Tag Archives: transparency

‘Speaking of Looting…’: Trump Admin. Refuses to Disclose Corporate Recipients of $500 Billion in Coronavirus Bailout Funds

“This is outrageous AND exactly what was obviously going to happen AND exactly why many of us opposed CARES as written.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-11-2020

Steve Mnuchin. Screenshot: CNN

Progressive critics and advocacy groups are responding with alarm and anger to the Trump administration’s refusal to disclose the names of more than 4.5 million companies that have collectively received over $500 billion in corporate bailout money through a federal program created to provide businesses with relief from the coronavirus pandemic.

The over $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed by President Donald Trump in March established the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with $349 billion in funding for forgivable loans. After the initial capital ran out in just 13 days, lawmakers approved $310 billion more—though over $130 billion of that amount was still left as of Tuesday. Continue reading

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‘About Damn Time’: Detroit Pauses Water Shutoffs Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

“It shouldn’t take a crisis like the spread of coronavirus to restore people’s right to drinking water.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-9-2020

A demonstrator holds a sign during a Detroit water shutoffs rally in 2014. (Photo: uusc4all/flickr/cc)

Progressives heaped praise on grassroots activists in Detroit on Monday after the Michigan city announced, amid the spread of the coronavirus, it was temporarily restoring water services to thousands of residents who’ve had their water shut off.

“About damn time,” said Abdul El-Sayed, a former head of the city’s health department and 2018 gubernatorial candidate. “It’s been six years since the U.N. declared Detroit water shutoffs an insult to human rights.” Continue reading

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By Allowing 6 Million Lead Service Lines to Stay In Ground, EPA’s Lead Rule Update Will Do Little to Protect Drinking Water, Critics Say

The EPA must remove service lines “before another generation of children grows up drinking lead from their kitchen tap water,” said the NRDC

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-10-2019

Water rights and public health groups said Thursday that the EPA’s overhaul of the nation’s lead rules would not do enough to protect people from lead toxicity. (Photo: wonderisland/Shutterstock)

Public health groups that have waited decades for the federal government to overhaul its lead-in-water rules were outraged Thursday over EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s “wrongheaded” plan to update the regulations .

The overhaul, which Wheeler detailed at a press conference in Green Bay, Wisconsin, does not include the removal of at least six million lead service lines that have been underground for decades. Continue reading

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Challenging EPA’s New FOIA Rule, Suit Seeks to Stop Trump’s “Shameful Attempt to Keep Americans in the Dark”

“We have a right to know what EPA is trying to hide and which Trump appointee is trying to hide it.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-24-2019

EPA headquarters in Washington. EPA/Flickr

A new lawsuit seeks to kill a recent Trump administration rule that critics say deals a blow to transparency by giving the Environmental Protection Agency broad authority to shoot down public information requests.

The new rule—put in place without public input—was published on the Federal Register June 26 and goes into effect July 26. Continue reading

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Emulating the CIA, New Rule Would Let Trump’s EPA Disregard FOIA Requests With Near Impunity

“They want to box everyone out of the process who might call their policies into question.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-25-2019

EPA headquarters in Washington. EPA/Flickr

The Trump administration is set to introduce a new rule, without giving the public a chance to weigh in, which will allow officials at the Environmental Protection Agency to deny information requests—similar to how the CIA does so—by falsely claiming requested records are unavailable.

A rule, signed by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, will expand agency officials’ authority to reject a FOIA request by labeling it as “non-responsive,” meaning the agency has decided to withhold the requested records or has claimed certain exemptions from FOIA. Continue reading

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With Trump Seen as ‘Symptom Not a Cause,’ US Rank Plummets on Global Corruption Index

“The U.S. is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balances, as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-29-2019

People gathered in the streets of London to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to the United Kingdom in July of 2018. (Photo: Alisdare Hickson/Flickr/cc)

An analysis out Tuesday from Transparency International “reveals the United States as a key country to watch in a global pattern of stagnating anti-corruption efforts and a worldwide crisis of democracy,” according to the group, with the U.S. rank on a global index plummeting by four points in just the past year under President Donald Trump.

The United States earned a score of 71 out of 100 on the watchdog’s 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), knocking it out of the top 20 countries for the first time since 2011. Continue reading

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Under Cover of Shutdown, Trump Admin Quietly Moves to Deprive ‘American People of Their Right to Know What Government Is Doing’

Critics warn proposed changes to how the Interior Department handles FOIA requests “are designed to facilitate more official stonewalling and delays in producing public records.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-31-2018

Outgoing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2016, when he served as a congressman for Montana. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)

Amid the chaos of the ongoing government shutdown and winter holidays, critics on Monday are calling out the Trump administration for quietly moving to make it harder for the public to find out what goes on behind closed doors at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

proposed new rule (pdf) filed to the Federal Register on Friday would enable the department—which, along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has been responsible for pushing through President Donald Trump’s widely condemned regulatory rollbacks—to ignore public records requests that officials deem too “unreasonably burdensome.” Continue reading

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‘Spitting in the Eye of Transparency,’ Govt Reveals Just 22 Mar-a-Lago Visitors

Watchdog groups promise to keep fighting Trump administration in court after it refuses to release full list of presidential visitors to so-called Winter White House

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-15-2017

On Friday, the Trump administration released a list of visitors from President Donald Trump’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe at the president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. (Photo: Shealah Craighead/TheWhite House)

“See you in court, Mr. President,” a watchdog group warned on Friday, after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), under pressure from a federal lawsuit, released just two pages of Mar-a-Lago visitor records, despite earlier promises to reveal the full list of visitors to President Donald Trump’s so-called Winter White House.

After waiting months for a response to our request for comprehensive visitor logs from the president’s multiple visits to Mar-a-Lago and having the government ask for a last minute extension, today we received 22 names from the Japanese prime minister’s visit to Mar-a-Lago, and nothing else,” said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). Continue reading

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