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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LISTEN: The Weekend Ahead – October 25-27

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Elections in Tunisia and Brazil, and human rights reviews of Iraq, Iran and Egypt.

LISTEN: The World in 2:00 – October 24, 2014

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Ebola spreads to Mali, the Security Council attempts to strengthen Somalia’s arms embargo and a UN expert on immigration says it’s time for holistic reform.

Issa: CDC Chief Bumbled Ebola Response

Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee were critical of Centers For Disease Control and the Department of Homeland Security.

NYC Mayor: New York City Fully Prepared to Handle Ebola

NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. Photo/The office of Public Advocate for the City of New York

A doctor who recently returned from Guinea was diagnosed with Ebola on Thursday at a New York City hospital.

Brownstein: Reducing Methane Emissions Helps Job Growth, Economy

Expanding the methane mitigation industry will help with job growth and protect the environment, according to the Chief Counsel of the U.S. Climate and Energy Program.

UN in Brief: Calm & Conflict for October 24, 2014

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UN staff returning from West Africa to ‘self-monitor’ for Ebola, human rights expert says immigration debate ‘toxic’ and Somali cargo inspections are approved.