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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

IRS Admits Data Breach Worse Than Thought, Will Congress Do Wrong Thing Anyway? | Ed Mierzwinski

This week, the IRS has admitted that thieves accessed the personal information -- enough to allow them to take your tax refund -- of an additional 220,000 taxpayers, on top of the 114,000 reported in May. Meanwhile, we remain  concerned that Congress will use continued publicity about the Target breach and other breaches as an excuse to pass dangerous data security legislation. Dangerous? Yes, because it would only protect against limited financial identity theft harms, but eliminate stronger state protections against the harms posed by the IRS breach, the health insurance breaches and the OPM breach.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

House To Vote On Godzilla-Sized Rule Blocker, As Financial Committee Considers Smaller Rollbacks | Ed Mierzwinski

UPDATED: REINS Approved, near party line vote. Today, the House Financial Services Committee takes up a package of smaller rollback bills, many of which are opposed by Americans for Financial Reform and the PIRGs. Meanwhile, the House will bring up the Godzilla of all anti-health and safety bills, the REINS Act. Fortunately, the President has promised a veto.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

Over 7,000 Comments Submitted to Department of Labor

Every year, over $17 billion is lost from retirement savings to fees and charges, according to the Council of Economic Advisors. Today, we submitted over 7,000 PIRG member comments urging the U.S. Department of Labor to finalize a strong rule requiring retirement advisors to put the interests of their customers first. We also submitted a detailed expert comment of our own in the important "conflicted advice" rulemaking.

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News Release | US PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Top 10 List: How the CFPB Works for Consumers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) turns 4 on July 21st. To celebrate and increase public awareness of the agency, U.S. PIRG Education Fund released a new webpage, “Meet the CFPB: Just Ten of the Ways It Works for You.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

The CFPB is 4 years old and has a lot to show for it! | Ed Mierzwinski

Tuesday, July 21, marks four years to the day since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau opened its doors to protect consumers and make financial markets work. We've summarized some of the ways CFPB works for you on a new web page.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Solid Waste

MARYLAND PIRG JOINS CEDAR LANE UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CHURCH IN BI-ANNUAL CLEANUP IN SUPPORT OF BOTTLE BILL

Bethesda, MD: On Sunday, Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church and Maryland PIRG hosted a litter cleanup of Rock Creek with more than 30 volunteers. They were joined by Joanna Guy, Maryland PIRG Program Associate, Charlotte Brewer, the Environmental Chair at Cedar Lane, and VIP guest Christina Denny, Miss Maryland 2013. The Cedar Lane Church has been hosting the bi-annual Rock Creek cleanup for over 10 years. This year, the Church was thrilled to host the event to demonstrate the problem of recyclable bottle litter and support of Maryland PIRG’s Don’t Trash Maryland Campaign, which is working to increase recycling and reduce litter by passing a Maryland bottle bill.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

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.

Sallie Mae, the student lending giant, generated the most private student loan complaints nationally, and ranked first or tied for first in every single state. Student loan borrowers in the U.S. carry $24,803 on average in total student loan debt.

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News Release | Tax

JPMorgan Shouldn’t Get Tax Break for “London Whale” Settlement

“On Wednesday, reports emerged that JPMorgan Chase will agree to admit to wrongdoing and pay a $100 million penalty for improper market manipulation that led to a multibillion dollar trading loss. Yet unless the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) explicitly forbids it, the bank could write off the settlement as a tax deduction, forcing taxpayers to shoulder some of the cost of JPMorgan’s admitted reckless behavior.

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Media Hit | Transportation

On the Move: New technology leads to less driving

It seems like the younger generation does just about everything online: shop, watch movies and even find dates. A new study shows that online services are even helping people drive less.

Public interest research group Maryland PIRG found that transportation apps and vehicle-sharing apps such as Zipcar have made it easier for Americans to drive less.

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Blog Post | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Bag-O-Glass? Tips on finding both the visible and invisible toy dangers. | Emily Scarr

This iconic SNL skit "Bag 'O Glass," features toys you should NOT buy, courtesy of Dan Akroyd and Candice Bergen. Today, toys are safer then ever.... but there are still some toys to avoid.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

CFPB Report Shows Credit CARD Act Works | Ed Mierzwinski

Last week, the CFPB released a report showing that the landmark PIRG-backed Credit CARD Act of 2009 is saving consumers billions of dollars by helping them avoid penalty fees and unfair interest rate increases. We joined CFPB director Richard Cordray and others in Chicago to discuss the report's findings.

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Blog Post | Transportation

Governor O’Malley On Board for Baltimore Public Transit | Emily Scarr

Yesterday, Governor O’Malley outlined a $1.5 billion, 6-year transportation plan for Baltimore that includes major investment in modern public transportation infrastructure. Maryland PIRG thanks the Governor for a commitment today that reflects and supports the way Marylanders want to travel, investing in the 21st century public transportation infrastructure that we have long awaited.

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Blog Post | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Celebrating the mandatory toy safety standard—An important provision of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

These days, we can mostly expect that toys sold on store shelves are tested to meet adequately strict safety standards — but that hasn’t always been the case. In 2007, toys with beloved childhood icons like Thomas the Tank Engine and Elmo were recalled because they contained excessive levels of lead. Another toy, when swallowed, created a toxic drug; yet another posed serious hazards due to strong magnets that could tear a child’s stomach lining if two or more pieces were swallowed.

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Blog Post | Public Health, Consumer Protection

FDA’s BPA Ban: A Small, Late Step in the Right Direction | Jenny Levin

Last week, the FDA announced a ban on the toxic chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) from infant formula packaging. The rule change should provide some comfort to parents — however, it also showcased the FDA’s sluggish pace of action, and demonstrates to states that they shouldn’t wait for federal action to move forward with public health rules on their own.

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