The Tea Party's baseless claims of IRS discrimination left the agency on life-support, unable to police dark money gushing through "charities"

In 2013, Tea Party activists claimed that they'd been singled out by the IRS for political reasons, and that's why their associated nonprofits were not being approved by the tax agency. In reality, a longrunning investigation found that the IRS was merely incompetent and understaffed, but the Tea Party's tactic of going after the referee rather than the system worked for them: the result was an IRS that has had its resources cut even further, leaving it less -- nor more -- able to evaluate charitable organizations that apply for tax-exempt status. Read the rest

Cities want to opportunistically lay fiber lines during big digs, but Koch dark money is trying to stop them

Kentuckywired is a project to run fiber between cities in Kentucky, creating a high speed network for the state's operations. It involves a lot of expensive public works -- digging up streets and highways to lay down relatively cheap fiber and conduit (the digging is the expensive part). Read the rest

Tobacco giant Philip Morris is quietly funding an "anti-smoking" foundation offering $1 billion in "grants" to public health leaders

Derek Yach, president of The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, sent a letter to 344 public health researchers and groups inviting them to bid for grants from a $1b fund set up by tobacco giant -- the list was a roster of Yach's former colleagues from his stint at the World Health Organization. Read the rest

Wall Street and Trump are about to kill the CFPB, the only government agency that effectively polices bank scams, crimes and frauds

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (previously) is practically the only US regulator we can be proud of -- founded by Elizabeth Warren before she ran for the Senate, the CFRB is a consumer protection agency that has been at the forefront of reining in criminal activities like Wells Fargo's nationwide frauds and Equifax's dox attack on the USA, as well as being the best defense Americans have against predatory loan-sharks masquerading as "payday lenders," abusive debt-collectors, racial discrimination in lending, and the student loan racket. Read the rest

Trump's ethics office reverses policy, will allow anonymous donors to fund White House employees' legal defense

The US Office of Government Ethics has silently reversed its longstanding policy banning anonymous "gifts" to White House employees who have started legal defense funds after being accused of malfeasance. Read the rest

Republican election officials block restrictions on foreign spending in US elections

Once I got my green card this year, I was allowed to make the same campaign contributions as any US citizen: $2700 per candidate. But thanks to the three Republican members of the Federal Election Commission, who refused to even allow an agenda item to begin discussions to commence planning for limits on wholly-foreign-owned corporations making unlimited donations to super PACs, offshore oligarchs living abroad can go on spending tens of millions to influence the outcome of US elections. Read the rest

GOP platform: repeal campaign finance laws, allow unlimited dark/offshore money in US politics

The newly adopted campaign finance reform section of the GOP platform for the 2016 election calls for "raising or repealing contribution limits" for private individuals and demands an end to "requiring private organizations to publicly disclose their donors to the government," which means that the identity of PAC financiers will be completely secret, opening up offshore financing of US political candidates; finally, the platform condemns "forced funding of political candidates," meaning public election financing. Read the rest

Big Vitamin bankrolls naturopaths' attempts to go legit and get public money

Backed by huge donations from vitamin companies, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians is pushing to get naturopathic medicine recognized and regulated in all 50 US states, paving the way to receiving public funds in the form of Medicare reimbursements. Read the rest

Revealed: the hidden web of big-business money backing Europe and America's pro-TTIP "think tanks"

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is an EU-US "trade agreement" that will allow corporations to sue governments in secret tribunals to force them to repeal their safety, environmental and labor laws. Read the rest