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Chamber of Commerce Accused of Tax Fraud

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  • A watchdog group charges the CoC violated U.S. tax laws by funneling $18 million from its charitable, non-profit arm into lobbying.
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  • How the Chamber of Commerce Allegedly Laundered Millions in Charity Dollars to Beat Back Financial Reform and Reelect Republicans
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  • Stop The US Chamber of Commerce
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Joshua Holland,  AlterNet

Photo Credit: AMagill

According to a complaint filed with the Internal Revenue Service last week (September 5-11), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (CoC), the corporate right’s massive lobbying arm, laundered millions of dollars in charitable contributions to finance its political assault on the American working class.

The New York Times notes that the Chamber has “a war chest rivaling that of the Republican Party itself” and represents “the Obama administration’s most-well-financed rival on signature policy debates like health care and financial regulation.” According to the Washington Post, the $44.3 million the group has paid to lobbyists so far this year, along with the $50 million it plans on spending to elect business-friendly politicians this fall, will make it the top lobbyist in Washington once again. (The group is nevertheless unlikely to top the $144 million it spent buying political influence in 2009.)

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Stop The US Chamber of Commerce, The Velvet Revolution
We have had enough and it is time to Stop The Chamber. Therefore, we demand the following:

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  • Fire Tom Donohue.
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  • Drop Corporate Support for the Chamber.
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  • Launch A Criminal Investigation Against The Chamber For Fraud, False Tax Filings And Campaign Finance Violations.
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  • Ask Congress To Investigate The Chamber.
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  • Reorganize The Chamber.
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  • Speak Out Against The Chamber.
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Regret, apology not part of BP's oil spill report

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  • But it does provide an early look at the company's probable legal strategy — spreading the blame among itself, rig owner Transocean, and cement contractor Halliburton — as it deals with hundreds of lawsuits, billions of dollars in claims and possible criminal charges in the coming months and years.
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  • Regulatory Capture Of Oil Drilling Agency Exposed In Report
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Dina Cappiello, Associated Press

File - In this April 21, 2010 file image provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon. Oil giant BP PLC says in an internal report released Wednesday Sept. 8, 2010 that multiple companies and work teams contributed to the massive Gulf of Mexico spill that fouled waters and shorelines for months.

BP's long-awaited internal report on what it believes went wrong when a rig exploded and started the massive Gulf oil spill never mentions the words blame, regret, apology, mistake or pollution. The word fault shows up 20 times, but only once in the same sentence as the company's name.

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BP took some of the blame, acknowledging among other things that it misinterpreted a key pressure test of the well that blew out and eventually spewed 206 million gallons of oil into the Gulf. But in a possible preview of its legal strategy, it also pointed the finger — and plenty — at its partners on the doomed rig.

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Regulatory Capture Of Oil Drilling Agency Exposed In Report, Dan Froomkin, Huffington Post

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  • Rather than take issue with the report's findings, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement's (BOEMRE) new reform-oriented director, Michael Bromwich, has responded with an implementation plan aimed at fixing the problems.
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  • Uncovering the Lies That Are Sinking the Oil
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Regulatory Capture Of Oil Drilling Agency Exposed In Report

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  • Rather than take issue with the report's findings, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement's (BOEMRE) new reform-oriented director, Michael Bromwich, has responded with an implementation plan aimed at fixing the problems.
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  • Uncovering the Lies That Are Sinking the Oil
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Dan Froomkin, Huffington Post

In a dramatic illustration of regulatory capture, a new report from an Interior Department review board has found that poorly trained, ill-equipped and overextended federal inspectors who were supposed to be policing the nation's offshore oil and gas drilling facilities were routinely bullied by industry representatives and were often undercut by their managers when they reported safety violations.

The review board was appointed after a BP rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April, causing the worst accidental offshore oil spill in history. Its report paints a devastating picture of the Minerals Management Service, the agency now known as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE).

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Uncovering the Lies That Are Sinking the Oil, Dahr Jamail and Erika Blumenfeld, t r u t h o u t

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  • Toxic Dispersants Found on Recently Opened Mississippi Shrimping and Oyster Grounds
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  • BP and Administration: Lies, Deceit, and Coverup in the Gulf
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Steep rate hikes on way for individual health insurance

Double-digit rate increases are hitting most individual health-insurance plans in Washington state, hurting jobless workers and worrying insurance regulators.

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Carol M. Ostrom, Seattle Times | WA

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Whopping rate increases are coming soon for many people with individual health-insurance policies.

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Most insurers offering individual policies in the state have asked for and been granted rate increases, effective Oct. 1, according to the state's insurance commissioner.

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Regence BlueShield's rate increase — an average 16.5 percent — was one of the highest. It was topped by Asuris Northwest Health, a Regence subsidiary, with an increase of 23.7 percent.

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Group Health Cooperative, the fifth-largest insurer of individuals, was considerably lower, with an 8.2 percent increase. But its newer program, Group Health Options, asked for a 22 percent increase.

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A lot of angry customers are asking why. Fat-cat insurance executives raking in bonuses? Hospitals and docs cranking up prices? Aging boomers insisting on MRIs for every ache? Pricey health-care mandates?

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State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, who reviews rate requests, has some answers, but his lips are sealed somewhat — by law. He can't talk about insurers' costs or profit margins.

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