Newsletter April 2012

The Monthly Newsletter of CREW  //  April 2012  //  Issue No. 59

spacerSPOTLIGHT: Family Affair

After nearly a year of hard work, we released Family Affair, a report detailing how members of the House of Representatives abused their positions to financially benefit themselves and their family members. 

The response has been overwhelming.  The New York Times calls the report "an extraordinary compendium of creative accounting, self-interested budgeting and generous expense reimbursements."  As a result of Family Affair, editorial boards across the country are engaging with their readers about the ethical standards to which we must hold our elected officials accountable.

Family Affair Video

CREW Calls on Senate Ethics Committee to Investigate Senator Lugar

Richard Lugarspacer After erroneously billing U.S. taxpayers for decades, the shady activities of Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) are finally coming back to haunt him.  We've asked the Senate Select Committee on Ethics to investigate in light of recent reports indicating Sen. Lugar violated Senate rules by improperly using Senate funds on Indiana hotels between 1991 and 2011.

We've also asked the Senate Rules Committee to make the U.S. Senate Handbook, a non-public document containing the rules senators must follow, available.  Everyone should have a chance to see if senators' conduct measures up to the rules. 

Shadowy Nonprofits Strike Again

Grover Norquistspacer Perhaps Grover Norquist should sign a pledge that he won't lie to the IRS about his group's political activity.  As tax day approaches, it's clear some tax exempt organizations are trying their hardest to stay in the shadows. 

We've asked the IRS to investigate whether Americans for Tax Reform and its founder, Grover Norquist, violated federal law by omitting more than half of the organization's political activity from its 2010 tax return.  We've also asked the IRS and the Federal Election Commission to investigate whether Americans for Job Security violated tax and campaign finance laws by spending millions of dollars on political activity during the 2010 elections. 

CREW to FTC: Investigate Anti-Competitive Practices of Vaccine Makers

Merck Buildingspacer In light of new information provided by a whistleblower, CREW and other advocacy groups called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the vaccine bundling practices of Sanofi Pasteur and Merck.  Vaccine bundling makes it harder for pediatricians to choose the best vaccine for each child.

Parents and patients deserve the best medical care available, not care dictated by drug companies seeking to maximize their profits.