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IRS Scandal Highlights Need for Increased Transparency in Campaign Financing | Bruce Speight

The public has long agreed that transparency in campaign spending is critical to the integrity of our democracy. The Supreme Court acknowledged this common-sense proposition in its notorious 2010 Citizens United decision: even as they opened the door for dark money to enter our elections by allowing all corporations, including nonprofits, to spend directly on elections, the majority of Justices reaffirmed the long-standing notion that the identity of campaign donors must be disclosed.
 

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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Transportation

A New Direction

The Driving Boom—a six decade-long period of steady increases in per-capita driving in the United States—is over.  Americans drive fewer total miles today than we did eight years ago, and fewer per person than we did at the end of Bill Clinton’s first term. The unique combina­tion of conditions that fueled the Driving Boom—from cheap gas prices to the rapid expansion of the workforce during the Baby Boom generation—no longer exists.

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News Release | WISPIRG Foundation | Transportation

New Report: Reduction in Driving Likely to Continue

As the average number of miles driven by Americans heads into its eighth year of decline, a new report from the WISPIRG Foundation finds that the slowdown in driving is likely to continue. Baby Boomers are moving out of the phase in their life when they do the most commuting, while driving-averse Millennials move into that phase. These demographic changes will likely keep driving down for decades, according to the report, “A New Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America’s Future.”
 

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Report | WISPIRG | Consumer Protection

The Rent-to-Own Rip-off

The 2013-2015 biennial executive budget, proposed by Governor Walker, includes an exemption for the rent-to-own industry from Wisconsin’s consumer protection laws. Rent-to-own businesses are appliance and furniture retailers that arrange “lease agreements,” rather than typical installment or credit sales contracts. These leases are regulated as a form of credit because the consumer is buying a product over time and paying a very high premium over the product’s sale price.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Consumer Protection

Survey Finds Astronomical Rent-to-Own Prices, Interest Rates

A new report found that five rent-to-own stores in Rockford, IL on average charged an annual percentage rate of 221% and displayed outright cash purchase prices as much as two to seven times the cost of the same or similar products at other major retailers. The legislature is currently debating a controversial proposal in the executive budget proposal to provide a special exemption from the Wisconsin Consumer Act for the rent to own industry and which would eliminate the requirement to disclose an APR for Rent-to-Own products sold in Wisconsin.
 

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Media Hit | Democracy

Secret Money Pours into Election

New report details secret money pouring into Wisconsin elections. Outside spending organizations reported $167.5 million in spending to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). “The most disturbing thing that we found was that the vast majority of super PAC money and outside spending in our elections is coming from just a few people, just a few very, very wealthy people.”

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News Release | WISPIRG Foundation | Democracy

AS SECRET MONEY POURS INTO WISCONSIN, NEW REPORT DETAILS LATEST NUMBERS ON OUTSIDE SPENDING FOR 2012 ELECTIONS

Outside spending on the Wisconsin senatorial race has already exceeded $4.5 million. With the presidential campaign heating up and Wisconsin named as a battleground state, more secret money is expected to flow into the state to influence the votes of Wisconsinites. Much about who funds these efforts and how this funding is spent remains a mystery, according to a report analyzing the latest campaign filings.

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News Release | WISPIRG Foundation | Food

Ag Subsidies Pay for 21 Twinkies per Taxpayer, But Only Half of an Apple Apiece

Federal subsidies for commodity crops are subsidizing junk food additives like high fructose corn syrup, enough to pay for 21 Twinkies per taxpayer every year, according to WISPIRG’s new report, Apples to Twinkies 2012. Meanwhile, limited subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy one half of an apple per taxpayer.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Consumer Protection

Poll Shows Voters Favor Strong Oversight of Wall Street and Back New CFPB

Financial reforms enacted in response to the financial meltdown remain popular with those likely to vote in 2012, a new opinion poll by Lake Research Partners shows. The poll was commissioned by AARP, National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) and Americans for Financial Reform (AFR). Saturday July 21 will mark the two year anniversary of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a new agency with a strong record of successes for consumers despite facing constant unfounded political attacks in its first year of work.

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Media Hit | Health Care

Parts of Affordable Health Care Law Already in Effect

The U.S. Supreme Court will rule Thursday whether all or parts of the Affordable Health Care Act the Obama Administration designed are constitutional. Several facets of the act have already been enacted, according to Bruce Speight, director of WISPIRG - the Wisconsin Public Interest Group or WISPIRG. Listen here: http://www.wuwm.com/news/wuwm_news.php?articleid=10683. 

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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Tax

Tax Shell Game

According to “Tax Shell Games: How Much Did Offshore Tax Havens Cost You in 2010?” a new Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) report, the use of offshore tax havens results in $434 in additional tax burden for taxpayers around the country.  Here in Wisconsin, it’s $372 per taxpayer.

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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Financial Reform

Big Banks Bigger Fees

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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Safe Energy

Unacceptable Risk

A new report released today by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group documents a history of safety problems at nuclear reactors in the United States. These incidents – like the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan – illustrate that nuclear power carries with it risks that are simply not worth taking.

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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Budget

Following the Money 2011

Wisconsin got a “D+” when it comes to openness about government spending, according to Following the Money 2011: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, the second annual report of its kind by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG).  Included with the report is an interactive online tool that allows users to view what Wisconsin is doing best and worst compared to other states’ transparency practices.

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Report | WISPIRG | Health Care

Building a Better Health Care Marketplace

The opportunity to create a state exchange will allow Wisconsin to increase competition and improve choices in our insurance market. However, to fully realize this opportunity, the exchange must be accountable to the public, and the individual and small business consumers who will buy their coverage through it.

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PRIORITY ACTION

Tell your senator that patients can't afford to wait another day. We need to end "Pay for Delay" right now.

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