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  • Essex County Takes Stand Against Unlimited Special Interest Spending in Elections | NJPIRG
    got this resolution passed in Essex County and I hope that our state and federal counterparts take serious substantive strides to remove the money from our political system said Gill Campaign finance reform isn t just about presidential campaigns right here in New Jersey people are concerned about lucrative government contracts that go to politically connected firms Katie Park a freshman and NJPIRG Student Campaign Coordinator at Rutgers Newark delivered more than 500 petition signatures from Essex residents to the Freeholders in support of Gill s resolution We re taught that the principle of one person one vote is essential to the success of American democracy said Park But Citizens United has heightened political inequality and empowered special interests Is this the message we want to send to young first time voters that their vote doesn t count because they don t have billions in the bank NJPIRG s recent Billion Dollar Democracy report found that it took just 32 top donors to Super PACs to match every dollar given by 3 7 million small donors to the Obama and Romney campaigns combined 2 Equally alarming Over 99 of non candidate non party spending in New Jersey s 2012 Congressional races came from out of state groups mostly Super PACs 3 Essex County joins a growing nationwide grassroots effort of more than 500 cities towns and counties across the United States calling for a constitutional amendment to level the democratic playing field Eleven state legislatures including New Jersey have already urged Congress to overturn Citizens United and pass better campaign finance rules NJPIRG the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group is a non profit non partisan public interest advocacy organization that takes on powerful interests on behalf of its members working to win concrete results for our health and well

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/news/njp/essex-county-takes-stand-against-unlimited-special-interest-spending-elections (2016-04-29)
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  • NJ Assembly Should Move Forward Resolution to Overturn Citizens United | NJPIRG
    sources spend record breaking sums in this presidential election But right now the New Jersey State Assembly can do something to close the floodgates on unlimited spending and pass a pending resolution to overturn Citizens United and reclaim our democracy This Thursday the New Jersey Assembly s State Government Committee will be considering a resolution to put our state on the record against this broken campaign finance system The resolution has been stuck in Committee for more than a year Now is the best chance we have to put New Jersey on the map in opposition to Citizens United and Big Money in our elections Tell the New Jersey Assembly to move this resolution forward now Ever since the U S Supreme Court s 2010 decision in Citizens United wealthy individuals and other often undisclosed spenders have been gaining unprecedented influence in American politics and now threaten to drown out the voices of average voters once and for all New Jersey would be the ninth state in the union to go on record against Citizens United Passing a state resolution against this broken campaign finance system will send a powerful message to Congress that things have to change Please join us and the New Jersey for the Overturn of Citizens United Coalition in calling for action It s time for New Jersey to go on record Stand with NJPIRG members and thousands of activists across the state by urging the State Assembly to pass a resolution against Citizens United and Big Money in American politics Take our e action here Democracy Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse Of Antibiotics Stop the Highway Boondoggles Democracy For The People Label GMO Foods Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Toxic Free Communities Reining in Wall Street Act Now Jobs Donate Newsroom

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/blogs/blog/njp/nj-assembly-should-move-forward-resolution-overturn-citizens-united (2016-04-29)
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  • Disempowered Bankers Start Super PAC, Reveal Plans for World Domination | NJPIRG
    about this announcement may just be the bankers willingness to reveal their strategy for skirting the non coordination rules The Supreme Court and FEC explicitly prohibit Super PACs from coordinating with candidates and their campaigns I generally interpret this to mean that having a direct conversation with a candidate is a violation of the rules Yet Matt Packard the Super PAC s chairman is apparently quite excited about using his new stick in that context If someone says I am going to give your opponent 5 000 or 10 000 you might say Yea okay But if you say the bankers are going to put in 10 000 or 500 000 or 1 million into your opponent s campaign that starts to draw some attention When is Packard imagining himself having this conversation and what will he be asking for to call off the hounds This statement speaks volumes about how the industry thinks about its involvement in politics Note too that Packard says they may be directing money into your opponent s campaign He means that in the same way that one might give to Restore Our Future to support Romney right Nope While the coordination rules are twisted enough when it comes to candidate specific super PACs Friends of Traditional Banking plans to go even further The independent expenditure only committee according to Rehm s description will exist not to touch the money but to direct it to the candidate s actual campaigns This is starting to feel like the scene where the Bond villain reveals his whole plan for world domination Even with a feckless FEC on the beat Friends of Traditional Banking seems to be inviting federal investigation Rehm reports that the first thing prospective donors have been asking Utah Bankers Association president Howard Headlee is

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/blogs/blog/njp/disempowered-bankers-start-super-pac-reveal-plans-world-domination (2016-04-29)
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  • Making Super PACs Illegal | NJPIRG
    and Citizens for Tax Justice found that the thirty most aggressive corporate tax dodgers have given to 98 of current members of congress The top recipients of that money were leaders in both parties and members of the committees that oversee the tax code You connect the dots Like the unlimited money problem this problem has been exacerbated by Citizens United and related decisions as corporations can spend directly from their treasury to influence elections Secret Money Transparency has long been recognized across the aisle as absolutely critical to a healthy democracy In fact transparency specifically corporate disclosure was assumed in the logic that led the majority to its decision in Citizens United In that opinion Justice Kennedy wrote transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages It is unclear in what country or on what planet the Justices thought they were living back in January 2010 but the laws of the United States are not up to speed with that ideal In fact there are many ways that corporations and special interests can influence elections in secret and many of those doors were unlocked by the Supreme Court itself Super PACs can take money from sources that do not reveal their original donors like 501 c 4 non profit corporations and trade associations like the Chamber of Commerce Those sources may also go ahead and influence elections on their own without going through super PACs as the Chamber did in 2010 when it jumped to the top of list of outside spenders out spent only by the major party juggernauts themselves So those are the problems which have been magnified and brought into the public eye by our super PAC friends But you didn t need to be convinced that there was something we needed to fix so let s get to the solutions already Local governments Ultimately we can only get out of this judicial rut by amending the Constitution to clarify to the Supreme Court that the first amendment was never meant to be used as a tool for special interests to co opt our democracy That s a tall order and a long term campaign but it can and must start at the grassroots level Cities and towns across the country are passing resolutions through their municipal governments to go on record against Citizens United and call for an amendment to restore democracy Last month around 90 towns in Vermont did just that U S PIRG is launching a campaign with a broad coalition to pass 100 more during a national resolutions week this summer If you want to lead the effort in your town let us know and we ll give you the tools State Governments Like local governments state governments are also going on the record against corporate control of our democracy by passing these resolutions As of right now Hawaii and New Mexico are the only two to take this step so call your

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/blogs/blog/njp/making-super-pacs-illegal (2016-04-29)
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  • Proposal for the State Investment Council of New Jersey | NJPIRG
    studies A Harvard Law School study by John Coates found a strong negative correlation between political spending and firm value Similarly a University of Minnesota School of Management study examined corporate contributions to political candidates for federal offices and found that donations are negatively correlated with future excess returns The study which examined contributions from 1991 to 2004 found that an increase of 10 000 in donations corresponded to a reduction in annual excess returns of 13 9 basis points 2 The California pensions later implemented his suggestion to support disclosure The movement to minimize risk to shareholder value by requiring political spending disclosure is growing International Shareholder Services or ISS whose mission is Enabling the financial community to manage governance risk for the benefit of shareholders changed its Proxy Voting Guidelines this year to recommend support for greater disclosure of a company s political contributions and trade association spending policies and activities 3 In addition almost three fifths of the largest publicly traded companies in the United States disclose their direct corporate political spending and have adopted board oversight 4 In conclusion I propose that the State Investment Council of New Jersey amends the New Jersey Division of Investment Proxy Guidelines to include support for any shareholder proxy votes that increase disclosure of a company s political contributions and trade association spending policies and activities 1 TIAA CREF Policy Statement on Corporate Governance 6th edition http www tiaa cref org ucm groups content ap ucm p tcp documents document tiaa01007871 pdf 2 Letter from California Treasurer Bill Lockyer to CalPERS Board of Administration http www treasurer ca gov news releases 2011 20110601 pdf 3 ISS 2012 U S Proxy Voting Summary Guidelines http www issgovernance com files 2012USSummaryGuidelines pdf 4 The CPA Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Accountability and

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/blogs/blog/njf/proposal-state-investment-council-new-jersey (2016-04-29)
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  • Democracy For The People Updates | NJPIRG
    Our Affiliates Our Sister c 3 Are you a student Energy Service Corps Our Federation Take Action Donate JOIN US Priority Action We re teaming up with big restaurant chains to stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms Call on KFC to stop selling meat raised on routine antibiotics ADD YOUR VOICE Support Us Your donation supports NJPIRG s work to stand up for consumers on the issues that

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/node/39217/content (2016-04-29)
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  • Nuclear Power and the Threat to Drinking Water | NJPIRG
    Protecting Consumers Toxic Free Communities Reining in Wall Street Act Now Jobs Donate Newsroom Resources Reports Get our RSS feed Our Affiliates Our Sister c 3 Are you a student Energy Service Corps Our Federation Archives Blog Media Hits News Releases Reports Resources Results Take Action Donate JOIN US Priority Action We re teaming up with big restaurant chains to stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms Call on

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/resources/njp/nuclear-power-and-threat-drinking-water (2016-04-29)
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  • Label GMO Foods | NJPIRG
    NJ Public Interest Research Group Law Policy Center s 30th annual Trouble in Toyland report The survey of potentially hazardous toys found that despite recent progress consumers must still be wary when shopping this holiday season Keep Reading News Release U S PIRG Consumer Protection PIRGs Others Ask CFPB FTC To Investigate Experian T Mobile Data Breach In a letter sent today a number of state PIRGs and other leading privacy and consumer groups urged the CFPB and FTC to fully investigate the recent breach of an Experian subsidary that exposed 15 million T Mobile customer and applicant records to the threat of new account identity theft The letter asked whether the regulators could require Experian and the other two nationwide credit bureaus TransUnion and Equifax to give victims free security freezes to protect their credit reports Keep Reading News Release U S PIRG Consumer Protection Over 7 000 Comments Submitted to Department of Labor Every year over 17 billion is lost from retirement savings to fees and charges according to the Council of Economic Advisors Today we submitted over 7 000 PIRG member comments urging the U S Department of Labor to finalize a strong rule requiring retirement advisors to put the interests of their customers first We also submitted a detailed expert comment of our own in the important conflicted advice rulemaking Keep Reading Pages first previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next last Report NJPIRG Law Policy Center Consumer Protection Transportation The Unfriendly Skies This report analyzes these consumer complaints about U S air carriers for the five year period from 2009 2013 evaluates the effectiveness of new regulations and compares airlines performance This report tracks trends in tens of thousands of consumer complaints over time finding how some airlines have improved their rankings and others have worsened We also compare consumer complaint data with other DOT data that tracks airlines on time performance and baggage handling Keep Reading Report NJPIRG Law Policy Center Public Health Consumer Protection Food A Year of Progress The past year has shown that food producers and retailers are listening to consumers desire for information and choices when it comes to GMOs It s smart business to give customers what they want and some companies are beginning to build the transparent marketplace that consumers deserve This white paper summarizes companies recent actions related to GMOs Keep Reading Report NJPIRG Law Policy Center Consumer Protection Financial Reform Debt Collectors Debt Complaints This is the fifth in a series of reports that review complaints to the CFPB nationally and on a state by state level In this report we explore consumer complaints about debt collection with the aim of uncovering patterns in the problems consumers are experiencing with debt collectors and documenting the role of the CFPB in helping consumers successfully resolve their complaints Keep Reading Report NJPIRG Law Policy Center Consumer Protection Financial Reform Credit Cards Consumer Complaints The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB was established in 2010 in

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/issues/njp/label-gmo-foods?page=1 (2016-04-29)
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