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News Release | WashPIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection, Higher Ed

New Report Identifies Most Troublesome Private Lenders to Students

Thousands of American students are using the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) public Consumer Complaints Database to settle disputes about private student loans, according to a new report from the WashPIRG Education Fund.

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Report | WashPIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection, Higher Ed

Private Loans, Public Complaints

This report focuses on complaints about private student loans, which are the riskiest and most expensive way to pay for a college education. Private student loans make up just 15% of the student loan market. However, student loan borrowers with more than $40,000 in total debt disproportionately carry private student loans. The report highlights private student loan borrowers are beginning to use the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as an outlet to solve issues pertaining to their relationship with their lenders. 

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Media Hit | Food

Stop Subsidizing Junk Food, Big Ag

At a time when obesity rates in Washington are at an all-time high and our country faces tough federal budget choices, current farm policy showers giant agribusinesses with taxpayer handouts that subsidize junk food ingredients. The time is ripe for change and Rep. Suzan DelBene -- Washington's sole representative taking part in the negotiations over the farm bill -- can be the guiding voice to end these wasteful subsidies.

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News Release | WashPIRG | Democracy

ON DAY OF ORAL ARGUMENTS IN MCCUTCHEON V. FEC, WASHINGTON STATE PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND POLITICAL GROUPS GATHER TO PUSH BACK ON BIG MONEY IN POLITICS, DEMAND SOLUTIONS

Today WashPIRG, Washington Senator Adam Kline, Fair Elections Seattle, Backbone Campaign, WAMEND and University of Washington students gathered at the U.S. District Court in downtown Seattle to push back on the power of big money in elections, as the U.S. Supreme Court today heard oral arguments in McCutcheon v. FEC. Advocates say the case would further increase the electoral clout of a few large donors.

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Report | WashPIRG Foundation | Democracy

McCutcheon Money

We project that striking the aggregate limit would bring more than $1 billion in additional campaign contributions from elite donors through the 2020 election cycle.

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News Release | WashPIRG | Tax

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Washington Taxpayer $1,091 a Year, Washington Small Business $3,616

With Tax Day approaching, it’s a good time to be reminded of where our tax dollars are going. WashPIRG released a new study which reveals that the average Washington taxpayer in 2012 would have to shoulder an extra $1,091 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals. 

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News Release | WashPIRG Foundation | Tax

Washington Receives a “B-” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Washington received a “B-” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2013: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the fourth annual report of its kind by the WashPIRG Education Fund.  

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News Release | WashPIRG | Safe Energy

Hanford Nuclear Waste: No Such Thing as “Safe Storage”

Statement of WashPIRG Advocate Micaela Preskill on the recent announcement that a storage tank at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has been leaking radioactive waste:
 

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News Release | WashPIRG Foundation | Tax

Offshore Tax Dodging Blows a $40 Billion Hole in State Budgets, $150 Billion Nationally

WashPIRG released a new study revealing the real cost of offshore tax loopholes. This tax avoidance costs the federal government $150 billion in tax revenue every year. States lost $39.8 billion due to offshore tax dodging in 2012.  Many of America’s wealthiest individuals and largest corporations use tax loopholes to shift profits made in America to offshore tax havens, where they pay little to no taxes.

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News Release | WashPIRG Foundation | Budget

Seattle Receives a Grade of "C+" for Spending Transparency

Seattle received a grade of “C+” for spending transparency, according to a new report released today by WashPIRG. The report reviews Seattle’s progress toward comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility.

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Report | WashPIRG | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland 2012

The 2012 Trouble in Toyland report is the 27th annual U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) survey of toy safety. In this report, U.S. PIRG provides safety guidelines for consumers when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards.

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Report | WashPIRG Foundation | Financial Reform

Big Banks, Bigger Fees: A National Survey of Fees and Disclosure Compliance

A survey of 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 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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Report | WashPIRG | Consumer Protection, Food

Total Food Recall

Over the past few years, Americans have grown accustomed to seeing headlines about tainted food being recalled and pulled off store shelves. These high-profile recalls leave many Americans wondering whether enough is being done to reduce the risk of contaminated food and foodborne illness. And they are right to do so—48 million people get sick from eating tainted food each year, and despite significant costs to our economy and Americans’ public health, the number of such illnesses, particularly from Salmonella, has remained stagnant for at least 5 years.

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Report | WashPIRG Foundation | Food

Apples to Twinkies 2012

At a time when America is facing an obesity epidemic, crushing debt and a weak economy, billions of taxpayer dollars are subsidizing junk food ingredients. In this report, we find that in 2011, over $1.28 billion in taxpayer subsidies went to junk food ingredients, bringing the total to a staggering $18.2 billion since 1995. To put that figure in perspective, $18.2 billion is enough to buy 2.9 billion Twinkies every year - 21 for every single American taxpayer.

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Report | WashPIRG Foundation | Budget

Following the Money 2012

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. Transparency in government spending promotes fiscal responsibility, checks corruption, and bolsters public confidence.

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Priority Action

Tell the CEO of Safeway: Stand with consumers and give us the right to know what's in our food. Label your store-brand products that contain GMOs.

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