Friday, October 4

● Payment processor penalized

● Debt ceiling brinksmanship

● Wasting in environmental corruption

● Wall Street undermines reform

Payment processor penalized
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau asked a federal judge to impose a $1.38 million civil penalty against Meracord LLC and its owner, Linda Remsberg, for helping debt-settlement companies to collect illegal fees from consumers. Meracord, one of the country’s largest debt-settlement companies, violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule which forbids the collection of upfront fees before settling a customer’s debts, the CFPB said.

Debt ceiling brinksmanship
The Department of Treasury concluded in a report that a failure by Congress to approve an increase to the debt ceiling would be unprecedented and potentially catastrophic. Among other outcomes: credit markets could freeze, the value of the dollar could plummet, and U.S. interest rates could skyrocket, potentially resulting in a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse.

Wasting in environmental corruption
The National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative think tank, claimed in a report that $1.24 billion spent by the U.S. over the past 12 years to support the Global Environmental Facility has not achieved any measurable environmental benefit. The GEF, led by the United Nations and the World Bank, “has merely served as a mechanism to spread funds between wealthy countries while doing little to help the poorest nations,” NCPA said.

Wall Street undermines reform
The banking and finance industry has spent $3.2 billion on federal lobbying and campaign contributions since 2009 when the Troubled Asset Relief Program paid out $700 billion to save Wall Street from collapse, Public Citizen said in a report. Public Citizen said the industry’s lobbyists and campaign donors oppose reforms that are intended to prevent a similar future collapse.

For Immediate Release is a daily compilation of press releases found on more than 1,000 websites that are maintained by the federal government and national advocacy organizations. Press releases selected for this feature are, in the opinion of the editor, exceptionally newsworthy, interesting or just plain curious.

Click for access to an archive of past For Immediate Release reports.

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Friday, March 27

● Arnie’s Army moves to Florida

● Label rule makes generic drug makers squirm

● Student loan collection should copy IRS tactic

● Rating state laws for charter schools

● CDC rolls out new anti-smoking campaign

● Taking aim against predatory lenders

Senate Republicans Claim Saudi Arabia Has Lost Faith In U.S.

Adel Al-Jubeir, the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, denied the Senators claims, saying that the Saudi government is “working very closely with the U.S., consulting very closely with the U.S.

Obama Boosts Consumer Protection Bureau, Goes After Payday Loan Lenders

The new rules will require payday lenders to ensure consumers can afford to repay the loans in a timely fashion, keeping consumer from “getting stuck into cycles of debt.”

Building Explodes, Collapses In NYC’s East Village

Photo credit: Scott Westerfeld

According to reports, witnesses said an explosion was heard prior to the building being engulfed in flames, with the New York Fire Department declaring the situation a level seven-alarm fire.

Coalition Airstrikes Begin In Tikrit… Conditionally

That is, the coalition will not strike unless Iranian-backed militias leave the premises.

Japan Prime Minister Abe To Address Congress In April

Prime Minister Abe will become the first Japanese leader to address a joint meeting of the United States Congress.