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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

PIRGs, Others Ask CFPB & FTC To Investigate Experian/T-Mobile Data Breach

In a letter sent today, a number of state PIRGs and other leading privacy and consumer groups urged the CFPB and FTC to fully investigate the recent breach of an Experian subsidary that exposed 15 million T-Mobile customer and applicant records to the threat of new account identity theft. The letter asked whether the regulators could require Experian and the other two nationwide credit bureaus -- TransUnion and Equifax -- to give victims free security freezes to protect their credit reports.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

As CFPB Advances Consumer Protection, Attacks on CFPB Escalate | Ed Mierzwinski

This week, the CFPB took a major step toward establishing a regulation restricting the use of forced arbitration clauses in consumer financial contracts, which give companies what the CFPB's director said was a "free pass from being held accountable by their customers." Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, powerful bank interests escalated their campaign to defund and defang the bureau, because it works for consumers, not them.

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News Release | WashPIRG | Tax

Deepwater Horizon Settlement Comes with $5.35 Billion Tax Windfall

Today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice of a proposed $20.8 billion out-of-court settlement with BP to resolve charges related to the Gulf Oil spill allows the corporation to write off $15.3 billion of the total payment as an ordinary cost of doing business tax deduction. The majority of the settlement is comprised of tax deductible natural resource damages payments, restoration, and reimbursement to government, with just $5.5 billion explicitly labeled a non-tax-deductible Clean Water Act penalty. This proposed settlement would allow BP to claim an estimated $5.35 billion as a tax windfall, significantly decreasing the public value of the agreement, and nearly offsetting the cost of the non-deductible penalty.

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News Release | WashPIRG | Consumer Protection

Statement on Experian Breach of T-Mobile Customer Data

In the wake of a massive data breach affecting Experian’s computers holding 15 million files of T-Mobile hacked customers and applicants, we question why the firms are offering credit monitoring instead of paying to place credit, or security, freezes on all three of each victim’s credit reports. Only the security or credit freeze, available in any state, stops new account identity theft. Potential victims should freeze all of their “Big 3” credit reports from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

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News Release | WashPIRG Foundation | Democracy

New study shows potential impact of a small donor matching program on 2016 presidential race

Candidates in the 2016 presidential race would see a dramatic shift in their fundraising, and have a powerful incentive to focus more on small donors under a proposed small donor public financing system, according to a study released on Tuesday by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG). Using candidate filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) through July, “Boosting the Impact of Small Donors: How Matching Funds Would Reshape the 2016 Presidential Election” examines the impact of a program that matches small contributions with limited public funds for candidates who agree not to accept large donations.

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News Release | WashPIRG | Health Care

Twenty Top Generic Drug Delayed by Industry Payoffs

Washingtonians 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 today by Washington State Public Interest Research Group (Washington) and Community Catalyst. 

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News Release | WashPIRG | Higher Ed

Interest Rates for 104,863 Student Loan Borrowers in Washington Double

Due to Congressional inaction, the interest rates on federally subsidized student loans doubled on July 1 from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. The change will affect 104,863 students in Washington, and in total the rate increase will hike the cost of Washington students’ loans by $96.4 million. That translates into a $919 increase in debt per student, per loan.  However, because most new student loans are issued in August and September, Congress can still pass a retroactive fix.  

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News Release | WashPIRG | Health Care

Big Pharma's Pay-for-Delay Deals Take a Hit

Big Pharma’s controversial “pay-for-delay” agreements took a hit today. In FTC v. Actavis, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the FTC’s case against AndroGel's anti-competitive practices can move ahead in the lower courts. 

AndroGel offered payments to generic firms for not bringing their products to market. The court chose not to declare all such payoffs unlawful, spurring consumer advocates to call on Congress to finish the job. 

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News Release | WashPIRG | Higher Ed

Interest Rates for 104,863 Student Loan Borrowers in Washington Set to Double on July 1

Unless Congress acts, on July 1, the interest rate for 104,863 student loan borrowers in Washington will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. According to an issue brief released today by WashPIRG, the rate increase would hike the cost of Washington students’ loans by $96.4 million. That translates into a $919 increase in debt per student, per loan.

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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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Report | WashPIRG | Transportation

Fix-It-First

One out of every twenty bridges in Washington is likely to be deficient, for a total of 394 deficient bridges. An unacceptable 5.1 percent of bridges statewide are rated structurally deficient. According to 2009 inspection data and costs, Washington would need $2.31 billion to bring all of our bridges into a state of good repair. By comparison, Washington spent $93 million total on bridge repair and replacement in 2008. There’s a clear need for robust investment in repairing and replacing our bridges.

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Report | Food

Apples to Twinkies

America is facing an obesity epidemic – one that’s hitting children especially hard. Childhood obesity rates have tripled over the last three decades, with one in five kids aged 6 to 11 now obese.

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Report | U.S. Public Interest Research Group and National Taxpayers Union | Budget

Toward Common Ground

To break through the ideological divide that has dominated Washington this past year and offer a pathway to address the nation’s fiscal problems, the National Taxpayers Union and WashPIRG joined together to identify mutually acceptable deficit reduction measures. This report documents our findings.

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Report | WashPIRG | Financial Reform

Ten Reasons Why We Need the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Now

This report outlines predatory financial practices that hurt consumers and helped collapse the economy, costing us eight million jobs, millions of foreclosed homes and trillions of dollars in lost home and retirement values. It explains these and other emerging problems as “10 Reasons We Need The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Now.”

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Report | WashPIRG | Budget

Tax Shell Game

Tax havens are countries with minimal or no taxes, to which U.S.-based multinational firms or individuals transfer their earnings to avoid paying taxes in the United States. Users of tax havens benefit from access to America’s markets, workforce, infrastructure and security, but pay little or nothing for it—violating the basic fairness of the tax system.

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Priority Action

We're teaming up with big restaurant chains to stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. Call on KFC to stop selling meat raised on routine antibiotics.

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