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Entries in ALG (1580)

Wednesday
Jul142010

ALG - FDA Scientific Advisory Panel Conflicts of Interest Remain

"It is up to the FDA to follow the law and to remove even the appearance of a conflict of interest from a 'science' committee tasked to investigate the regulation of tobacco products.  Right now, the committee is skewed by anti-tobacco industry interests."—ALG President Bill Wilson  

ALG Renews Call for FDA to Dismiss Science Panel Members With Conflicts

July 13th, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson today called upon the Food and Drug Administration to reconsider the composition of a key science panel set to issue recommendations on tobacco regulations.

According to Wilson's letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, "nearly a majority of the TPSAC voting members have received payments from special interests with billions of dollars riding on the outcome of the committee's analysis."

Wilson asked Hamburg to "reconsider the composition of this committee, either dismissing the conflicted members or requiring them to abstain from issues affecting their own financial interests."

Wilson said four members of the committee have "clear conflicts of interest".  They are:

  • Jack Henningfeld a voting member of the committee is a consultant to GlaxoSmithKline the maker of Nicorette gum who would stand to benefit financially from further restrictions on tobacco products
  • Neil L. Benowitz was Pfizer consultant which makes the drug Chantix that aids people who want to quit smoking.  Benowitz has also worked for GlaxoSmithKline and Nabi Pharmaceuticals
  • Dorothy Hatsukami received grant support from Nabi Pharmaceuticals to study their nicotine vaccine
  • The head TPSAC, Jonathan Samet, also received grants from GlaxoSmithKline and the organization he headed was funded by two different pharmaceutical companies

The law establishing the committee specifically states that the "membership of the advisory committee to be fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented and the functions to be performed by the advisory committee;"  and that the committee "contain appropriate provisions to assure that the advice and recommendations of the advisory committee will not be inappropriately influenced by the appointing authority or by any special interest, but will instead be the result of the advisory committee's independent judgment."  

Previously, the FDA had rejected the dismissal of the members, but Wilson's letter urged reconsideration.  The letter notes that the FDA "said it would continue to screen members for potential conflicts of interest on topics the committee would be considering.  We can envision no greater conflict.  We urgently request that you revisit these disqualifying conflicts of interest." 

In a statement, Wilson concluded, "It is up to the FDA to follow the law and to remove even the appearance of a conflict of interest from a 'science' committee tasked to investigate the regulation of tobacco products.  Right now, the committee is skewed by anti-tobacco industry interests."

Attachments:

ALG Letter to FDA, July 13th, 2010 at www.getliberty.org/files/ALGLettertoFDA.pdf .

 

Wednesday
Jul142010

NRN - The Daily Wrap-Up 7/13/10

July 13, 2010
6:00 PM Eastern

Read NetRightDaily.com.

Good Tuesday Evening -

A tale of two Kagan's. Before the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, on behalf of the Obama Administration, in the recent Citizens United decision that lifted restrictions on independent expenditures on electioneering political speech, argued that political pamphleteering and political movies were not covered by the First Amendment, but that political books were.

Berwick: A stealth recess appointment. For those serving as President, making a recess appointment when Congress is not in session is a right guaranteed by the Constitution – Article II, Section 2, to be exact. In the era of our nation's founding, participating in Congress was far from a full-time duty and sometimes months would pass without a single session, making the executive's initiative to maintain continuity in certain posts important.

SEIU's new president should be asked about liabilities, Change to Win coalition.  "Visionary, but divisive." That's how The New York Times describes Andy Stern, the Service Employee International Union's (SEIU) former president, in this profile piece about his successor Mary Kay Henry. She is ambitious to make her own mark in terms of organizing and politicking, according to the report. But Ms. Henry is also working to cut a distinct path and to reunite labor organizations that became split under Stern.

Conflicts of interest continue at FDA's TPSAC. As we have noted here before, there is a serious issue dealing with conflicts of interest at the FDA's Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC). This committee advises the FDA on regulations for tobacco products. However, several members of the committee are not independent, thus, regulations that are passed down affect the financial interests of those on the committee.

Snowe, Collins and Brown draw fire over support of Financial Takeover Bill. New England Republican Senators Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Scott Brown have indicated they will be voting for the Dodd-Frank financial takeover bill, prompting criticism from Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson.

Wednesday
Jul142010

ALG - Snowe, Collins, and Brown Support of Financial Takeover Draws Fire

"Senators Snowe, Collins, and Brown have failed the American people, and have failed to address the true causes of the financial crisis that government was responsible for," —ALG President Bill Wilson.

ALG Blasts New England Republican Senators for

"Failing to Address the True Causes of the Financial Crisis"

July 13th, 2010, Fairfax, VA—New England Republican Senators Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Scott Brown have indicated they will be voting for the Dodd-Frank financial takeover bill, prompting criticism from Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson.

"Senators Snowe, Collins, and Brown, through their support of this bill, are enabling government to perpetuate the easy money and loose lending policies that led to the crisis, to continue too-big-to-fail, and to institutionalize the regime that led to limitless bailouts by taxpayers and de facto government control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," Wilson declared.

Recent polling by Rasmussen Reports indicates opposition to bailouts if "some of the largest banks in the country reach a point where they can no longer meet their obligations," 56 percent favor the government letting them go out of business.  Only 25 percent favor the legislation overall.

"This is precisely the sort of legislation that made America opposed in TARP.  Lawmakers have made the same mistake again, and now they have Senators Snowe, Collins, and Brown to thank," Wilson said.

In a statement, Senator Snowe said, "After thoroughly reviewing the 2,315-page financial regulatory reform conference bill during the July 4 work period, I intend to support passage of the legislation when it's brought before the Senate for consideration."

"Since Senator Snowe has thoroughly reviewed the legislation she intends to support, she is familiar with and agrees with the unlimited bank tax on pages 356 through 364, the racial and gender quotas from pages 441 to 450, and the bailout-takeover fund on pages 347 to 356," Wilson noted.

In Senator Brown's statement of support he said, "While it isn't perfect, I expect to support the bill when it comes up for a vote.  It includes safeguards to help prevent another financial meltdown, ensures that consumers are protected, and it is paid for without new taxes."

"Senator Brown is just plain wrong.  The bill includes an unlimited bank tax that will be passed on to consumers, and addresses not one of the root, government causes of the financial crisis," Wilson said. 

Wilson cited research by former chief credit officer of Fannie Mae, Ed Pinto, demonstrating that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac weakened mortgage underwriting standards and mislabeled high-risk mortgage-backed securities, defrauding investors; that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) lowered down payments on mortgages; and that the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Community Reinvestment Act regulations and "affordable housing goals" reduced lending standards and forced banks to give loans to lower-income Americans that could not be repaid.  "None of these root causes are addressed," Wilson said.

"The Dodd-Frank bill even prohibits the liquidation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under the so-called 'orderly liquidation authority'," Wilson noted, pointing to page 171 of the bill.

Wilson pointed out there would be no audit of the Federal Reserve either, "whose easy money policies accommodated the housing bubble."  He cited research by Stanford economic professor John Taylor stating that "the Fed's target for the federal-funds interest rate was well below what the Taylor rule would call for in 2002-2005. By this measure the interest rate was too low for too long, reducing borrowing costs and accelerating the housing boom."

"Senators Snowe, Collins, and Brown have failed the American people, and have failed to address the true causes of the financial crisis that government was responsible for," Wilson concluded.

Attachments:

"'Down a Rabbit Hole:' The Threat Posed by the Dodd Bill to the Private Sector," Updated June 28th, 2010, Americans for Limited Government.

"Big Brother is Watching You: The Threat Posed by the Dodd Bill to Privacy," Updated June 28th, 2010.

Letter to the U.S. Senate, ALG President Bill Wilson, April 26th, 2010.

 

Tuesday
Jul132010

NRN - Must Reads for July 13, 2010 

Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson's quote of the day from The China Problem: "China is prepared for any downturn. Are we? No. We're not. While the threat of a U.S. credit downgrade looms as soon as 2018 and the economy teeters, the White House Office of Management and Budget projects the U.S. will incur $10.6 trillion in new debt (likely) amid robust growth for the next ten years (unlikely)."

Read more at NetRightDaily.com.

Wednesday
Jul072010

ALG Condemns House for Passing $10 Billion States Bailout in War Supplemental

July 6th, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today issued the following statement condemning the House of Representatives for attaching $10 billion state education funding to the pending war supplemental last week, which passed 215 to 210:

"Nancy Pelosi's House has shown its true colors through the attachment of a non-essential $10 billion political slush fund to the war supplemental, which will be used to bail out bankrupt states like California and New York that refuse to make necessary cuts to balance their budgets, and whose teacher unions have run up an unsustainable tab for taxpayers.

"The final passage of the war supplemental remains in doubt in the Senate so long as these bailouts are attached.  Pelosi was barely able to muster the votes necessary for passage, and even then only got what she needed through the passage of a House rule 'deeming' the supplemental to have passed. 

"The end result is a piece of legislation that cannot pass the Senate, leaving critical resources for our fighting men and women uncertain.  Defense Secretary Bob Gates that Congress' failure could result in a failure to pay active-duty military, and General Petraeus has called the supplemental 'essential for the conduct of this mission.' 

"Yet Nancy Pelosi's House is willing to put the mission in jeopardy by holding the supplemental hostage to a bailout of their favored political constituency.   This is unacceptable to the American people, who expect troops in harm's way to be funded without controversy.  The Senate must do its part to remove any public union bailouts and pass a clean war supplemental."

 

Attachments:

Troops' Funding Held Hostage by Public Sector Union Politics, by ALG President Bill Wilson, June 28th, 2010.

ALG Urges Congress to Reject $100 Billion Handout to Public Employee Unions, June 22nd, 2010.

"Driving Right Off the Cliff," by ALG President Bill Wilson, June 16th, 2010.

ALG Letter to Congress Against States Bailout, May 27th, 2010.