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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Rand Paul Wins CPAC Straw Poll

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks at te Conservative Political Action Conference 2015, National Harbor, Feb. 27, 2015. (Photo by James Cullum)

Jeb Bush got fifth place.

Photos: Bush, Paul, Santorum at CPAC 2015

Oh, and how could we forget Donald Trump? He was there, too.

Eleventh Hour: House Extends DHS Funding For Seven Days

The Senate earlier passed the seven-day extension bill, giving House Republicans a pass on a possible DHS shutdown

U.S. And Cuba Hold Embassy Establishment Talks

The U.S. delegation hopes that talks of an Embassy in Havana could be finalized by April, when the Summit of Americas is scheduled to convene

House Fails To Pass Partial Funding For DHS

As of Friday evening at 5:30 pm EST, it is unclear how Congress will proceed in order to keep the Department of Homeland Security funded after the midnight deadline

Obama On Death Of Leonard Nimoy: ‘I Loved Spock’

Photo/ Leonard Nimoy on Twitter

“Michelle and I join his family, friends, and countless fans who miss him so dearly today,” Obama said.