, federal subsidies for commodity crops are also subsidizing junk food additives like high fructose corn syrup by the billions according to Apples to Twinkies, a new report by Iowa Public Interest Research Group (Iowa PIRG). Meanwhile, farmers growing fresh fruits and vegetables barely get a bite at the apple.

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News Release | Iowa PIRG | Budget, Consumer Protection, Food, Higher Ed, Tax, Transportation

Unlikely Allies Uncover $1 Trillion in Savings for Super Committee

As the Congressional “Super Committee” begins its search for $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, a new study released today by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) and the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) provides the panel with a great place to start: more than $1 trillion of spending cuts with appeal from across the political spectrum

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News Release | Consumer Protection, Tax

Senator Carl Levin Introductes Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act

Statement of Iowa PIRG Federal Legislative Office Director Gary Kalman on the introduction of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act.

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Media Hit | Safe Energy

Consumer activist, utility executives square off on Iowa nuclear plant bill

Consumer advocates and other activists squared off against electric utility executives and labor leaders today as an Iowa Senate subcommittee considered a bill that could pave the way for construction of a new nuclear power  plant by MidAmerican Energy.

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News Release | Iowa PIRG | Democracy, Tax

Iowa Earns "F" in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Iowa got an “F” when it comes to openness about government spending, according to Following the Money 2011: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, the second annual report of its kind by the Iowa Public Interest Research Group (Iowa PIRG).

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Report | Iowa PIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Auctioning Democracy

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s damaging Citizens United decision: since their inception in 2010, Super PACs have been primarily funded by a small segment of very wealthy individuals and business interests, with a small but significant amount of funds coming from secret sources.

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Report | Democracy, Tax

Representation without Taxation

Marking the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United vs. FEC case – which opened the floodgates to corporate spending on elections – this report takes a hard look at the lobbying activities of profitable Fortune 500 companies that exploit loopholes and work to distort the tax code to avoid billions of dollars in taxes.

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Report | Iowa PIRG Education Fund | Safe Energy

The Nuclear Gamble: Why Nuclear Power is a Bad Bet for Iowans

Nuclear power is among the most costly approaches to solving Iowa’s energy problems. Fearing the many significant financial risks of new nuclear projects, private investors have stayed away. As a result, utilities and nuclear proponents are now asking Iowa citizens and businesses to pay more on their electricity bills to make the construction of a new nuclear reactor possible.

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Trouble in Toyland

The 2011 Trouble in Toyland report is our 26th annual survey of toy safety. In this report, we provide safety guidelines for consumers when purchasing toys for young children and provide examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards.

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Report | Iowa PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection, Transportation

Caution: Red Light Cameras Ahead

Privatized traffic law enforcement systems are spreading rapidly across the United States. As many as 700 local jurisdictions have entered into deals with for-profit companies to install camera systems at intersections and along roadways to encourage drivers to obey traffic signals and follow speed limits.

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