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News Release | WashPIRG | Tax

Deepwater Horizon Settlement Comes with $5.35 Billion Tax Windfall

Today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice of a proposed $20.8 billion out-of-court settlement with BP to resolve charges related to the Gulf Oil spill allows the corporation to write off $15.3 billion of the total payment as an ordinary cost of doing business tax deduction. The majority of the settlement is comprised of tax deductible natural resource damages payments, restoration, and reimbursement to government, with just $5.5 billion explicitly labeled a non-tax-deductible Clean Water Act penalty. This proposed settlement would allow BP to claim an estimated $5.35 billion as a tax windfall, significantly decreasing the public value of the agreement, and nearly offsetting the cost of the non-deductible penalty.

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News Release | WashPIRG | Consumer Protection

Statement on Experian Breach of T-Mobile Customer Data

In the wake of a massive data breach affecting Experian’s computers holding 15 million files of T-Mobile hacked customers and applicants, we question why the firms are offering credit monitoring instead of paying to place credit, or security, freezes on all three of each victim’s credit reports. Only the security or credit freeze, available in any state, stops new account identity theft. Potential victims should freeze all of their “Big 3” credit reports from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

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News Release | WashPIRG Foundation | Democracy

New study shows potential impact of a small donor matching program on 2016 presidential race

Candidates in the 2016 presidential race would see a dramatic shift in their fundraising, and have a powerful incentive to focus more on small donors under a proposed small donor public financing system, according to a study released on Tuesday by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG). Using candidate filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) through July, “Boosting the Impact of Small Donors: How Matching Funds Would Reshape the 2016 Presidential Election” examines the impact of a program that matches small contributions with limited public funds for candidates who agree not to accept large donations.

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Report | WashPIRG Foundation | Democracy

Boosting the Impact of Small Donors

This report examines how the 2016 presidential race would be reshaped by a public financing system that amplifies the voices of small donors in our elections.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

IRS Admits Data Breach Worse Than Thought, Will Congress Do Wrong Thing Anyway? | Ed Mierzwinski

This week, the IRS has admitted that thieves accessed the personal information -- enough to allow them to take your tax refund -- of an additional 220,000 taxpayers, on top of the 114,000 reported in May. Meanwhile, we remain  concerned that Congress will use continued publicity about the Target breach and other breaches as an excuse to pass dangerous data security legislation. Dangerous? Yes, because it would only protect against limited financial identity theft harms, but eliminate stronger state protections against the harms posed by the IRS breach, the health insurance breaches and the OPM breach.

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News Release | Tax

House Committee Approves Cut to Agriculture Subsidies

Statement of U.S. PIRG Public Health Advocate Elizabeth Hitchcock on the House Appropriations Committee’s vote to approve an amendment to the 2012 Agriculture appropriations bill  to limit agriculture subsidies called direct payments to farmers with adjusted gross incomes lower than $250,000.

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Media Hit | Food

OBESITY: Farm subsidies make unhealthy food cheap

Letter by Steve Breaux, Seattle

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News Release | WashPIRG | Financial Reform

Two Years After Passing the Credit CARD Act, Congress Steps Up Attacks on Consumer Cop Designed to Enforce It

“The Credit CARD Act of 2009 has eliminated numerous credit card tricks and traps without causing skyrocketing interest rates or any of the other horrible side-effects that the banks once warned about.  In spite of that success, the banks and their Congressional allies are now seeking to eliminate the CFPB, the new consumer cop created to enforce the CARD Act and protect consumers from other tricks of the trade, like deceptive mortgage practices and unfair overdraft fees.

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News Release | WashPIRG | Democracy

Governor to sign watered-down campaign finance legislation

Governor Gregoire today is expected to sign legislation that was originally intended to curb campaign finance abuses in Washington, although the bill presented to her contains significantly fewer limits on abuses than it started with.

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News Release | WashPIRG | Consumer Protection

Chemical Threat Persists in Food and Beverage Packaging

Fourteen of the largest public packaged food and beverage companies still use the toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in their packaging despite studies linking the synthetic sex hormone to developmental problems, heart disease and diabetes, according to a new report by investors Green Century Capital Management (“Green Century”) and As You Sow. 

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DEFEND THE CFPB

Tell your representative to oppose the “Financial CHOICE Act,” which would gut Wall Street reforms and destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as we know it.

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