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News Release | WISPIRG | Financial Reform

SENATE CONFIRMS CFPB DIRECTOR CORDRAY, “GOOD NEWS FOR CONSUMERS AND FIRMS THAT WANT TO PLAY FAIR”

The July 16, 2013 confirmation of Richard Cordray to head the CFPB for a full term is good news for consumers, and for firms that want to play fair in the financial marketplace. The CFPB was created to rein in the reckless Wall Street practices that blew up our economy almost five years ago. Big banks that rely on consumer tricks and schemes to make money have wanted to kill the CFPB ever since, and for good reason: The CFPB has been enforcing critical consumer protection laws, and already forced Capital One to return $140 million in unfair credit card fees to consumers.
 

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Report | WISPIRG | Health Care

Top 20 Pay for Delay Drugs

Too often, consumers are forced to shoulder a heavy financial burden, or even go without needed medicine, due to the high cost of brand-name drugs. Our research indicates that one significant cause is the practice called “pay for delay,” which inflates the drug prices paid by tens of millions of Americans.
 

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News Release | WISPIRG | Health Care

Twenty Top Generic Drugs Delayed By Industry Payoffs

Wisconsinites with cancer, heart disease, epilepsy and other conditions have been forced to pay an average of 10 times more than necessary for at least 20 blockbuster drugs, according to a report released by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) and Community Catalyst. The report, “Top Twenty Pay-for-Delay Drugs: How Drug Industry Payoffs Delay Generics, Inflate Prices and Hurt Consumers,” reveals that these drugs were subject to an industry practice called “pay for delay,” in which brand name pharmaceutical companies pay off generic drug manufacturers to keep lower cost equivalents off the market, forcing consumers to pay higher brand-name drug prices.
 

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News Release | WISPIRG | Financial Reform

WISCONSINITES TELL SENATOR JOHNSON TO STOP CODDLING PREDATORY LENDERS AND BLOCKING CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION

The Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) and Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) delivered to the office of Sen. Ron Johnson the signatures of 5,180 citizens of Wisconsin, who call on the Senate to confirm Richard Cordray to a full term as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Under current Senate rules, 60 votes would be required to confirm the nomination but that favorable outcome for consumers is blocked by Senator Johnson and 42 other Senators who have pledged to oppose Cordray unless the CFPB is first weakened.
 

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Blog Post | Democracy

Wisconsin Bill Would Double Campaign Contribution Limits, Increase Big Money in Politics | Bruce Speight

On June 10, the Wisconsin General Assembly passed a bill that, if passed by the Senate, would double the contribution limits to Wisconsin political campaigns and allow big money to further drown out the voices of Wisconsin voters. The bill also contains a provision to implement an online registration system — a great idea, but not enough to make this big-money bill worth passing.
 

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News Release | WISPIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

New Survey Shows Free Checking Widely Available At Small Banks

A survey of 26 Wisconsin banks and credit unions and hundreds of banks and credit unions in 24 states and the District of Columbia found that free checking remains available at more than 6 out of 10 small banks and credit unions but was only found at one-quarter of surveyed big banks (those with over $10 billion in deposits). The survey released by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) also revealed that fewer than half of branches surveyed obeyed their legal duty to fully disclose fees to prospective customers on the first request, while 12% provided no fee information at all.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Democracy

Distorted Democracy: Big Money and Dark Money in the 2012 Elections

Outside spending on the Wisconsin senatorial race is the third highest of any race in the nation, at over $30 million. Only the presidential race and the campaign for Virginia's senate seat have seen more outside money pouring in to influence voters. This new analysis of pre-election data from the Federal Election Commission and other sources shows that outside spending in the first presidential election cycle since Citizens United is living up to the hype. With no limits on campaign spending Super PACs and Dark Money groups have used massive donations from a small number of wealthy donors to flood our elections with at least $1.1 billion dollars in outside spending. This new data is an update to the Million Dollar Megaphones report released in September, with new data on the last two months of election spending.

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News Release | WISPIRG Foundation | Budget

New Report: $8.2 Million in Economic Development Subsidies from 2009-2010 Have Unknown Outcomes

Wisconsin taxpayers have access to almost no information about the outcomes from the millions of dollars invested in economic development subsidies from the past four years, according to a new Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) Foundation report, Leaving Taxpayers in the Dark: The Urgent Need to Improve Transparency and Accountability in Wisconsin’s Economic Development Subsidy Programs. The report finds that online transparency has gotten worse despite promises from state leaders to enhance transparency and accountability in these programs.

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Media Hit | Democracy

Super PACs, secret donors dominate 2012 campaign in WI

The Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) has found that Super PACs and other groups, whose donors often remain anonymous, have already spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to persuade voters in presidential battleground states like 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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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Budget

Toward Common Ground

As the Congressional “Super Committee” begins its search for $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, a new study released by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) and the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) provides the panel with a great place to start: more than $1 trillion of spending cuts with appeal from across the political spectrum.

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Report | WISPIRG | Consumer Protection

Recipe for Disaster

According to this study, 54 recalls have occurred in Wisconsin due to contamination by Salmonella and other bacteria related to food borne illness in the last 14 months.

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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Financial Reform

10 Reasons We Need the CFPB Now

The report documents that while the failure of federal regulators to prevent predatory mortgage lending is well known, it is less well-known that federal regulators also failed to stop unfair credit card tricks, overdraft fee schemes and the growth of triple-digit APR and payday loans, which are now imposing a crushing financial burden on many families.

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Report | WISPIRG | Transportation

Aging in Place, Stuck Without Options

The first baby boomers turn 65 years old this year and seniors in eight Wisconsin metro areas are in danger of being unable to get around. The largest generation in history, Boomers are also the most dependent on automobile travel. Yet by 2015, more than half of seniors ages 65 and older in these eight Wisconsin cities will live in communities with poor options for people who do not drive, according to a new report.

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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Transportation

Building Boondoggles?

At a time when the State of Wisconsin is wielding an axe with many public programs and vital transportation services, it appears to be shoveling tax dollars toward four highly questionable highway expansion programs that could cost over $2 billion.

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The overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is threatening the effectiveness of lifesaving antibiotics. Call on the Food and Drug Administration to put an end to the worst practices.

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