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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

How the CFPB’s Data Keeps Getting Better and Better | Mike Litt

As the CFPB turns 4 years old on July 21, here is some information on how it works for you and how we at PIRG use its data to produce reports, such as our new report on mortgage complaints to the CFPB. We've also got some photos from the Americans for Financial Reform "CFPB at 4" event.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

We Commend CFPB For Adding Consumer Stories To Public Complaint Database

Yesterday, the CFPB published the first batch (7,700) of consumer narratives or stories to the Public Consumer Complaint Database it began in 2011. We've used the database to publish five reports (so far) analyzing complaint trends in markets ranging from credit cards to student loans but we have also long urged the voluntary addition of stories to the data fields. Now, consumers can learn if what happened to them happened to anyone else. Now, researchers can track which banks are more responsive to particular problems and which ignore their customers. A good resource is now an excellent resource.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Consumer Protection

In Wake of OPM’s Poor Response to Data Breach, Illinois PIRG Offers Tips to Federal Employees

In light of U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) poor handling of data breaches reported earlier this month, Illinois PIRG is handing out identity theft tips to federal employees in Chicago. According to the most recent data, there are 48,745 civilian federal employees in Illinois.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

The More I Hear About OPM Data Breach, The Less I Know, Except This: It's Bad | Ed Mierzwinski

Was it 4 million, 14 million or 18 million records breached (how many times) (likely) by Chinese hackers? Whose fault was it? The USOPM director says no one's. Really? Perhaps the worst data breach ever raises lots of questions, but I haven't heard any good answers. Federal employees, their families, their friends and their neighbors -- because all of them could be victims -- deserve better answers, just as they deserve better service than USOPM's credit monitoring provider is giving them.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Public Health

Broad Array of Public Interest Groups Call on Subway, the World’s Largest Fast-Food Chain: Help Save Antibiotics!

A letter signed by nearly 60 public interest, medical, public health, environmental and animal welfare organizations was delivered to Subway Founder and CEO Fred DeLuca and Senior VP Suzanne Greco today, asking the restaurant giant to phase out meats produced with routine use of antibiotics (i.e. for growth promotion and disease prevention). As the largest fast-food chain in the world, Subway’s action on this issue would help tackle the growing health crisis of antibiotic resistance.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Financial Reform

Common-Sense Refinancing Options Could Help Illinoisans and Stabilize Housing Market

Data released today by Illinois PIRG and the Center for Responsible Lending finds that making it easier for homeowners to refinance their mortgages could give consumers more options, save money, and stabilize Illinois’ housing market. In Illinois alone, 532,371 families would qualify, saving them $1.77 billion.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Food

Flawed Farm Bill heads to the senate floor

The Senate is moving to vote on the farm bill, S.3240, that would continue the current system of agricultural subsidies to large, profitable agribusiness.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Safe Energy

Illinois PIRG statement on the resignation of NRC chairman Gregory Jackzo

We are deeply concerned by Chairman Gregory Jaczko’s resignation from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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Media Hit | Tax

Questions remain on infrastructure trust

A few days ago, the City Council passed an ordinance to establish the Chicago Infrastructure Trust — a nonprofit that will leverage private, for-profit investment for public infrastructure projects. Much of the recent attention has been on the lack of strong public protections to make the trust transparent and accountable to citizens. But there is a more fundamental question: Do we really need it?

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Media Hit | Higher Ed

The New Student Battle Cry: Don't Double My Rate!

The media and the country are just waking up to the alarming fact that unless Congress acts by July 1, the interest rate on subsidized Stafford student loans will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Congress must not let that happen.

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Blog Post | Tax

Recommended Resolutions for Rahm in 2012 | Celeste Meiffren

Here are some recommendations for what Rahm’s New Year’s Resolutions ought to be so City Hall gets the reform that it needs.

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Blog Post | Tax

Not a cause for celebration | Celeste Meiffren

Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced his budget with a pledge to end the smoke and mirrors, and as it passed unanimously, aldermen celebrated a 'new day' for the City. But despite some improvement to end past gimmicks, the budget still includes misleading accounting tricks that hide a tax increase from public scrutiny.

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Blog Post | Tax

Budget Season | Celeste Meiffren

'Tis the season to... fill gaping budget deficits.

Cook County is facing a budget deficit of $315 million, and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle unveiled her plan to fill it yesterday.

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Blog Post | Tax

The Super Committee should be super open | Celeste Meiffren

Our nation faces enormous fiscal challenges. As part of the deal that was recently struck to raise America’s debt ceiling, Congress established a new Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to narrow the total budget gap by $1.5 trillion over the next decade. This “Super Committee” must report its findings by Thanksgiving, and if a majority of its 12 members support its conclusions, both houses of Congress will consider the resulting legislation under expedited procedures by December 23, 2011.

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Blog Post | Tax

Midway Airport Lease Resurgence | Celeste Meiffren

Is the deal to lease Midway Airport to a private company coming back?

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