Statement of Susan Harley, Deputy Director, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

The allegations about T-Mobile’s business practices in Change to Win Retail Initiative’s just-released report, “Unmasking the ‘Un-Carrier’: Deception and Disparate Income at T-Mobile,” are shocking. The report raises serious questions and should be seen by government agencies like the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the mission of which is to shield consumers from unfair, deceptive or abusive practices.

The report raises critical questions, such as whether T-Mobile’s customers are being adequately notified about charges assessed by the cell company prior to entering into a phone agreement and whether the company’s marketing practices compound these potential problems. Additional issues highlighted in the report include whether T-Mobile’s debt collection practices are unfair to consumers and whether the company should institute changes to improve customer service.

These questions should not be ignored by government watchdog agencies. This report should be a wake-up call to regulators and customers alike. It’s time to dig into these charges to make sure that T-Mobile’s more than 61 million cell customers are not being taken advantage of.


By Cameron Berube

In the wake of Citizens United, political spending in the 2016 elections already have reached dizzying heights. And since most companies refuse to disclose their political spending, it’s hard to know who’s backing who.

According to a new report from the Center for Political Activity (which benchmarks the political disclosure and accountability policies and practices of mutual funds), major mutual funds like Vanguard, which manages more retirement funds than any other firm in America, are doing next to nothing to encourage companies they hold large shares of to disclose how they use our money to influence policy.

So what are public companies doing with your money? Deregulating Wall Street? Gutting Medicare?

Nobody knows.

Americans are fed up with being drowned out by corporate interests. According to a 2015 poll, 88 percent of both Democratic and Republican primary voters agree that “the Securities and Exchange Commission should require corporations to disclose their political spending.”

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Business for DemocracyBudget

Next Friday, Dec. 11, funding for the U.S. government expires and we will face a government shutdown unless Congress and the White House can agree to a spending package for fiscal year 2016. One of the key sticking points: ideological riders that have no place in a budget bill but that corporate-backed lawmakers want to attach to it anyway.

We’re talking about policies that deny women access to the health care provider of their choice; block safeguards that protect our homes, pocketbooks and workplaces; lower standards that keep our food, air and water safe; and more. Public Citizen and a coalition of nearly 200 groups are working to block the riders. Next week, members of the coalition are expected to deliver to Congress tens of thousands of petitions signed by ordinary citizens who want a clean spending bill with no riders.

Late Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan sent House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi a proposed omnibus government spending package that included at least 30 dangerous policy riders. Congressional Democrats rejected the package, calling it a “tea party wish list,” and proposed a counteroffer.

If leaders in both parties are unable to reach an agreement by the end of next week, Congress could still pass a continuing resolution that would extend government funding through Dec. 18 – giving them until the following Friday to reach a deal.

Who needs worker protections anyway?

House lawmakers take aim next week on workers – specifically on workplace protections. Just consider the over-the-top title of this hearing, to be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections: “How the Administration’s Regulatory Onslaught is Affecting Workers and Job Creators.”

Expect lawmakers to attack everything from overtime pay rules, to protections against silica exposure, to a proposal that retirement advisers be required to put their clients’ best interests before their own profits. Never mind that the benefits of regulations greatly exceed their costs.

In fact, OSHA is severely underfunded and understaffed, and the agency can’t even begin to enforce the rules it has, many of which are inadequate.

RobertWeissman1Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen
The coal baron Don Blankenship, former CEO of Massey Energy, has been found guilty of conspiring to violate mine safety laws – a conspiracy that meant putting his company’s workers’ lives at risk.

For far too long in this nation’s history, coal operators have recklessly endangered their workers’ lives, with thousands of workers dying in accidents and many hundreds of thousands more dying and suffering from black lung and associated diseases.

Today’s guilty verdict should send the message to coal company executives that society will no longer tolerate this trade of miners’ lives for coal and profit. Indeed, it should send a message to CEOs across the country: No more recklessly endangering workers’ lives, and you will be held criminally liable if your actions – and inaction – cost lives.

The prosecutors who brought this case deserve immense credit, for it is no small thing to go after a coal executive in coal country, and prosecutions of corporate executives remain far too rare.

DavidArkush1Statement of David Arkush, Managing Director, Public Citizen’s Climate Program

Note: Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed resolutions to repeal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which the U.S. Senate passed in November. President Obama will veto the resolutions and opponents of the Clean Power Plan lack the votes to override his vetoes.

As world leaders come together in Paris to commit to stronger action to fight climate change, it’s shameful that the House is holding symbolic votes to show that it stands with polluters, not U.S. consumers or people around the world who will be devastated by climate change.

A recent Public Citizen analysis shows that in addition to mitigating the harms of climate change, the Clean Power Plan is a good deal for consumers. The rule will lower household electricity bills in every state by 2030, and nearly every state by 2025. Every member of Congress should support a rule that will not only clean up our air and reduce climate change, but save money for American families.

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