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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

As CFPB Advances Consumer Protection, Attacks on CFPB Escalate | Ed Mierzwinski

This week, the CFPB took a major step toward establishing a regulation restricting the use of forced arbitration clauses in consumer financial contracts, which give companies what the CFPB's director said was a "free pass from being held accountable by their customers." Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, powerful bank interests escalated their campaign to defund and defang the bureau, because it works for consumers, not them.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

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 | MoPIRG | Safe Energy

President Obama Reiterates Call for Home Star Energy Efficiency Program

President Barack Obama toured classrooms training students to install insulation and other efficient technologies and delivered remarks highlighting the proposed Home Star program for residential energy efficiency retrofits.  Home Star was included in the Senate Democratic leadership’s Jobs Agenda for this spring, and is also being considered in the House for inclusion in job creation legislation.  The program would provide rebates to consumers who invest in new energy efficient appliances, weatherize their homes, or purchase other efficient technologies for their home.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Democracy

Citizens United Solution Unveiled

Today Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Chris Van Hollen introduced a series of strong reforms in response to the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United ruling.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Health Care

Consumer Group Gives Senate Health Reform Bill a B+

With the addition of the managers' amendment, the Senate health reform bill earned a B+ from the consumer group U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) for its cost-containment provisions on Saturday.

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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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