Public Comments 2014 (41-56)

The New Progressive Alliance periodically makes Public Comments by itself or with other organizations to federal agencies and legislative bodies in the United States and Canada in support of the Unified Platform. These are the 16 comments we made in 2014. They are also mentioned in the Annual Reports.

  • Public Comment 41: February 2014 - DOS on XL Pipeline
  • Public Comment 42: February 2014 - EPA on limiting carbon in Power Plants
  • Public Comment 43: February 2014 - IRS 501c4
  • Public Comment 44: March 2014 - SEC Disclosure in 4 year Strategic Plan
  • Public Comment 45: March 2014 - USDA on Utah Pipeline
  • Public Comment 46: May 2014 - FCC Transparency
  • Public Comment 47: May 2014 - SEC Section 1504 of Dodd-Frank Act
  • Public Comment 48: May 2014 - SEC Corporate Political Spending Disclosure
  • Public Comment 49: July 2014 - EPA Carbon Restrictions on Existing Power Plants
  • Public Comment 50: July 2014 - FLC College Divest
  • Public Comment 51: July 2014 - US Senate Transparency Act of 2014
  • Public Comment 52: August 2014 - FCC Transparency
  • Public Comment 53: September 2014 - SEC Joint letter
  • Public Comment 54: October 2014 - DOE Government Nuclear Loans
  • Public Comment 55: October 2014 - MSRB joint letter
  • Public Comment 56: December 2014 - EPA Methane Gas Reduction

Public Comment 41: February 2014 - DOS on XL Pipeline

February  17, 2014

Docket #: DOS-2014-0003

            The New Progressive Alliance at  urges you to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. Both Environmental Impact Statements  (SEIS) on the XL Pipeline are seriously flawed.

  • The earlier objections to the equally misleading EIS remain unanswered.
  • The assumption that this ecologically destructive and carbon-intensive extraction and processing of highly corrosive oil would develop at roughly the same pace regardless of whether the United States issues a permit for this pipeline is completely unsupported.  No other avenues for oil sands transport are of similar scale or in this advanced stage of development.
  • Safety considerations have not been addressed at all, especially the demonstrated higher risk of pipeline failure due to external corrosion in high temperature pipelines like Keystone XL. The 2010 spill of 1.2 million gallons of oil-sands into the Kalamazoo River demonstrates the expense ($800 million) and unprecedented difficulty in cleaning up this kind of oil. Since 2010 there have been many similar spills, fires, and explosions.
  • TransCanada, which would construct the Keystone XL pipeline, is currently under a sweeping audit for systematic violations of minimum safety regulations in the construction of its pipelines.
  • Standing out as a danger is the complete failure to protect our county's aquifiers which endangers our water supply. There is also a real question if there will be enough water left for drinking and farming after the fossil fuel and nuclear energy get top priority. (references happily furnished upon request)
  • Also ignored is the stability of our oceans, sometimes called the basis for life. The State Department Bureau of Oceans surely knows the oceans absorb heat and carbon dioxide which makes them warmer and more acidic. In addition to coral reefs, oysters, salmon, and fisheries, there is an alarming drop in plankton, the basis of other sea life and photosynthesis for oxygen both in the sea and over land. (references happily furnished upon request)
  • American taxpayers, not oil-sands refiners, foot the bill for spills of tar sands oil on US soil.
  • An  IRS decision exempts tar sands refiners from paying the 8-cents-per-barrel excise tax applied to other crude oil and petroleum products that funds the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.
  • Job claims are simply false. The SEIS - based on TransCanada’s own numbers - shows that most jobs are temporary, only 35 permanent jobs will be created by the pipeline, and that only 10% of the total workforce will be hired locally.
  • Most of the oil-sands is destined for export and therefor will not improve the US’s energy independence. Apparently Canada gets the money, China gets the oil, and we get the pollution.
  • Based on the increasing occurrence of extreme weather events and projections supported by a near consensus of the scientific community, the world needs to wean itself off of fossil fuels quickly and dramatically, not continue its development.
  • Fossil fuels are a finite source, thus this industry will inevitably be a failed business model. Wind, solar, and geothermal are infinite sources which we must rely on in the future, and therefore must point ourselves in that direction.
  • Also unaddressed are the more immediate environmental effects. These oil sands lie under approximately 140,000 square kilometers of the boreal forest in northern Alberta, which is being destroyed for its extraction. The development is the largest source of GHG emissions in Canada, and is already sickening the people and destroying the ecology around it.

Please do the right thing for future generations. Whether it is droughts and wildfires in the west, extreme weather across the middle of our country, or super storms on the east coast, climate change is staring our country in the face every day. We simply cannot afford to ignore the science that shows that we must leave the vast majority of existing proven fossil fuels in the ground. Keystone XL would cause even more of the tar sands – the dirtiest and most water intensive type of oil - to be developed at a time that we know we must leave the oil in the ground.

Public Comment 42: February 2014 - EPA on limiting carbon in Power Plants

February 18, 2014

Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0495

            The New Progressive Alliance at  supports new carbon pollution standards for new power plants. We need standards of performance for new affected fossil fuel-fired electric utility steam generating units and stationary combustion turbines for both coal and natural gas.  

            There are two weaknesses in the proposals. First, it is not logical to have standards “based on partial implementation of carbon capture and storage as the best system of emission reduction” because carbon capture and storage is an illusion that has not been successfully demonstrated anywhere. Second, eventually old plants need to be phased out or we will become overly reliant on the most inefficient and most polluting plants. To do that eventually we should have standards for old plants and a time when they will not be “grandfathered” out of needed regulation.  Coal Plants also emit   mercury, sulfur, arsenic, cyanide, soot, and lead. They are not responsible for the health effects or clean up when coal ash spills. We should be strengthening – not weakening – reasonable restrictions on coal.  Though there is room for improvement, please forge ahead with your proposals as a necessary first step.

The overwhelming consensus of qualified scientists publishing peer reviewed articles say climate change caused in no small part by carbon pollution. This in turn causes extreme, erratic weather. In 2013 alone our precious planet was subject to flooding, unprecedented wildfire, crippling drought, and devastating super storms. The clear and unmistakable trend shows this is accelerating. Further scientists believe the earth may be on the verge of several tipping points which we can’t come back from. These measures will protect public health, create jobs, and help grow our economy by encouraging investment in cleaner energy sources. Please do the right thing for future generations.

Public Comment 43: February 2014 - IRS 501c4

February 25, 2014

Re: NPRM ID #:   IRS-2013-0038-0001

Ms. Amy F. Giuliano

Office of the Associate Chief Counsel (Tax Exempt and Government Entities)

CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-134417-13)

Room 5205

Internal Revenue Service

P.O. Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station

Washington, DC  20044



Dear Ms. Giuliano:

            The New Progressive Alliance at  applaud the disclosure of corporate groups which use 501(c)(4) status as means to disguise their electoral influence.

While it is important to stop corporate misuse of the 501(c)(4) designation, it is also important to consider organizations such as ours which have formed and pursued our work completely and quite purposefully free of corporate influence. 

Some are pushing to strike political speech and education from the permitted public interest activities of 501(c)(4) organizations, but the real concern should be for corporate-funded (c)(4) orgs which push policy points of view only to protect the industries which fund them. Rules for organizations with zero corporate donors working to raise public consciousness of critical issues - expanding ballot access beyond the two corporate-funded parties; reforming laws which perpetuate corporate malfeasance; reversing the practice of placing concerns for profit before human rights and planet health, to name just a few of our educational efforts - should be considerate of the huge difference between this kind of grassroots work and that of (c)(4) orgs which simply use the designation to mask agendas focused on advancing issues which benefit their donor orgs’ bottom lines.

The reporting requirements for a 527 are an unfair burden on small, public-interest non-profits like ours, and I speak from direct experience. The NPA was initially organized as a 527 and switched to 501(c)(4) primarily because of that reporting burden. We organized at first as a 527 because we wanted all our donor info to be available, even though IRS itself recommended we organize as a (c)(4), based on our scope and intention to have small individual donors. After two-plus years of struggling to meet the reporting requirements, we opted to take the IRS's original advice and reorganized late last year as a (c)(4).

We at the grassroots are up against big money orgs with limitless full-time staff. We simply do not have the resources or time to meet the much more time-consuming 527 filing requirements. Should the line of demarcation therefore be the acceptance of corporate donations? Perhaps. If non-profit “educational” orgs are getting much of their funding from profit-motivated interests - or through other "non-profit orgs” like corporate-funded “think tanks,” with clear relationships to and histories of advocating in support of for-profit industries, we believe it's safe to assume they also have the staff  necessary - and should surely have the responsibility - to organize and file as 527s.

In recent years many organizations have exploited the confidentiality rules of 501(c)(4) to evade that regime, to the detriment not only of U.S. political discourse but also the non-profit sector. The Final Rule should ensure that groups with significant hidden partisan political activity cannot obtain exemption under 501(c)(4), or indeed under any parallel provision of Section 501. Groups which voluntarily disclose their donors and expenditures should retain 501(c)(4) status. 

Public Comment 44: March 2014 - SEC Disclosure in 4 year Strategic Plan

March 7, 2014

Subj: 4 Year Strategic Plan for the SEC, file 265-28

            The New Progressive Alliance at  urges the SEC to include a plan for disclosure of corporate political contributions. While any political contributions by a public corporation should be known to all, it would still be of great benefit even if the disclosure be only to the stockholders.

Disclosure of political expenditures shows a company’s values, plans and objectives as well as exposing risks not otherwise apparent to investors. Shareholders can also more easily make investments consistent with their values. 

Both citizens and corporations now agree that secret corporate political spending is bad for business. Half of S&P 100 companies make their political contributions transparent and require their directors to oversee the process. Three-quarters of business executives polled by the Corporate Reform Coalition support the SEC rule to require corporations to disclose their political spending. These corporations understand that transparency and oversight act as a necessary counterbalance to the inherent legal, reputation and brand risks that come with involvement in the political process. Shareholder proposals have been an important driver of enhanced transparency and oversight.

Corporate contributions used to be regulated and now they are not even disclosed. Corporations are free to secretly contribute to political causes in contrast to unions which face strict disclosure requirements. Unlike the SEC requirements for corporations, unions must submit regular reports on their political contributions. More than $6 billion was spent on last year’s elections nationwide, over double the amount spent in 2000. That is not a good trend, especially when one considers the full extent of the money spent may not have been disclosed.

The SEC should not overlook the three-quarters of a million public comments that it has already received urging disclosure of corporate political contributions. The huge number – a record for SEC comments – clearly indicate investors, academics and the general public recognize the importance of more disclosure of corporate  political activity.

Public Comment 45: March 2014 - USDA on Utah Pipeline

March  17, 2014


            The New Progressive Alliance at  urges you to reject the 135-mile pipeline Tesoro wants to build for three reasons.

  • Pipelines have a bad record on reliability. See references 7, 8, 11, 13, 18, 19, 24, 31, 47, 55, 57, 62, 138, 154, 165, 214, 304, 310, 319, 331, 335, 337, 338, 341, 381, 383, 384, 395, 427, 447, 457, 487, 501, 508, 510, 512, 530, 536, 538, 539, 543, 548, 549, 566, 567, 568, 569, 570, 571, 572, 573, 574, 577, 578, 586, 587, 588, 596, 597, 598, 605, 606, 640, 721, 722, 723, 724, 734, 735, 736, 778, 779, 780, 784, 849, 850, 851, 852, 853, 854, 855, 891, 974, 975, 976, 977, 978, 979, 980, 981, 1081, 1082, 1083, 1084, 1085, 1086, 1087, 1088, 1089, 1090, 1091, 1092, 1093, 1120, 1204, 1205, 1206, 1207, 1208, 1209, 1210, 1211, 1212 in the article at
  • The pipeline puts the communities Bountiful/Woods Cross, North Salt Lake, and the University/Avenues at risk.
  • Science shows us through an overwhelming group of peer reviewed published articles that we must leave these fossil fuels in the ground. A letter dated 2008 from the Environmental Protection Agency to the BLM noted elevated levels of particulate matter and ozone recorded from monitoring stations as far away as Canyonlands, the largest roadless tract and one of the last few wilderness areas in the lower 48 states. This is the worst type of oil to mine. The pipeline would move up to 60,000 barrels of black and yellow waxy crude a day. Because of its high paraffin content, Uinta’s waxy crude must remain warm in transit; black wax crude heated to 95 degrees, and yellow wax to 115 degrees.

Please look at the long term consequences of what your decision will have.

Public Comment 46: May 2014 - FCC Transparency

August  27, 2014

Federal Communications Commission

MB Docket No. 14-127

The New Progressive Alliance at  encourages the Federal Communications Commission to require cable and satellite TV providers, as well as radio stations, to post political advertisement contracts online. This would greatly increase transparency by offering needed information to journalists, academics and others interested in campaign disclosure. Requiring the public to physically visit stations and request paper files during normal working hours is too great a burden when the internet is available.

The result of your agency winning a court decision in 2012 to establish a pilot project with about over 200 stations in the nation's 50 top markets was a very successful program that can be repeated all over.

We agree with the Sunlight Foundation, the Campaign Legal Center, and Common Cause that this increased transparency helps identify campaigns not reported to the Federal Election Commission. Increased openness can only help a democratic republic.

Public Comment 47: May 2014 - SEC Section 1504 of Dodd-Frank Act

May 6, 2014

Security Exchange Commission

            The New Progressive Alliance at  urges you to neither delay nor dilute with amendments and exceptions in reissuing a strong final rule on Section 1504 of the Dodd–Frank Act. It’s what the American people expect, it’s what investors want, and it is needed to prevent another economic collapse.

            We note with concern that oil and gas companies – already the beneficiaries of federal loans, tax write offs, land grants, and subsidies unavailable to renewable energy – want to block transparency by not publishing what political contributions they make or details of other deals. This lack of transparency was a leading cause of the last economic collapse and a big reason for the creation of the Dodd–Frank Act.

            The longer the delay and the more exceptions are added to the Dodd–Frank Act the weaker and less effective it becomes. Please do not delay or weaken it.

Public Comment 48: May 2014 - SEC Corporate Political Spending Disclosure

May 2, 2014


Comments in Support of Petition File Nr. 4-637-2

            The New Progressive Alliance at  supports the petition filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (“CREW”) and urges the SEC to impose a uniform disclosure regime on all public companies.

Despite an unprecedented level of public support for this cause – at least

700,000 signatures – and the inclusion of this matter on the SEC 2013 regulatory agenda, the SEC has apparently now abandoned consideration of regulations that would require public companies to disclose political activity spending. Unfortunately, however, the need for and public interest in these regulations have increased exponentially.

            The SEC clearly has the authority to make reasonable disclosure requirements on political spending by public companies. Section 14(a) of the Securities Act of 1934 specifies disclosure obligations to which all public companies are subject. At the same time, Congress accorded the SEC discretion to promulgate “such rules and regulations as the Commission may prescribe as necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors.” Section 14(a), 15 U.S.C. 78n(a).

Even more than Congress, courts have recognized the SEC’s “broad discretionary powers to promulgate . . .rules requiring disclosure of information beyond that specifically required by statute.” Natural Res. Defense Council, Inc. v. SEC,  606 F.2d 1031, 1050 (D.C. Cir. 1979). With respect to the disclosure provisions of Section 14(a), the SEC is considered to have “even greater discretion to require disclosure by rulemaking.”  Id.

And yet though the Supreme Court has consistently acknowledged the validity and utility of corporate disclosure requirements, the SEC has yet to propose regulations that would require public companies to disclose their political spending. This is the weak link in making the system work. The evidence of this is detailed in CREW’s details of the following.

  • increasing shareholder actions asking for disclosure so they can properly guide the company’s actions
  • difference between claims of transparency and real dealings
  • dramatic and continuing increases in corporate political spending
  • increasing contributions to dark money groups
  • a lack of uniformity and clarity in corporate disclosure policies to the point that some companies’ policies are written in ways likely to mislead or confuse investors and shareholders who are not well versed in campaign finance matters or to keep some contributions secret. The irony is this is done while promoting an appearance of transparency.

The solution? As CREW suggested, the solution is “a clearly delineated, unambiguous, and uniform set of disclosure requirements for all public companies.” We are just talking about disclosure, not regulation. There is an increasing lack of confidence in both shareholders and citizens in the rule of law in this country.  The SEC could help repair this through simple effective disclosure requirements.

Public Comment 49: July 2014 - EPA Carbon Restrictions on Existing Power Plants

July 11, 2014

Administrator Gina McCarthy

Environmental Protection Agency

            The New Progressive Alliance at  encourages you to proceed with your proposal to reduce carbon pollution from existing coal and gas plants. It is absolutely necessary to address climate change as verified by the vast majority of scientists who are published in legitimate recognized scientific journals.

Our most vulnerable citizens - including children, older adults, people with chronic diseases and people living in poverty - are most at risk. Carbon pollution already worsens air quality resulting in more asthma attacks, heat-related deaths, and respiratory complications. Carbon pollution also contributes to warmer temperatures which is speeding the spread of infectious diseases. These have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities here in the Southeast, most notably children, the elderly, communities of color and low-income residents. This has already been documented in the EPA Fact Sheet that came with this proposal.

Unfortunately, these rules fall far short of what is needed. This is because the standard baseline year for measuring emissions — employed for decades by governments, scientists, advocates, and journalists around the world, and codified in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change — has always been 1990. Given the proper 1990 baseline, this proposal amounts to a reduction of less than 4 percent. Much of the 2020 goal of 25% emissions reduction has already been achieved, leaving only an additional 5% to be achieved over 10 long years. The new power-plant regulation relies on similar accounting tricks. EPA should call for more ambitious reductions and insure states stick to the schedule by allowing for no extensions on plans for 2020.

            These long overdue common sense measures should not be a continued excuse to support the nuclear power industry. Over half a century of experience throughout the world indicates nuclear energy is not the answer. It is the most expensive, the most delayed, and dangerous. It is also carbon intensive in uranium mining and processing where fracking is used just as for natural gas, building the nuclear plant, and transportation of uranium to and used radioactive waste from the nuclear plant. We do not have an agreed upon place to store or agreed way to transport nuclear waste. Fusion and thorium reactors have always been theoretical but "just around the corner" and every country in the world has backed away from breeder reactors. See references 65, 70, 89, 103, 125, 126, 131, 223, 274, 344, 364, 378 - 380, 406 - 408, 412, 435 - 439, 484, 485, 519, 520, 558 - 565, 582 - 585, 603, 604, 692 - 705, 719, 720, 747 - 749, 834 - 836, 847, 848, 891, 942 - 963, 1072 - 1077, 1175 - 1196, 1320, 1364 – 1382 in this article:

EPA’s own  estimates show the rule will “cut particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide and other toxic coal plant emissions and water pollution by more than 25 percent as a co-benefit” and “shrink electricity bills roughly 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system.”

We believe strengthening and energetically pursuing this proposal will protect public health and address climate change while ensuring reliable, clean power and that new clean energy technology will create a new generation of green jobs. We urge you to finalize this proposal.

Public Comment 50: July 2014 - FLC College Divest

July 11, 2014

Fort Lewis College Foundation

1000 Rim Dr.

Durango, CO 81301

            The New Progressive Alliance at  urges you to reconsider your decision not to divest from fossil fuels. No good reason – either financial or moral - was given to retain investment in fossil fuels and the fact that you have so little invested means it would be painless to divest.

            One of our Fort Lewis graduates of 1974 assured us that being in the beautiful Four Corners area and being an advanced college virtually assured that divestment of fossil fuels was almost a certainty. Please do not disappoint either your graduates or future generations.

Public Comment 51: July 2014 - US Senate Transparency Act of 2014

July 23, 2014

Senate Committee on Rules & Administration

United States Senate

Washington, D.C.  20510 

Dear Senator:

We write to you to encourage your support of the Real Time Transparency Act of 2014, introduced by Sen. Angus King (I-ME) as S. 2207 in the Senate and by Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) as H.R. 4442 in the House.

Our 17 organizations come from diverse backgrounds, with concerns ranging from corporate governance to constitutional rights. We have many different priorities, but we all agree that the unprecedented 2014 Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, makes it imperative that a system of full, real-time transparency of money in politics be firmly established.

We are troubled for many reasons by the temper of the Roberts Court in undoing reasonable limits on money in politics, as in the McCutcheon decision that grants new rights to just a few hundred very wealthy individuals who can afford to make unlimited aggregate contributions in excess of the now-invalidated limit of $123,200 per election cycle. But we are particularly alarmed that there is no adequate disclosure system in place so that the public can know who is doling out huge contributions in near real time and whether these large donations are buying undue influence over our elected officials.

In this day and age of the Internet, there is no excuse for not having real time disclosure of large contributions to candidates and committees. On-line filing by political committees is easy and inexpensive, and the on-line filing programs are already in place. Even now some political committees are required to file large campaign expenditures within 48 hours in the last few weeks of an election, which has proved to be of little burden to the filers.

The Real Time Transparency Act would impose a similar 48-hour reporting requirement on candidates, parties and political committees of major donations of $1,000 or more throughout the calendar year. Candidates, parties and PACs already keep track of these donations as they are received; the Real Time Transparency Act would merely require them to let the public know as well.

While the McCutcheon decision poses a great deal of damage to the integrity of our government, by empowering a handful of very wealthy individuals to make millions of dollars in campaign contributions each election cycle, the Court recognized that some of this damage could be offset by making use of the Internet for transparency purposes. The Court said: “With modern technology, disclosure now offers a particularly effective means of arming the voting public with information.”

Unfortunately, the Court is naive in thinking that such a transparency system currently exists.

We have the means, we have the technology, to make real time disclosure a reality. But to get there, Congress must make it so. This bill is an important step to shining a light on the likely massive hard money contributions that the Supreme Court opened the door to in McCutcheon.  By expanding the current 48-hour disclosure requirement, it helps to ensure that large contributions from very few, very wealthy individuals are reported in time for voters to react and respond to such contributions, whether they come right before an election, a hearing or a vote.

Our organizations urge you to support the Real Time Transparency Act of 2014.




Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School

Campaign Legal Center

Center for Media and Democracy

Common Cause

Democracy 21


Free Speech for People

Harrington Investments, Inc.

New Economy Project

New Progressive Alliance

NorthStar Asset Management, Inc.

Public Campaign

Public Citizen

Social Equity Group

Sunlight Foundation

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

Zevin Asset Management, LLC

Public Comment 52: August 2014 - FCC Transparency

August  27, 2014

Federal Communications Commission

MB Docket No. 14-127

The New Progressive Alliance at  encourages the Federal Communications Commission to require cable and satellite TV providers, as well as radio stations, to post political advertisement contracts online. This would greatly increase transparency by offering needed information to journalists, academics and others interested in campaign disclosure. Requiring the public to physically visit stations and request paper files during normal working hours is too great a burden when the internet is available.

The result of your agency winning a court decision in 2012 to establish a pilot project with about over 200 stations in the nation's 50 top markets was a very successful program that can be repeated all over.

We agree with the Sunlight Foundation, the Campaign Legal Center, and Common Cause that this increased transparency helps identify campaigns not reported to the Federal Election Commission. Increased openness can only help a democratic republic.

Public Comment 53: September 2014 - SEC Joint letter

September  4, 2014


One Million Americans Urge the SEC to Stop Secret Corporate Political Spending


The SEC should respond to this mandate by requiring corporations to disclose their use of corporate resources for political activities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a record-breaking demonstration of support, over one million commenters have submitted comments to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) calling on the agency to act now to require publicly traded corporations to disclose their use of corporate resources for political purposes to their shareholders.

In a press conference outside the agency on September 4, 2014, members of the Corporate Reform Coalition (the New Progressive Alliance with 51 other organizations) urged the agency to move swiftly on the rule in response to the overwhelming demand. A petition requesting this rulemaking was filed in 2011 by a bi-partisan committee of leading law professors. The rulemaking was placed on the agency’s agenda by former SEC Chair Mary Shapiro in 2013, but was removed by Chair Mary Jo White earlier this year, sparking outrage among investors and the public.

John C. Bogle, Founder of Vanguard, said "It’s high time that the abuse of corporate political spending comes to an end. Disclosure of corporate political contributions to the corporation’s shareholders—its owners—is the first step toward dealing with the potentially corrupt relationship between corporate managers and legislators. Shareholders must not be left in the dark while their money is spent without their knowledge."

“The overwhelming support from public comments the petition has attracted, and the strength of the arguments for transparency put forward in the petition, provide a strong case for SEC initiation of a rulemaking process,” said Lucian Bebchuk, Professor and Director, Program on Corporate Governance at Harvard Law School and co-chair of the committee that filed the petition. “Furthermore, opponents of the petition have failed in their comments to provide any good basis for avoiding such a process.”

The one million supportive comments have come from diverse sources such as John C. Bogle, former CEO of Vanguard, U.S. Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md), Mike Capuano (D-Mass.) and 70 other members of the U.S. House, more than a dozen U.S. Senators including Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), five state treasurers, the Maryland State Retirement Agency, US SIF:  The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, CREDO Mobile, the Sustainable Investments Institute, a large group of firms managing more than $690 billion in assets and many, many more.

 “SEC Chair Mary Jo White should seize this moment to safeguard investors by providing them with information necessary to make their investing decisions” said Lisa Gilbert, Director of Congress Watch at Public Citizen. “Concerns have been raised that the agency has delayed action on this common sense rule because of the opposition of powerful business lobbies, themselves beneficiaries of dark corporate money.”

“The SEC has the authority and the responsibility to regulate for the protection of investors and the public interest, and has a duty to respond to the changed circumstances brought by the Citizens United decision” said Liz Kennedy, Counsel at Demos. “Americans are demanding long-overdue action on the corporate political disclosure rule from the SEC.”

Laura Berry, Executive Director of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility said “It is no surprise that over one million comments have been received demanding greater transparency on corporate political spending.  As investors, this information is crucial to understand corporate strategies that impact the future value of our investments. As citizens, we must fully understand how our government is influenced by corporate interests.  Understanding where and how corporate dollars flow is the most straightforward approach.”

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling allowed corporations to spend unlimited sums to influence elections and led to the rise of “dark money” groups that advocate for the election or defeat of candidates but don’t disclose their donors. Over $300 million in secret political spending was spent to influence the 2012 elections; two months before Election Day in the 2014 cycle dark money has already hit $50 million. In Citizens United, Justice Kennedy emphasized the importance of disclosure and accountability for corporate political spending, writing that disclosure requirements “provide[] shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions and supporters.” The petitioners are urging the SEC to have all companies disclose comparable information on their political spending.

The area of corporate political spending requires particular investor protections because it exposes investors to significant new risks. Certain corporate political spending choices may diverge from a company’s stated values or policies, or may endanger the company’s brand or shareholder value by embroiling it in hot-button issues. Investors have a right to know what candidates or issues their investments are going to support or oppose.

Amanda Ballantyne, National Director of the Main Street Alliance said “given the studies showing that political spending by corporate executives does little to benefit the overall company, equity shareholders like small business owners deserve to know how the money they invest is being used. It is the duty of the SEC to protect these consumers and to require the disclosure of political expenditures to stockholders.”

"Investors have filed hundreds of shareholder resolutions urging companies to disclose their political spending and lobbying expenditures, convinced that companies should be transparent about how investor dollars are spent directly or indirectly to impact elections and influence policy. Despite the progress of close to 150 companies choosing to disclose information about their political spending we desperately need a level playing field where all companies disclose similar comparable information. The SEC can play an important role for investors by creating a standard regulation providing for such disclosure" said Tim Smith, Director of ESG Shareowner Engagement, Walden Asset Management.

Demonstrating strong investor concern about political spending, in the last five years there have been 166 votes on shareholder resolutions asking political contributions disclosure, with an average support level of 30 percent. Additionally, 76 additional resolutions were withdrawn after negotiations led to companies expanding their disclosure policies.

Americans across the political spectrum strongly support requiring transparency and accountability in corporate political spending. Pollingshows that eight out of 10 Americans (81%) believe that corporations should only spend money on political campaigns if they disclose their spending immediately (including 77 percent of Republicans and 88 percent of Democrats). Eighty-six percent of Americans agree that prompt disclosure of political spending would help voters, customers, and shareholders hold companies accountable for political behavior (support ranged from 83 percent to 92 percent across all political subgroups).

“For more than a decade, the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, with more than $45 billion in assets, has required the disclosure of corporate political spending in its proxy voting guidelines,” said State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, Chair of the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System Board of Trustees. “We believe such disclosures ensure transparency and accountability of corporations to their investors. Since the petition was offered to the SEC three years ago to adopt the rulemaking project on corporate political spending, the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System has been and will continue to be in support of this effort.”

“Americans want a democracy where facts and evidence hold more sway than secret corporate influence. The public overwhelmingly wants the SEC to help make that a reality” said Gretchen Goldman, Lead Analyst at The Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

"We need to get all corporate money out of politics, period, " said Becky Bond, CREDO Mobile's vice president. "But until that happens, the SEC can at the very least make corporate CEOs disclose to their shareholders and the public how much money they are spending out of company coffers in order to influence the outcome of our elections." 

The below organizations joined in this statement.

US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment

The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

Founder of GMI Ratings Nell Minow


Public Citizen

Main Street Alliance

Domini Social Investments

Alliance for a Just Society


Walden Asset Management

Green Century Capital Management

Center for Political Accountability

The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia


Common Cause

The Social Equity Group

Christopher Reynolds Foundation

Socially Responsible Investment Coalition

Communications Workers of America

Democracy 21

Zevin Asset Management

Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes


Responsible Endowments Coalition

The Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists

Trillium Asset Management

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)

Sisters of the Presentation of the BVM

Corporate Responsibility Committee, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

People For the American Way

International Brotherhood of Teamsters


Unitarian Universalist Association

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

New Progressive Alliance

Free Speech For People

Friends Fiduciary Corporation

Brennan Center

Progressives United

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Investor Voice

Public Comment 54: October 2014 - DOE Government Nuclear Loans

October 28, 2014

Subj: Comment on Draft Solicitation for Federal Loan Guarantees for Advanced Nuclear Energy  Projects

            The New Progressive Alliance at  urges you to refrain from giving any more money for nuclear projects until we see how Southern Company's Vogtle complex here in Georgia turns out. It has received a taxpayer loan of about $8 billion and is already well over-budget and behind-schedule. Adequate water for cooling has not been assured. The risk of a default that would result in loss of the taxpayer money is growing daily.

    Over half a century of experience throughout the world indicates nuclear energy is not the answer. It is the most expensive, the most delayed, and dangerous. It is also carbon intensive in uranium mining, uranium processing where fracking is used just as for natural gas, building the nuclear plant, and transportation of uranium to and used radioactive waste from the nuclear plant. We still do not have an agreed upon place to store or agreed way to transport nuclear waste. For documentation see references 65, 70, 89, 103, 125, 126, 131, 223, 274, 344, 364, 378 - 380, 406 - 408, 412, 435 - 439, 484, 485, 519, 520, 558 - 565, 582 - 585, 603, 604, 692 - 705, 719, 720, 747 - 749, 834 - 836, 847, 848, 891, 942 - 963, 1072 - 1077, 1175 - 1196, 1320, 1364 - 1382, 1584-1591, 1690-1692 in the article located here:

    The newest nuclear loan for the Vogtle complex was supposed to have all problems addressed. It is clear that the promise of nuclear power at Vogtle is just as false as it has been for over half a century. The DOE should stop investing money in nuclear until it proves itself.

Public Comment 55: October 2014 - MSRB joint letter

October 1, 2014


Ronald W. Smith,

Corporate Secretary,

Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board,

1900 Duke Street, Suite 600,

Alexandria, Virginia 22314

            Re:      Comment on Draft Amendments to MSRB Rule G-37 to Extend its  Provisions to Municipal Advisors (MSRB Regulatory Notice 2014-15)

Dear Secretary Smith:

We, the undersigned, are pleased to comment in support of the  MSRB’s proposed refinement of Rule G-37 that expands the reach of the rule to municipal advisors.

Public Citizen is a consumer and good government advocacy organization that has been intimately involved in helping design, promote and enforce pay-to-play laws arround the country at both the federal, state and local levels, including MSRB Rule G-37 and the more recent Rule 206(4)-5. Public Citizen is a party to the case defending 2 U.S.C. 441c, the federal pay-to-play law (Wagner v. FEC) and plans on seeking to help defend Rule 206(4)-5, if this case continues to work its way through the courts (New York State Republican Committee v. SEC). Public Citizen is a nonprofit organization with more than 350,000 members and supporters.

Free Speech For People is a national non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to restore republican democracy to the people, including through legal advocacy in the law of campaign finance. Free Speech For People filed an amicus brief in support of the SEC’s pay-to-play rule, Rule 206(4)-5, in New York State Republican Committee v. SEC, No. 14-CV-01345, and plans to continue help defending Rule 206(4)-5. Free Speech For People’s thousands of supporters around the country engage in education and non-partisan advocacy to encourage and support effective government of, by, and for the American people.

[Other co-signers]

A.    The Importance of Rule G-37 in Protecting the Integrity of Securities Markets and Government Contracts

Generally, Rule G-37 is intended to combat pay-to-play practices. Pay-to-play describes practices where a person makes cash or in-kind political contributions to help finance the election campaigns of state or local officials for the purpose of unduly influencing the award of government contracts.

Pay-to-play scandals are sadly frequent. The Securities and Exchange Commission detailed some of these schemes involving securities markets in a 2010 report.[1] The undersigned have commented extensively on pay-to-play schemes in a number of venues and as they apply to a variety of government contracts. For example, in 2012 Public Citizen developed a report on “Pay-to-Play Laws in Government Contracting and the Scandals that Created Them” (See Attachment A). This year, Free Speech For People filed an amicus brief in support of the SEC’s pay-to-play rule, Rule 206(4)-5, in New York State Republican Committee v. SEC, No. 14-CV-01345, and plans to continue help defending Rule 206(4)-5. (See

The potential for corruption in the interplay between campaign contributions and government contracts flows in both directions: businesses sometimes seek government favor through campaign contributions, and elected officials sometime extract campaign contributions from businesses with the lure of government favors. Without reasonable restrictions curtailing such behavior, pay-to-play can easily serve to undermine the intergity of the contracting process. When contracts involving state and municipal finance can be influenced by campaign contributions instead of what’s best for taxpayers – or even raise the suspicion that the contracting process may have been tainted by campaign money – the result can be devastating. Whether valid or not, even the perception of trading campaign contributions for lucrative financial services contracts can undermine the integrity of the government contracting process. These scandals do not just damage the public’s confidence in their government; they often end up hurting government officials, endangering otherwise promising careers, and causing the legitimate business community to think twice about engaging in government services.

One of the more effective restrictions against pay-to-play corruption is Rule G-37 of the Securities and Exchange Commission, developed by its pragmatic former Chairman Arthur Levitt. This strong rule restricts campaign contributions from brokers to bond issuers for two years prior to contract negotiations through completion of the contract. Importantly, Rule G-37 also imposes a special reporting requirement on brokers so that the rule can be easily monitored and enforced.

When the SEC approved Rule G-37 in 1994, the agency explained it would “address the real as well as perceived abuses resulting from ‘pay to play’ practices in the municipal securities market.”[2] The current Rule G-37 prohibits municipal finance professionals and dealers from soliciting or coordinating contributions to a government official with influence over selecting municipal securities dealers where the dealer is seeking to win that municipal securities business, except for a de minimis contribution to candidates in one’s own district. This prohibition extends to dealer contributions to a political party in the state. The rule contains an an anti-circumvention provision prohibiting direct or indirect contributions. To help with surveillance, the rule requires public disclosure of contributions and municipal securities business which is available on the MSRB Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) website.

The MSRB authority to initiate needed reforms is well grounded in law. Congress authorized the SEC and its subordinates such as the MSRB to adopt prophylactic measures as provided in the Investment Advisors Act of 1940.[3] In Blount v. SEC, the court concluded that Rule G-37 was closely drawn by affecting relations only between two potential parties where undue influence peddling could pose a problem: “the underwriters and their municipal finance employees on the one hand, and officials who might influence the award of negotiated municipal bond underwriting contracts on the other.”[4]

The undersigned applaud the proposed improvements to the MSRB’s rule that expand the contribution restrictions to municipal advisors. By recognizing that municipal advisors play a key role in the selection of underwriting and other municipal funding decisions, the MSRB’s expansion of the scope of the rule will help promote the integrity of the contracting process. This will serve to reduce costs to taxpayers as decisions by elected officials will be less prone to the vicissitudes of election campaign finance.

B.     Grounds for Expanding Coverage of Rule G-37

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 expanded the scope of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 by calling upon the SEC to regulate municipal advisors from participating in fraudulent or manipulative business dealings. The proposed rule changes conform to the law’s requirements.

There is a great deal of evidence that financial advisors often make use of the pay-to-play system in an effort to fraudulently win financial investment contracts. Advisors played a key role in fraudulently manipulating the awarding of contracts in connection to the New York State Common Retirement Fund.[5] The SEC has taken enforcement actions against the former treasurer of Connecticut for fraudulently awarding investment contracts to private equity fund managers in exchange for campaign contributions and other payments, and noted similar cases prosecuted by state authorities in New Mexico, Illinois, Ohio and Florida.[6] These cases, and others, are why the Dodd-Frank law expanded coverage to include municipal advisors.

Furthermore, expanding the scope of the pay-to-play rule to capture municipal advisors also brings Rule G-37 in line with recent changes to Rule 206(4)-5 of the Investment Advisors Act. Originating out of the pension fund scandals in New York, Rule 206(4)-5 prevents investment advisors from seeking to influence government officials’ awards of financial management advisory contracts through political contributions by prohibiting them from providing advisory services for compensation to government clients for two years after the advisor or certain of its executives or employees (“covered associates”) make a contribution to a candidate or public official of a government entity who is or will be in a position to influence the award of advisory business. Establishing a comparable scope in the reach of Rule G-37 will standardize the regulatory regime over financial services, helping to reduce confusion within the financial services sector.

Similar to investment advisors, municipal advisors are conventionally considered consultants who advise state and local governments on bond issuance, use of derivatives and other related financial matters. The Exchange Act defines the term “municipal advisor” to mean a private sector agent that: (1) provides advice to or on behalf of a municipal entity with respect to municipal financial products;  or (2) undertakes a solicitation of a municipal entity.[7] The definition of municipal advisor includes financial advisors, guaranteed investment contract brokers, third-party marketers, placement agents, solicitors, finders, and swap advisors that provide municipal advisory services.[8]

Until the 2010 approval of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, municipal advisors were essentially unregulated. They were not required to register with the SEC. Section 975 of Dodd-Frank now requires municipal advisors to register.[9]  As of 2013, the SEC reported there were 1,130 registered municipal advisors.[10] Those who have registered can be viewed at the SEC web page.[11] We note that municipal dealers commonly serve also as municipal advisors. Alone, this argues for the new G-37 refinement to address the obvious conflict that a municipal advisor who is also a dealer may face in its recommendations. The registration form includes useful information about the integrity of the firms under the section entitled “Disciplinary Information.” For example, JP Morgan Securities, one of the larger municipal dealers and advisors, answers “yes” to whether it has been charged with a felony or has made false statements to the SEC.[12]

C.    Suggestions for Further Improvement Beyond the Proposed Rule Changes

We have reviewed the proposed language that expands the contribution restrictionss and disclosure requirements that now apply to municipal securities dealers to include municipal securities advisors and find it generally sound.

Specifically, we welcome the expanded definition of municipal officials. Under the current rule, the term “official of an issuer” is restricted to any person who, at the time of the contribution, was an incumbent, candidate or successful candidate: (i) for elective office of the issuer which office is directly or indirectly responsible for, or can influence the outcome of, the hiring of a dealer for municipal securities business by the issuer; or (ii) for any elective office of a state or of any political subdivision, which office has authority to appoint any person who is directly or indirectly responsible for, or can influence the outcome of, the hiring of a dealer for municipal securities business by an issuer. The proposed draft refines Rule G-37 by replacing the term “official of an issuer” with the new defined term “official of a municipal entity,” which takes into account the possibility that an official may have the ability to influence the selection of a dealer but not a municipal advisor, or vice versa. We heartily endorse this improvement.           

    1.      Artifical Distinction Between Dealers and Advisors Within the Same Firm

However, we take exception to the draft rule under (b)(i) as it applies to firms that offer both advisory and dealer services. In Question 12 of the rulemaking proposal, the MSRB asks: “Are the contributions that would not result in a ban on municipal securities business or municipal advisory business under the draft amendments appropriate in light of the expanded scope of persons from whom a contribution may trigger a ban?”

The proposed rule permits contributions from securities dealers to public officials that only have influence over the selection of securities advisory services at the same firm. It also permits contributons from securities advisors to officials that only have influence over the selection of securities dealers at the firm. (Only where the official has influence over both services is a dealer-advisory firm barred from making contributions and securing business.)  This simply invites firms to create legal fictions for contribitons between its dealer and advisory services, which would be nearly impossible to monitor. It would be extremely difficult to ensure that the contributions of one division at a firm were not known to the marketing agents at another division of the firm. Likewise, it defies reason to believe a public official might not solicit contributions from one division of a firm even though decisions by the official could only benefit another division of the same firm.

Moreover, allowing an artifical distinction between dealers and advisors of a single firm provides a distinct and unfair advantage to large financial services firms over smaller firms. Smaller firms that specialize exclusively in either advisory or dealer services that are prohibited from making campaign contributions will be disadvantaged when they compete against larger firms that offer both dealer and advisory services that make political contributions to the same officials. We ask that the draft rule be amended to prohibit any contribution from a dealer-advisory firm to an official with either dealer or advisory selection influence.

    2.      Problem of PAC Contributions from Large Banks and Diverse Firms

In the same vein, we are concerned with political giving by large firms where the municipal securities business is but one of numerous distinct businesses. Major firms including large banks have entered the municipal finance underwriting business in the last two decades. The MSRB allows these large banks to make contributons via political action committees (PACs) to the very individuals that the MSRB otherwise bars a firm’s municipal finance subsidiary from making. This permission derives from the MSRB existing and proposed rule regarding the definition of “control,” as described in (b)(i).

The following example illustrates the deficiency with such “control” language. A filing by JP Morgan Securities on the MSRB EMMA website shows that the firm peformed underwriting services for the Delaware River Authority in 2013. In answer to the question about whether it made political contributions to any municipal finance official related to this service, JP Morgan Services reports “none.”[13] At the same time, the JP Morgan PAC filing at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) shows a contribution to State Treasurer Chipman Flowers in 2013.[14]  Further research shows that JP Morgan officials helped Flowers with  his campaign.[15] (We note that JP Morgan faced a fine for using consultants to obtain municipal business in the past.[16])

Presumably, the JP Morgan PAC feels justified in making the contributions because the firm determines that the PAC contributions are not “controlled” by the securities affiliate, JP Morgan Securities. However, such a determination is made out of the public eye. The Federal Election Commission does not require PACs to disclose internal decisionmaking processes nor to explain how contributions are directed. Consequently, it is not possible for the public to understand how these decisions are made.  Further, it is not clear how the Rule G-37 enforcement agency (FINRA) would determine whether or not JP Morgan Securities exercised control over the PAC contributions, as it requires no filings.

MSRB provides limited guidance on the anti-circumvention rule that prohibits evasion or the use of conduits.[17] Firms must erect “information barriers” to guard against a securities underwriter signalling those making contribution decisions about worthy beneficiaries.[18]  We find such guidance insufficient. Political contribution decisionmakers at a firm such as JP Morgan with prodigeous municipal securities business need not be told by any front-line securities underwriters that a contribution to the Delaware Treasurer might be helpful in landing business at the Delaware River Authority. The same is true for the dozens of other contributions that the JP Morgan PAC makes and associated underwritings that its securities affiliate secure. Short of the use of subpoenas, we believe that the current disclosure and reporting apparatus does not provide the appropriate deterrent to prevent evasion. We discuss remedies below.

    3.      Need for Comprehensive Disclosure Requirements

The MSRB asks in its request for comment: “8) Are the recordkeeping and disclosure requirements that apply to dealers in existing Rule G-37 and the analogous draft requirements that would apply to municipal advisors appropriately tailored to obtain and make publicly available information that is relevant for the purposes of Rule G-37?”

At the very least, we recommend that MSRB require that firms disclose all political contributions made by any affiliate on its EMMA website. In the case of large firms with associated political action committees, we ask that the EMMA filing require that the firm publish its PAC contributions. Further, we ask that the contributions be itemized in a column adjacent to relevant underwritings. In the specific case referenced above concerning the Delaware River Authority and the JPM PAC, the column would then list contributions to any Delaware candidate running for an office with authority over awarding a contract to JP Morgan. None of this information would require any confidential or new information not already provided in some other public platform. The clerical work of cross-referencing would be minimal.

Ideally, Rule G-37 will eventually be reformed to prohibit such contributions altogether. Given this guidance and the MSRB’s welcome intent of detering evasion, we urge that “associated with” replace “controlled by” in the rule text.  Such contributions either constitute or create the appearance of a conflict of interest or undue influence peddling. We believe such a prohibition would be welcome by the securities underwriting industry more broadly, as those not affiliated with a large bank or large firm are currently disadvantaged by the current exemptions to the contribution restrictions.

D.    Conclusion:  Proposed Changes to Rule G-37 Are Both Constructive and Appropriate, But Could Be Strengthened Even Further

We welcome the improvements proposed in this rulemaking, which will appropriately expand the scope of Rule G-37 to include municipal advisors. We also encourage the MSRB to treat securities dealers and municipal advisors of a firm as a single entity with a common interest for purposes of reining in pay-to-play practices, and to provide greater balance between large banks and other large businesses that offer multiple services with smaller firms that focus just on single covered activities within the municipal bond business. At the very least, we urge the MSRB to expand its disclosure requirements so that we may monitor whether indeed improper influence peddling is occuring through campaign contributions from those associated with the large financial services firms.

For questions, please contact Dr. Craig Holman, Government Affairs Lobbyist for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, at [email protected], or Bartlett Naylor, Financial Policy Advocate for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, at [email protected].  [Others]

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.




Public Citizen

Free Speech for People

Harrington Investments, Inc.

New Progressive Alliance

American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)

ReFund America at the Roosevelt Institute


Consumer Federation of America

Americans for Financial Reform


Full Letter and attachments at

[1] SEC release, “Political Contributions by Certain Investment Advisors”, (2010), available at:

[2] See MSRB, “SEC Rule G-37 Approval Order” at 17624.

[3] 15 U.S.C. 80b-6(1).

[4] Blount v SEC, 61 F.3d 938 (1995), available at: 

[5]  New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, “Former Controller Alan Hevesi Sentenced to Up to Four Years in Prison for Role in Pay-to-Play Pension Fund Kickback Scheme,” (April 15, 2011), available at:

[6]  See 75 Fed. Reg. at 41,020.

[7] See 15 U.S.C. 78o-4(e)(4)(A).

[8] See 15 U.S.C. 78o-4(e)(4)(B). 

[9] See SEC, “Registration of Municipal Advisors: Frequently Asked Questions,” (May 19, 2014), available at:

[10] See SEC, “Registration of Municipal Advisors: Final Rule,” available at:

[11] SEC web page is available at:

[12] See registration statement for JP Morgan Securities, available at:

[14] JP Morgan & Chase Company, “Political Action Committee 2013 Activities Report,”  available at:

[15] Don Mell was a Delaware lobbyist for JPMorgan Chase who was on the host committee for a Flowers fundraiser in Washington. Jonathan Starkey, “Flowers Banking on Own Wallet,” The News Journal (Feb. 26, 2014), available at:

[16] FINRA fines JP Morgan in case stemming from 2007 for using consultants to get municipal business, available at: 

[17] MSRB guidance expands on this. Rule G-37(d) provides that: “No broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer or any municipal finance professional of the broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer shall, directly or indirectly, through or by any other person or means, do any act which would result in a violation of sections (b) or (c) of this rule.”

While Rule G-37 was adopted to deal specifically with contributions made to officials of issuers by dealers and municipal finance professionals, and political action committees (“PACs”) controlled by dealers or MFPs, this section of the rule also prohibits MFPs and dealers from using conduits—such as, but not limited to parties, PACs, affiliates, consultants, lawyers or spouses—to contribute indirectly to an issuer official if such MFP or dealer can not give directly to the issuer without triggering the ban on business. See MSRB, “Questions Concerning Contributions and Prohibitions on Municipal Securities Business,” available at:

[18] MSRB Notice 2010-57, “Reminder: Interpretation of Dealer-Controlled PACs Under Rule G-37” (Dec. 17, 2010) available at:


Public Comment 56: December 2014 - EPA Methane Gas Reduction

December 12, 2014

Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460

            The New Progressive Alliance at    agrees with the Environmental Protection Agency on your recently released a series of white papers to determine the harmful effects of methane emissions to the environment and public health from oil and gas operations. In addition to its other deleterious effects, methane gas is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. There are also many indications that methane gas in the atmosphere is increasing drastically. (For the latest example see here: )

            We are concerned; however, that the EPA only wants to use the findings for voluntary reductions in methane gas. Voluntary emission reduction has never worked. Further, the President said the EPA would release a new plan to address methane emissions by the fall of 2014. The more this is delayed the less likely it will happen.

            The New Progressive Alliance encourages you to make regulations soon and make regulations mandatory for limiting methane gas in the atmosphere.


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