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House holds stacked hearing to attack retirement savings rule proposal | Ed Mierzwinski

The House Financial Services Committee is holding a typically stacked hearing -- one consumer-side witness against four Wall Street-backed lobbyists  -- to attack the important retirement savings rule proposed by the Department of Labor. The rule simply requires retirement advisors to put the customer's needs  -- not their own compensation -- first.

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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 lenders and gun dealers. Wrong, the target is financial crimes against consumers, many consumers.

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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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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

House To Vote On Godzilla-Sized Rule Blocker, As Financial Committee Considers Smaller Rollbacks | Ed Mierzwinski

UPDATED: REINS Approved, near party line vote. Today, the House Financial Services Committee takes up a package of smaller rollback bills, many of which are opposed by Americans for Financial Reform and the PIRGs. Meanwhile, the House will bring up the Godzilla of all anti-health and safety bills, the REINS Act. Fortunately, the President has promised a veto.

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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.

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News Release | MoPIRG | Financial Reform

U.S. PIRG Applauds White House Changes to Stimulus Lobbying Rules

On Friday May 29th the White House announced a series of changes to the President’s March 20, 2009, Memorandum on Ensuring Responsible Spending of Recovery Act Funds.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

House Adopts Independent Ethics Oversight

Statement of Gary Kalman, Director of U.S. PIRG’s Federal Legislative Office

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

Bailout Briefing #5: Death, Taxes and TARP

"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." So wrote Benjamin Franklin. 

If he were here today, Franklin might be surprised to see how some of the largest federal bailout recipients are coming dangerously close to disproving his adage. They are defying insolvency and avoiding taxes, at the same time and on the taxpayer’s dime. 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Democracy

Modernizing Our Voter Registration System Could Eliminate Millions in Wasteful Spending

A new U.S. PIRG Education Fund study estimated that over $33,467,910.00 of public money from 100 counties was spent on simple registration implementation and error-correction issues in 2008.  

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News Release | Consumer Protection

Washington, D.C.: Chemical Threat Persists in Food and Beverage Packaging

Fourteen of the largest public packaged food and beverage companies still use the controversial chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in their packaging, according to a new report by two investor groups. Studies have linked the synthetic sex hormone to developmental problems, heart disease and diabetes.

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