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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Homs, Syria A “Theatre Of Death And Destruction”: UN Envoy

Recent fighting in the city has cut its residents off from urgent deliveries of humanitarian aid, the opposition Syrian National Coalition said.

Crimea Will Be Ours Again: Ukraine PM

Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Ukraine is ready to fight to hold onto the annexed region, but will concentrate on working with the international community.

Review On Keystone Pipeline Delayed, Again

The delayed review of the pipeline now likely takes the issue off the table for the upcoming November elections.

White House: Antisemitic Flyers Disturbing, But Origins Unclear

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Friday told TRNS he wasn’t sure who was behind antisemitic flyers in eastern Ukraine.

Experts: Despite Little Progress, ‘Pivot To Asia’ Not Yet Dead

Senior Administration Officials

A talk hosted by The Brookings Institution looked at how the Obama administration can still make it’s ‘pivot to Asia’ work despite lost time.

Reid: Putin Involved With “Neo-Nazi Thugs”

“News reports of disturbing, anti-Semitic pamphlets show the kind of neo-Nazi thugs with whom Vladimir Putin is willing to associate,” Reid said on Thursday.