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  • PennPIRG Demands Real Penalties for Volkswagen and Full Rebates for Customers | PennPIRG
    trick pollution controls and ripped off hundreds of thousands of consumers who thought they were buying clean vehicles added Monahon Our Make VW Pay Campaign will hold VW fully accountable while preventing future corporate lawbreaking that cheats consumers or places health safety wallets or the environment at risk Key elements of PennPIRG s Make VW Pay Campaign include 1 Volkswagen must offer to buy back all defeat device diesel cars with full rebates to customers VW cheated customers in selling them a product that was different than advertised in material ways 2 The EPA must demand tough penalties For VW s violation the law calls for penalties up to 37 500 per car or 18 billion total 3 Congress must put an end to the auto company s get out of jail free loophole Auto industry lobbyists have won and defended a loophole in the law that makes it harder to prosecute their executives for intentionally violating the law and putting the public at risk It s time to close that loophole and any others that threaten consumer safety or wallets 4 The Department of Justice must stop allowing tax write offs for wrongdoing We ve fought against tax write offs for JP Morgan BP and other companies when they were forced to pay penalties for violations of our laws We ll keep fighting to end these write offs for VW GM and other companies GM got off cheap with a 900 million penalty over its ignition switch defect and cover up that reportedly led to as many as 124 deaths concluded Monahon Let s make sure VW pays that its customers get justice and that corporate crime no longer pays 30 PennPIRG is a non profit non partisan public interest advocacy organization that stands up to powerful interests whenever

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/pap/pennpirg-demands-real-penalties-volkswagen-and-full-rebates-customers (2016-04-27)
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  • PennPIRG Applauds Governor Wolf’s Action Promoting Online Voter Registration | PennPIRG
    work for Pennsylvanians and there is still more we can do While online voter registration is an important first step and we celebrate the new policy we call on Governor Wolf and his administration to continue improving access to voting through initiatives such as same day voter registration no excuse absentee voting and early vote PennPIRG the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group is a statewide citizen based consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety our financial security or our right to fully participate in our democratic society Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods 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 Our Federation Featured Position PennPIRG Internship Work on some of the hottest political issues of the day from fighting the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms to promoting campaign finance reform and tackling Citizens United improving voter access for students and underrepresented communities and advocating

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/pap/pennpirg-applauds-governor-wolf%E2%80%99s-action-promoting-online-voter-registration (2016-04-27)
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  • Over 7,000 Comments Submitted to Department of Labor | PennPIRG
    able to trust my financial adviser to put my interests first But loopholes in the current rules make it easy for some advisers to take advantage of hard working Americans like me and line their own pockets with our retirement savings Financial advisers should be working in our best interest and should be held genuinely accountable for helping everyday Americans choose the best retirement investments It s time for the Department of Labor to close this loophole now by finalizing RN 1210 AB32 We also submitted a detailed expert comment of our own in the important conflicted advice rulemaking A strong rule from the Department of Labor would ensure that Americans who work hard and save for their retirements have the peace of mind of knowing their retirement advisors are working for them said Mario Salazar Legislative Director for U S PIRG 30 The PIRGs are founding members of the coalition SaveOurRetirement com which is working to enact a strong retirement savings rule Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods 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 Our Federation Featured Position PennPIRG Internship Work on some of the hottest political issues of the day from fighting the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms to promoting campaign finance reform and tackling Citizens United improving voter access for students and underrepresented communities and advocating for a 21st century transportation system Job Description Archives Blog Media Hits News Releases Reports Resources Results Take Action Donate Join Us Priority Action We re teaming up with big restaurant chains

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/usp/over-7000-comments-submitted-department-labor (2016-04-27)
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  • Top 10 List: How the CFPB Works for Consumers | PennPIRG
    said Mike Litt Consumer Program Advocate with the USPIRG Education Fund Some key accomplishments and resources highlighted on the list When companies break the rules the CFPB takes action to protect consumers and gets their money back over 10 billion so far The CFPB has taken over 600 000 complaints and publishes them online along with responses by the complained about companies The CFPB protects all financial consumers but also has special offices to fight discrimination and protect servicemembers older Americans and students We re also excited that the CFPB continues to improve its tools based on our recommendations Just last month it began publishing detailed consumer stories in the complaint database And last week it started publishing a monthly report summarizing the number of complaints and the worst companies in the database said Litt Access the webpage Meet the CFPB Just Ten of the Ways It Works for You USPIRG Education Fund works to protect consumers and promote good government We investigate problems craft solutions educate the public and offer meaningful opportunities for civic participation www uspirgedfund org Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods 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 Our Federation Featured Position PennPIRG Internship Work on some of the hottest political issues of the day from fighting the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms to promoting campaign finance reform and tackling Citizens United improving voter access for students and underrepresented communities and advocating for a 21st century transportation system Job Description Archives Blog Media Hits News Releases Reports Resources

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/usp/top-10-list-how-cfpb-works-consumers (2016-04-27)
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  • New Report: Mortgage Problems Rank #1 at CFPB for Consumer Complaints | PennPIRG
    the 1 complaint to be published in the CFPB s database on a monthly basis Mortgage complaints however remain at 2 on a monthly basis and are still the 1 complaint overall accounting for 38 of all complaints The vast majority of mortgage complaints 85 fall into two issue categories Problems when consumers are unable to pay categorized in the database as loan modification collection foreclosure make up 55 of the total problems making payments categorized in the database as loan servicing payments and escrow account make up 30 The other four issue categories total 15 Bank of America received the most complaints in 45 states and Washington DC Wells Fargo was complained about the most in five states The report comes as the CFPB turns four years old on July 21st Congress established the CFPB as part of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010 The CFPB was equipped by Congress with authority to update write and enforce regulations on Wall Street and other financial institutions That authority combined with consumer education tools and the complaint database has served as an important check on tricks and traps in the mortgage industry With its authority over both updated and new mortgage regulations the CFPB has also taken enforcement actions against more than 40 companies halting illegal activities and securing over 2 9 billion in relief and refunds for mortgage consumers When the CFPB ordered Ocwen the largest nonbank mortgage servicer in the country to provide 2 billion in relief to customers for misconduct like charging unauthorized fees and failing to apply payments towards mortgages it sent a message to the whole industry to clean up its act said Litt The CFPB has also acted on recommendations U S PIRG Education Fund made in previous reports to add complaint narratives to the database In March 2015 the CFPB started allowing consumers to opt into publicly sharing the details of their complaints in the database The first 7 700 narratives were published on June 25th No personally identifiable information including demographic details is shared publicly Imagine getting approved for a loan modification that you need to avoid a foreclosure only to risk losing your home because you ve been given less than two weeks to turn in paperwork instead of the four weeks you were originally told you would have That happened to a veteran from Virginia who received relief after submitting his complaint to the CFPB Consumers need a strong CFPB that reins in reckless mortgage companies who ignore the rules concluded Litt Download the report Mortgages and Mortgage Complaints The CFPB s Consumer Complaint Database Gets Real Results for Victims of Mortgage Problems http uspirg org reports usp mortgages and mortgage complaints This is the sixth in a series of reports by the U S PIRG Education Fund that analyze the complaints in the CFPB s public Consumer Complaints Database Previous reports have analyzed debt collection bank account private student loan credit reporting and credit

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/usp/new-report-mortgage-problems-rank-1-cfpb-consumer-complaints (2016-04-27)
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  • Big Money Dominates in Congressional Primaries | PennPIRG
    drown out the voices of ordinary Americans we must adopt common sense reforms to set reasonable limits on big money and amplify the impact of small donors Fortunately there is a strong and growing movement to overturn the Citizens United decision and reverse the wrong headed ruling that money is speech and corporations are people Already 16 states and over 550 communities have gone on the record calling for a constitutional amendment to do exactly that There are also successful models already in place to empower small donors to allow their voices to play a more central role in our democracy such as providing tax credits and public matching funds for small donations For example in New York City s 2013 City Council campaigns small donors were responsible for 61 of participating candidates contributions when funds from a matching program are included In 2009 all but two of the 51 winning candidates in the City Council elections participated in the small donor program proving that candidates are able to raise the money they need to win without relying on large dollar contributions Just a few weeks ago Montgomery County Maryland became the latest community to adopt one of these programs If primaries simply select the candidate with the most appeal to big donors our democracy will suffer Reforms are needed to make sure all of our voices count Methodology This analysis was performed in partnership with Demos Our analysis is based on federal campaign contribution data from the Center for Responsive Politics which are in turn based on data from the Federal Election Commission We define small donor as those giving less than 200 and large donor as those giving more than 1 000 Because Louisiana holds its primary on Election Day it is not included in this analysis The

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/paf/big-money-dominates-congressional-primaries (2016-04-27)
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  • Millennials in Motion | PennPIRG
    Americans now drive no more in total than we did in 2005 and no more on average than we did at the beginning of President Bill Clinton s second term in office There are many factors at play in the drop in driving among young Americans Many of those factors from high gas prices to tougher driver licensing laws appear likely to last Socioeconomic shifts The Great Recession contributed to unemployment and falling incomes among young people However driving fell among both young people with jobs and those without during the 2000s as well as among young people in households of various income levels demonstrating that the decline in driving was caused by more than just the recession Many of the driving related socioeconomic changes linked to the recession such as the increase in the number of Millennials living in their parents basements were already taking place for years or decades before the recession began suggesting that a return to pre recession patterns is not inevitable as the economy recovers Americans have been getting married later and having children later nearly continuously since the 1960s and have continued to do so during the first years of the recovery While the number of young Americans living with their parents increased sharply during the Recession the share of young people living in their parents homes had been increasing even prior to the recession and household formation among young people has remained slow during the recovery Millennials reaching driving age today have no living memory of consistently cheap gasoline Gasoline prices are projected to remain at historically high levels indefinitely possibly leading Millennials to make long term transportation and housing decisions that require less driving Lifestyle preferences Several studies have found a generational cohort effect among the Millennials that is today s young people drive less than previous generations of young Americans even when economic and other factors linked to vehicle ownership or driving are taken into account Millennials consistently report greater attraction to less driving intensive lifestyles urban living residence in walkable communities and openness to the use of non driving modes of transport than older generations Changing technology and transportation options The past decade has seen a technological revolution with the widespread adoption of the smartphone and social media and more recently the creation of a wide variety of new technology enabled transportation services from bikesharing to real time transit tracking apps Young people have been the first to adopt many of these technologies and tools and have been disproportionately attracted to alternatives such as bikesharing and ridesourcing taxi like services such as Lyft and Uber Many of these technology enabled services are relatively new and are currently in use by only a small percentage of people But some such as bikesharing and round trip carsharing have already been shown to lead to reductions in driving and vehicle ownership Together they could lay the groundwork for a new model of mobility that is less dependent on private car ownership Other steps

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/paf/millennials-motion (2016-04-27)
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  • Weak Medicine | PennPIRG
    to 15 percent of antibiotics are currently purchased under the rules that allow farmers to feed their livestock drugs for growth promotion All classes of antibiotics that can be fed to livestock to promote growth can also be used to prevent diseases for chickens cows and pigs Therefore in many cases factory farms may continue feeding these antibiotics to livestock even if they had previously been used for growth promotion simply by claiming that the drugs are for disease prevention purposes Pharmaceutical companies do not believe the FDA s recommendations will meaningfully reduce sales of antibiotics In a presentation to shareholders the CEO of Zoetis the largest animal health company in the country claimed Zoetis supports the U S FDA s efforts and we don t expect this to have a material impact on our future financial results The president of the animal health division of Eli Lilly the fourth largest animal pharmaceutical company in the country stated we do not see this announcement being a material event According to Bimeda another animal pharmaceutical company growth uses of medically important antibiotics represent only a small percentage of overall use so even if all other factors are static it s unlikely overall use would be greatly affected by the new FDA guidelines Experience with similar rules in Europe shows that the FDA should have implemented stronger recommendations From 1972 to 2006 European regulators took action similar to the FDA s by banning the practice of feeding antibiotics to animals for growth promotion In the Netherlands which keeps records of antibiotic consumption the total use of antibiotics fed to animals did not decline because farms increased the antibiotics fed to animals for disease prevention In 2011 the European Parliament adopted a resolution stating that the ban was insufficient to protect human health from the overuse of antibiotics With the ban on antibiotics for growth promotion failing to reduce the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms the Netherlands enacted regulations embraced by industry calling for a 70 percent decline in antibiotic consumption by 2015 As a result the amount of antibiotics fed to animals for therapeutic uses such as disease prevention dropped by more than 50 percent over five years From 1994 to 1999 Denmark took a series of steps that led to a ban on the practices of feeding animals antibiotics for growth promotion and disease prevention Consequently farmers adopted better practices to prevent disease such as allowing piglets to nurse longer before being weaned As a result from 1992 to 2008 use of antimicrobials declined 51 percent on pig farms while pork production increased 47 percent and antimicrobial use declined 90 percent on chicken farms even as production increased slightly State governments the FDA and other branches of the federal government should take steps to protect human health from the antibiotic resistant bacteria that can develop on factory farms Specifically these authorities should Restrict the use of antibiotics in livestock production to cases of animal sickness or direct disease exposure The

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/paf/weak-medicine (2016-04-27)
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