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 Day Ahead – September 17, 2014

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Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly testifies before Congress, a new report on the Healthcare.gov website, and a Fed decision on changing U.S. interest rates.

Poll: Pat Roberts Behind Independent Challenger

Public Policy Polling shows a 10 point gap in the Kansas Senate race.

Obama Meets With Military Envoy Tasked To Battle ISIS

Gen. John Allen has been appointed as Special Envoy to develop an international coalition and military strategy to combat the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria

GAO: Widespread Violations Of Obamacare Abortion Rules

Out of a sample of 18 insurers, only three said that the service was offered without any “restrictions, limitations or exclusions.”

Jindal: Country Needs a Conservative Leadership

Jindal’s comments came as he gave a speech on energy.

IDF: Mortar Fired Into Israel From Gaza, Despite Ceasefire

The flag of Israel at the United Nations. Photo: Luke Vargas/TRNS

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the mortar strike, but the ceasefire currently in place is already hanging by a thread, and any threat of violence could tip the balance back towards a violent retaliation on either side.