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News Release | U.S. PIRG | COVID-19

The Federal Reserve’s new programs must be transparent to the public

Never before, not even during the Great Recession in 2008, has the Federal Reserve directed so much money to help so many companies so quickly. Its unprecedented efforts may prove essential. But with unprecedented power comes unprecedented responsibility to inform and engage the public.

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Blog Post | Democracy

An election judge’s perspective | Josh Chetwynd

Sometimes, metaphorically speaking, it’s good to see how the sausage is made. In my case, I had that chance when it comes to administering elections.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | COVID-19

Americans need a truly independent watchdog for the biggest stimulus package in history

President Donald Trump announced yesterday he was removing the independent head of the federal watchdog panel charged with overseeing disbursement of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act funds, less than two weeks after Congress passed the stimulus bill to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. In response, U.S. PIRG Tax and Budget advocate R.J. Cross released a statement.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

State legislators from 45 states demand online marketplaces end coronavirus price gouging

346 state legislators from 45 states are calling on the country’s top online marketplaces to crack down on price gouging amidst the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

Cordray To "Oblivious" CFPB: "Shield" Families From Economic Harms | Ed Mierzwinski

Rich Cordray, the first director of the CFPB and author of a new book on his six years at its helm, has issued a powerful memo to its current director, Kathy Kraninger, urging her to stop "relaxing" duties on financial firms and to "lose no further time" in "shield[ing] households and families" from the "economic harms" they face as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

Senator: Consumers Should Have More Control Over Credit Reports. We Agree. | Ed Mierzwinski

Throughout the anger and frustration over the Equifax breach debacle, consumers, reporters and legislators have repeatedly asked me: "Ed, why don't consumers, not credit bureaus, control when their credit reports can be shared or sold?" Now comes U.S. Senator Jack Reed (RI) with a PIRG-backed bill to do just that! 

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

Have Banker Deregulation Demands Jumped the Shark? | Ed Mierzwinski

When a tired TV show desperate for viewers goes over the top with wacky plots, it is said to have "jumped the shark." Unfortunately, even after the Wells Fargo debacle and even as bank profits return to record levels, the "viewers" of bank deregulation demands -- members of Congress -- still have an unslaked appetite for over-the-top, outrageous proposals to take consumer and financial system safety cops off the bank beat. Meanwhile, the public -- by wide, non-partisan margins, wants to keep the cops on the beat.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

The End for "Rent-A-Tribe" Payday Lending Schemes? | Ed Mierzwinski

This month, Scott Tucker, a payday lender who used his proceeds to fund a LeMans racing team, was sentenced to 16 years in jail on federal racketeering and other charges.   Last fall, his former business partner Charles Hallinan, known as the Philadelphia Main Line "godfather" of payday lending, was also convicted of federal racketeering charges. Tucker and Hallinan's main business model? Their claim that their payday loan enterprises were for the benefit of Native American tribal partners and therefore subject to tribal immunity. The authoritative public interest law firm Public Justice speculates: "Tribal Immunity" may no longer be a Get-Out-of-Jail Free Card for payday lenders." It's about time.

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Blog Post

States Can Give Bees A Safe Place To Exist | Kara Cook-Schultz

Bees are dying at unprecedented rates, with real consequences for our food supply, environment and economy. We're calling on states to take action. 

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

Consumer Bureau Threatened By President's Assertion He Can Select Temporary Director | Ed Mierzwinski

With the departure yesterday of director Richard Cordray from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, we don't doubt that the President has the authority to nominate a new director of the Bureau. But the President's assertion later that day that he can and would appoint his own temporary or acting director -- at odds with the plain language of two laws --  places the bureau's leadership in crisis.

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Blog Post

The CFPB has asked BigTech giants including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, PayPal, and Square to answer questions about their payment system practices. The CFPB has also asked consumers, small businesses and others for comments (including complaints), which are due on December 6. Learn more.

Graphic from the Internet Archive Wayback Machine's first crawl of the new CFPB's new website, February 8, 2011.

Blog Post

How to spot an unfixable bike designed for the dump

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

More than 125 medical professionals organized by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund sent a letter to McDonald’s Thursday urging the company to meet its 2018 commitment to reduce antibiotic use in its beef supply chain. The coalition delivered the letter at the start of World Antibiotic Awareness Week to stress the urgency of taking action to stop overusing our life-saving medicines in agriculture. Otherwise, the drugs may no longer heal sick people. 

News Release

Apple reversed its longstanding policy against selling spare parts, providing repair instructions, and making repair software tools available to customers.

Solid Waste

Apple corrects course on Right to Repair

Once one of the most visible opponents to repair access, Apple has now reversed its longstanding policy against making spare parts and repair software tools available to customers. The commitment came just days after the company pledged to stop deactivating Face ID for iPhone screens repaired independently.

 

Consumer Tips

Trouble In Toyland

The 36th annual Trouble in Toyland report calls attention to counterfeit toys evading safety rules and other issues online and in stores. Check out our tips on how to identify potentially unsafe toys and to minimize the risk in your home.

 

Solid Waste

Let’s 'Buy Less, Give More' this holiday season

For many, this holiday season will feel like a return to normal. But what if we didn't return to piles of presents and even bigger piles of waste? We don't have to, and U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s “Buy Less, Give More” guide has suggestions for what to do instead.

 

Health Care

PIRG applauds strong rules against surprise medical bills

A landmark PIRG-backed law protecting consumers from surprise medical bills just got some teeth. Newly proposed regulations dictating how to enforce the federal No Surprises Act will help ensure that payment disputes between insurers and out-of-network providers don't result in extra costs for the consumer.

 

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