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  • PennPIRG | Standing Up To Powerful Interests
    the Department of Labor s proposed rule that would strengthen the ability for Americans to save for retirement by addressing conflicts of interest that arise when brokers and financial advisers give retirement advice Wall Street will fight the rule hard because it requires them to put consumers first Keep Reading News Release PennPIRG Education Fund Budget NEW REPORT Pennsylvania Receives B in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending Pennsylvania received a B when it comes to government spending transparency according to Following the Money 2015 How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data the sixth annual report of its kind by the PennPIRG Education Fund Keep Reading Pages first previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next last Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection 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 PennPIRG Education Fund Higher Ed Transportation A New Course Across America colleges and universities are showing that efforts aimed at reducing driving deliver powerful benefits for students staff and surrounding communities Policymakers at all levels of government should be looking to the innovative examples of these campuses Universities and college towns also provide useful models for expanding the range of transportation options available to Americans while addressing the transportation challenges facing our communities Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Transportation Transportation in Transition A review of data from the Federal Highway Administration Federal Transit Administration and Census Bureau for America s 100 most populous urbanized areas which are home to over half of the nation s population shows that the decline in per capita driving has taken place in a wide variety of regions From 2006 to 2011 the average number of miles driven per resident fell in almost three quarters of America s largest urbanized areas for which up to date and accurate data are available Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Trouble in Toyland 2013 The 2013 Trouble in Toyland report is the 28th annual U S Public Interest Research Group PIRG survey of toy safety In this report U S PIRG provides safety guidelines for consumers when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Big Credit Bureas Big Complaints This report is the third of several that review complaints to the CFPB nationally and on a state by state level In this report we explore consumer complaints about credit bureaus with the aim of uncovering patterns in the problems consumers are experiencing with credit reporting Keep Reading Pages first previous 1 2

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/home?page=3 (2016-04-27)
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  • PennPIRG | Standing Up To Powerful Interests
    and rates of car commuting in Pennsylvania s urbanized areas including Pittsburgh and Harrisburg and greater use of public transit and biking Keep Reading Pages first previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next last Report PennPIRG Education Fund Public Health Food Safety Scares 2013 Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Private Loans Public Complaints This report is the second of several that will review complaints to the CFPB nationally and on a state by state level In this report we explore consumer complaint trends in the private student loan sector with the aim of uncovering patterns in the problems consumers are experiencing with their student loans Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Health Care TOP TWENTY PAY FOR DELAY DRUGS Americans with cancer heart disease epilepsy and other conditions have been forced to pay an average of 10 times more than necessary for at least 20 blockbuster drugs according to a report released today by Community Catalyst and the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group PennPIRG Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Tax Offshore Shell Games With Congress considering big cuts to public programs PennPIRG released fresh evidence that the vast majority of large companies are dodging taxes by stashing money in offshore tax havens In a study of the top 100 publicly traded companies as measured by revenue the study reveals that 82 maintain subsidiaries in offshore tax havens Collectively the companies report holding nearly 1 2 trillion offshore with 15 companies accounting for two thirds of the offshore cash Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Food Tax Apples to Twinkies Federal subsidies for commodity crops are subsidizing junk food additives like high fructose corn syrup at a rate that would buy 20 Twinkies for each taxpayer every year according to Penn PIRG s new report Apples to Twinkies 2013 Meanwhile subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy just one half of an apple per taxpayer per year Keep Reading Pages first previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next last Blog Post Transportation Pulling a FAST one on our Transportation Future Sean Doyle For the first time in a decade and after roughly three dozen short term extensions Congress has pulled together and passed a transportation funding law lasting longer than two years There is only one problem the new law is the wrong deal for the country Keep Reading Blog Post Public Health Not so secret Santas in Congress Using Spending Bill To Roll Back Health Safety Wallet Protections Ed Mierzwinski With spending authorization for the federal government set to end on December 11 Congressional leaders are working with powerful special interests on their not so Secret Santa lists to use spending bills as vehicles to gut health safety and wallet protections popular with the general public but not with Wall Street or the U S Chamber of Commerce They know they cannot win a fair fight So they re loading up the must pass funding bill with so called riders which are unrelated

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/home?page=4 (2016-04-27)
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  • PennPIRG | Standing Up To Powerful Interests
    Pages first previous 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next last Report PennPIRG Education Fund Transportation A New Way to Go In a first of its kind study PennPIRG compiled nation wide evidence on transportation apps and vehicle sharing programs and found that these advanced new tools have made it easier for Americans to drive less Real time apps and on board wi fi for public transit as well as carsharing bikesharing and ridesharing have spread rapidly in recent years The report examines new evidence on how these practices are changing travel behavior Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Big Banks Big Complaints The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB was established in 2010 in the wake of the worst financial crisis in decades Its mission is to identify dangerous and unfair financial practices to educate consumers about these practices and to regulate the financial institutions that perpetuate them Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Transportation Moving Off The Road After sixty years of almost constant increases in the annual number of miles Americans drive since 2004 Americans have decreased their driving per capita for eight years in a row Moving Off the Road shines a new light on this trend and what it means for the future of transportation Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Higher Ed Student Loan Debt in Pennsylvania Without a new plan from Congress on July 1 the interest rate on subsidized Stafford student loans will double from 3 4 percent to 6 8 percent In Pennsylvania 374 328 federal student loan borrowers will be impacted if the rate doubles Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Transportation A New Direction The time has come for America to hit the reset button on transportation policy replacing the policy infrastructure of the Driving Boom years with a more efficient flexible and nimble system that is better able to meet the transportation needs of the 21st century Keep Reading Pages first previous 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next last Blog Post Public Health A Sub stantial Achievement Steve Blackledge On October 20 Subway announced its plan to phase out antibiotics from its entire meat supply This victory is just the next step of our mission to save antibiotics Keep Reading Blog Post Public Health Victory Subway Commits to Help Save Antibiotics Steve Blackledge Today Subway announced a plan to phase out antibiotics from it s entire meat supply in response to mounting consumer demand for stronger action by the chain to help save antibiotics from overuse Keep Reading Blog Post Transportation How Deadly are Your State s Roads Sean Doyle A new report by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute shows which states have the safest and most dangerous roads Here s how the states rank and what we can do about it Keep Reading Blog Post Consumer Protection As CFPB Advances Consumer Protection Attacks on CFPB Escalate Ed Mierzwinski This week the CFPB took

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/home?page=5 (2016-04-27)
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  • PennPIRG | Standing Up To Powerful Interests
    Financial Protection Bureau helps with bank complaints Since it started accepting complaints about banks 18 months ago the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has helped thousands of irate customers settle disputes over their accounts with roughly 1 out of 4 complaints resulting in monetary relief a just released analysis by a consumer group shows Keep Reading Pages first previous 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next last Report PennPIRG PennEnvironment Democracy Elections for Shale Fracking corporation EQT and the rest of the industry spend millions on electoral politics at the state and federal level elevating their interests and making it more difficult for ordinary citizens to have their voices heard Concurrently the industry exploits loopholes to pay extremely low taxes receives thousands of permits to drill on public lands and is exempted from many basic environmental standards Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Tax Following the Money 2013 Every year state governments spend tens of billions of dollars through contracts with private entities for goods and services subsidies to encourage economic development grants and other forms of spending Accountability and public scrutiny are necessary to ensure that state funds are well spent Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Tax The Hidden Cost of Offshore Tax Havens When U S corporations and wealthy individuals use offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes to the federal government it is an abuse of our tax system Tax haven abusers benefit from our markets infrastructure educated workforce and security but they pay next to nothing for these benefits Ultimately taxpayers must pick up the tab either in the form of higher taxes cuts to public spending priorities or increased national debt Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection Transparency in City Spending Following our earlier studies of government spending at the state level this report evaluates the progress of America s 30 largest cities toward Transparency 2 0 a standard of encompassing one stop one click budget accountability and accessibility Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Democracy Elections Confidential Elections Confidential describes how secret donors poured hundreds of millions into the 2012 election through social welfare non profits that are really political vehicles and via shell corporations formed as conduits to hide a funder s identity Keep Reading Pages first previous 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next last Blog Post Consumer Protection Court Reinstates Case Against Bank That Aided Senior Citizen Fraud Ed Mierzwinski This week the 3rd Circuit U S Court of Appeals overturned a lower court decision that had denied class action status to victims of a scheme targeting senior citizens who were suing Zions Bank and its payment processor affiliates for aiding the fraudsters U S regulators led by the Department of Justice have been fighting this and similar schemes yet powerful special interests have managed to create a false narrative in Washington DC that has been picked up by opponents of consumer protection laws They falsely claim that the government s target is legitimate payday

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/home?page=6 (2016-04-27)
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  • PennPIRG | Standing Up To Powerful Interests
    Influence The 2012 elections were by far the most expensive in history thanks primarily to the tidal wave of outside special interest money triggered by the Supreme Court s Citizens United decision The federal Senate and House races in Pennsylvania where outside groups spent nearly 12 million were no exception Keep Reading Report PennPIRG and Demos Democracy Billion Dollar Democracy The first presidential election since Citizens United lived up to its hype with unprecedented outside spending from new sources making headlines Demos and the PennPIRG Education Fund s analysis of reports from campaigns parties and outside spenders to the Federal Election Commission found that our big money system distorts democracy and creates clear winners and losers Wealthy Donors Over Average Citizens Special Interests Over the Public Interest Incumbents Over Challengers Grassroots Candidates Secret Spenders Over Voters Seeking Accountability Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Tax Subsidizing Bad Behavior BP s recent 4 5 billion legal settlement with the Justice Department for its misdeeds in the Gulf oil spill was historic for being the largest ever criminal settlement But it was historic for another reason as well none of it is allowed to be tax deductible Unfortunately too many settlements for wrongdoing end up as tax deductions Keep Reading Report PennPIRG 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 Americans who must pick up the tab in the form of cuts to public services more debt or higher taxes Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Consumer Protection Trouble in Toyland The 2012 Trouble in Toyland report is the 27th annual Pensylvania Public Interest Research Group PIRG survey of toy safety In this report PennPIRG provides safety guidelines for consumers when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards Keep Reading Pages first previous 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next last Blog Post Financial Reform The More I Hear About OPM Data Breach The Less I Know Except This It s Bad Ed Mierzwinski Was it 4 million 14 million or 18 million records breached how many times likely by Chinese hackers Whose fault was it The USOPM director says no one s Really Perhaps the worst data breach ever raises lots of questions but I haven t heard any good answers Federal employees their families their friends and their neighbors because all of them could be victims deserve better answers just as they deserve better service than USOPM s credit monitoring provider is giving them Keep Reading Blog Post Consumer Protection Hill Threats to CFPB Escalate As CFPB Protects Consumers Servicemembers Ed Mierzwinski Today the House Appropriations Committee at the behest of both Wall Street and predatory lenders seeking to run amok will vote to eliminate the CFPB s independence from the politicized appropriations process Meanwhile over at

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/home?page=7 (2016-04-27)
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  • PennPIRG | Standing Up To Powerful Interests
    taxes This tax avoidance costs the federal government 150 billion in tax revenue each year PennPIRG released new data illustrating the size of this loss with 16 dramatic ways 150 billion could be spent Keep Reading Pages first previous 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 next last Report PennPIRG Consumer Protection Big Banks Bigger Fees Over the last six months state PIRG staff conducted inquiries at 250 bank and 116 credit union branches in 17 states and the District of Columbia and reviewed bank fees online in these and 7 other states This report addresses the following questions How easy is it for consumers to shop around for financial services Are banks complying with current fee disclosure requirements Can consumers still find free or low cost checking accounts or has free checking ended Keep Reading Report PennPIRG and Demos Democracy Distorted Democracy The Post Election Edition Our new analysis of data through Election Day from the Federal Election Commission FEC and other sources shows how big outside spenders drowned out small contributions in the 2012 election cycle just 61 large donors to Super PACs giving on average 4 7 million each matched the 285 1 million in grassroots contributions from more than 1 425 500 small donors to the major party presidential candidates Keep Reading Report PennPIRG and Demos Democracy Distorted Democracy Big Money and Dark Money in the 2012 Elections The third release in the Million Dollar Megaphones series of analyses by PennPIRG and Demos on the role of big money in the 2012 elections Keep Reading Report PennPIRG and Voter ID Coalition THE GOOD THE BAD THE UGLY COLLEGES VOTER PROTECTION ACTIONS PREVENTING STUDENT DISENFRANCHISEMENT BY PA VOTER ID LAW The survey reveals what colleges have and have not taken student voter protection measures for under the Pennsylvaina voter ID law PennPIRG recommends various strategies to provide students with valid student IDs and educate them about the laws disenfranchising effects Keep Reading Report U S PIRG Education Fund and Demos Democracy MILLION DOLLAR MEGAPHONES Super PACs continue to be tools used by a small number of wealthy individuals and institutions to dominate the political process Keep Reading Pages first previous 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 next last Blog Post Public Health Two Years After West Disaster Are Communities Any Safer Two years ago a fertilizer plant explosion devastated West Texas There have been over 350 other preventable chemical accidents sincer yet the EPA has failed to take action to protect our communities from future preventable chemical disasters Keep Reading Blog Post Consumer Protection CFPB Begins Payday Regulation Push In Richmond Ed Mierzwinski We joined the CFPB in Richmond Thursday for a field hearing on a proposed rule to regulate payday lending and similar high cost short term loans The CFPB s draft rule is comprehensive covering a variety of loans but it contains potential loopholes that we and other advocates will urge the bureau to close before it finalizes this important

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/home?page=8 (2016-04-27)
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  • PennPIRG | Standing Up To Powerful Interests
    and Obama to enforce the rules Keep Reading Blog Post Transportation Transportation Funding Testimony In brief the PennPIRG Education Fund is advocating that the Commission recommend the expansion of existing revenue streams for public transit such as the real estate transfer tax the tire tax and the rental car tax as well as developing new funding mechanisms such as a transportation impact fee a vehicle sales tax based on weight and or fuel efficiency as well as several others Keep Reading Blog Post Transportation Testimony on Potential Lease of the PA Turnpike Many of the concerns raised about leasing Pennsylvania highways in general and the Turnpike in particular revolve around costs in a monetary sense especially raising tolls But there are many less visible costs whose impact will be far greater than toll increases under the proposed contract These costs need to be brought into the discussion Keep Reading Pages first previous 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 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 Make a Donation 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 We have the momentum Consumers like you convinced McDonald s and Subway to take action to protect public health This summer we re

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/home?page=58 (2016-04-27)
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  • The Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule for Investment Advice | PennPIRG
    their best interests Most people understandably but incorrectly assumed that this consumer protection was already required which until today was not the case According to conservative estimates more than 17 billion is unnecessarily lost every year from retirement savings under our current system Over decades putting this money back into the investment accounts of savers will mean the difference between scrambling to make ends meet well into retirement years or a financially secure future for millions of Americans 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

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/usp/department-labor-fiduciary-rule-investment-advice (2016-04-27)
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