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Welcome to SourceWatch!

The Center for Media and Democracy publishes this wiki, SourceWatch.

Please check out our sister sites, PRWatch and ALECexposed, to read our original reporting and see our award-winning investigations.

Lisa Graves, Executive Director

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Featured Work

Federal Judge Overturns Kaua'i Pesticide and GMO Law

by Rebekah Wilce

Waimea
U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren overturned Kaua'i County's law regulating the use of pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) this week. He ruled that it was preempted by Hawai'i state law, although not by federal law.

The four chemical companies operating on Kaua'i -- DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta, Dow Chemical subsidiary Agrigenetics, and BASF Plant Science -- challenged the law in court, arguing that it is invalid and unfairly targets their industry.

The county law, Ordinance 960, was passed in November 2013 and would have gone into effect this month. It requires buffer zones between fields spraying pesticides on GMO crops and sensitive areas like schools and hospitals. It also requires chemical companies and large farms to disclose types and quantities of pesticides they spray as well as the location of fields growing GMO crops.

Read the rest of this item here.


Toronto Star Details ALEC Efforts to Derail Climate Change Policy

by Rebekah Wilce

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The Toronto Star has published an in-depth report detailing the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC's) "plans to undo environmental legislation," specifically how it "works with lobbyists and legislators to derail climate change policies."

The report, by the Star's environmental report Mike De Souza, refers to internal documents from ALEC's annual meeting July 30 through August 1 in Dallas that were leaked to the Center for Media and Democracy/Progressive Inc. (CMD). The documents show that, at several session of the meeting, sponsors cast doubt on the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change. At others, attendees put forward "model" bills to allow fossil fuel companies more free rein while hampering the development of alternative forms of energy. Read the rest of this item here.


Walker Solicited Funds for Outside Group to Win Recalls

by Mary Bottari

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
"Unprecedented." That is the word used by Wisconsin Common Cause director Jay Heck as he reflects on the breaking news that Governor Scott Walker actively solicited funds for Wisconsin Club for Growth (WCFG) to be used in the 2012 Wisconsin recall elections. The group amassed some $12 million, according to court records, and used those funds in half a dozen recall races held in June of 2012.

"I can't remember another governor ever engaging in this type of behavior in the state," said Heck.

The only precedent he could recall involved Wisconsin State Senator Chuck Chvala. In 2002, Democratic Senate leader, Chvala, and Republican House leader, Scott Jensen, were both charged with multiple felony counts of illegal campaign financing and abuse of office. Read the rest of this item here.


Remembering James Foley

by Mary Bottari

James Foley
Here at CMD and The Progressive, we have been deeply saddened by the death of journalist James Foley. We have been moved by the remembrances of colleagues and friends and struck by the incredible grace exhibited by his mother and father as they expressed pride in their son and begged for mercy for the others in captivity.

Foley exhibited the best of the journalistic tradition; a passion for his craft and a deep empathy for those suffering in war-torn regions, battered by circumstances beyond their control. In some quarters, journalism has devolved greatly from the standards Foley upheld.

Foley was a Marquette University graduate, a Catholic university here in Wisconsin, and known and loved by many in this state. Before his assassination by ISIS, he was held in Libya for 44 days in 2011 along with other journalists before being released. During his harrowing days in captivity in Libya, he was granted a moment of mercy and kindness by his captors. He was allowed to call home to speak to his mom.

Upon his release, he wrote about that moment in a letter to Marquette thanking the community for their support and prayers. We reprinted this letter with the sadness of knowing that other journalists are in harms way. Our thoughts are with them and their families in this terrible time. Marquette has set up a scholarship fund in honor of Foley, which you can access here. Read the rest of this item here.


CMD again Target of Attack-Dog Journalism

by Mary Bottari

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At the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), there is an awful lot of good fortune coming our way.

First, a mysterious Middle East millionaire wanted to give us a boatload of money to produce a documentary on fracking and global warming. Our administrative staff politely dodged the calls as senior staff warned environmentalists across the country that some sort of scam was afoot.

Then our Lisa Graves was showered with compliments on our investigations into undisclosed election spending, as a team repeatedly tried to get her on film at a recent Netroots Nation conference. When she asked them for their contact information, they claimed to have no email or Twitter accounts (at Netroots? Really?). The duo followed her to a private party, and one stalked her down a hotel hallway at 2:00 in the morning, prompting another writer to intervene.

Now another deep-pocketed mystery funder wants to bankroll us to help with a film about the impact of dark money on the African American community -- a great idea, frankly, as the Koch-fueled attack on health care is resulting in governors rejecting federal funds for expanded health care coverage.

But alas, we fear that the film idea is yet another scam designed for another phony "gotcha" moment. Read the rest of this item here.


Microsoft and More Leave ALEC, 80 Corporations Out

by Rebekah Wilce

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Microsoft, the $86.8 billion-a-year technology company, is no longer a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and has stopped funding the group.

The company confirmed that "in 2014 Microsoft decided to no longer participate in the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Communications and Technology Task Force, which had been our only previous involvement with ALEC. With this decision, we no longer contribute any dues to ALEC." The confirmation was sent by email to The Sustainability Group of Loring, Wolcott and Coolidge and Walden Asset Management, which had engaged Microsoft over its affiliation with ALEC. Read the rest of this item here.


Recent Articles from PRWatch.org

FBI Tracks Charter Schools

by Ruth Coniff

There’s been a flood of local news stories in recent months about FBI raids on charter schools all over the country.

From Pittsburgh to Baton Rouge, from Hartford to Cincinnati to Albuquerque, FBI agents have been busting into schools, carting off documents, and making arrests leading to high-profile indictments.

What’s going on here?

Charter schools are such a racket, across the nation they are attracting special attention from the FBI, which is working with the Department of Education’s inspector general to look into allegations of charter-school fraud.

Read the rest of this item here.


Dark Money Casts Shadow over Push to Tax the Sun

by Brendan Fischer

Arizona has been ground zero for the American Legislative Exchange Council-backed effort to penalize homeowners who build solar panels on their homes.

Last year, the state's main electricity company, ALEC member Arizona Public Service (APS), pushed for a huge new surcharge on families and companies that switch to cheaper (and cleaner) solar energy, which would have had the effect of driving up the costs of rooftop solar and keeping more consumers dependent on the fossil fuel-powered electricity grid.

In November of 2013, the Arizona Corporation Commission -- the agency tasked with regulating utilities -- voted 3-2 against APS' effort to "tax the sun." (The next month, ALEC considered an "updating net metering policies resolution" reflecting APS' push to charge solar users, which fit squarely within ALEC's antagonism towards renewable energy). The Corporation Commission instead passed a smaller tax, allowing APS to charge homeowners around $5 per month for home solar panels rather than the $50-100 solar "deathblow" that the industry had sought.

Many suspect that APS is now secretly seeking revenge.

Read the rest of this item here.


Social Security Still Going Strong

by Lisa Graves

On August 14, 1935, The Progressive wrote about President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal victory in securing real income security for Americans in the aftermath of the Great Depression caused by the Wall Street crash of 1929. As detailed in that story, the bill did not pass Congress unanimously and was attacked by the rightwing of that era.

For seven decades, Social Security has been under attack by opponents who consider government-guaranteed pensions for Americans to receive as they get older or if they become disabled to be socialism and unAmerican.

Social Security is one of the most successful and most popular government programs in American history.

Read the rest of this item here.


Edelman Makes a Climate Change Pledge, But Forgets About ALEC

by Nick Surgey

Edelman, the world's largest PR company, synonymous with astroturf-style front groups and dirty tricks, has announced that it will no longer work for groups that deny climate change. The PR firm represents many of the world's most polluting companies, and numerous front groups for polluters, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). It has so far refused to say whether it will be continuing to work for ALEC, despite that group’s high-profile work to block action on climate change.

Read the rest of this item here.


DOJ: Due to 9/11 Moms and Kids Are National Security Threat

by Brendan Fischer

Migrant mothers and their young children detained at the border are being denied an opportunity to be released on bond, because of 9/11.

Department of Justice prosectors are citing a 2003 ruling from former Attorney General John Ashcroft to deny bond to undocumented immigrant mothers and children -- many of whom have valid asylum claims -- held at a remote detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico that advocates say is ill-equipped to care for children.

In that 2003 ruling, titled "Matter of D-J," Ashcroft cited national security concerns in reversing a DOJ Board of Immigration Appeals decision granting bond to a Haitian immigrant. George W. Bush's Attorney General wrote that releasing the immigrant on bond could encourage additional migration.

Read the rest of this item here.


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Thank you, in advance, for helping to make SourceWatch even stronger!


Editors' Pick

Walmart’s Spin on Workers and Manufacturing Exposed

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In response to the increasing media interest around the business practices of America's largest employer and retailer, the Center for Media and Democracy is launching a new web resource on Walmart that fact checks the company’s advertisements and statements. Using the model of AlecExposed.org, Walmart’s profile in SourceWatch details Walmart’s employee pay and policies, its PR on veterans, its lobbying and political contributions, environmental impact and its spin on domestic sourcing. The site also includes a section analyzing the impact that the company’s business practices on shoppers.

“Walmart likes to say it is committed to supporting families, communities, and our economy, but the facts often tell a different story,” said Lisa Graves, Executive Director at the Center for Media and Democracy. “This new resource gives reporters and consumers the information they need to understand the true nature of Walmart’s business practices and the effect the company’s decisions have on U.S. manufacturing, workers, and other aspects of our economy.”

This new resource is being launched shortly before a manufacturing summit hosted by Walmart in Denver. The website includes information highlighting the company’s role in off-shoring and raises important questions about the company’s current manufacturing commitment.

Read the rest of this item here.
Visit the Walmart SourceWatch page for more!


Follow the Money! Wiki Resource

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The Center for Media and Democracy, publisher of ALEC Exposed, brings you this unique wiki resource on the billionaire industrialists and the power and influence of the Koch cadre and Koch cash.

Read about Koch Funding Vehicles:

The Kochs' Anti-Civil Rights Roots

Vist Koch Exposed for more.

Watch the Video!

Watch Lisa Graves talk about her new article, "The Koch Cartel: Their Reach, Their Reactionary Agenda and Their Record."

Read the article here.


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Go to FightingBobFest.org for more info!


Featured Video

Outsourcing America, Privatization Bites Back

Outsourcing America, Privatization Bites Back




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Praise for SourceWatch!

Here's what they're saying about SourceWatch:


"The folks at the Center for Media and Democracy have done incredible work documenting fake grassroots ("astroturf") groups. Here, they're helping protect the rights of all Americans to exercise their right to vote. They are completely non-partisan. These guys are the real deal."
Craig Newmark, Craig's List

"A truly impressive project based on cutting edge web technology."
David Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World and The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community.

"The troublemakers at the Center for Media and Democracy, for example, point to dozens of examples of "greenwashing," which they defined as the "unjustified appropriation of environmental virtue by a company, an industry, a government or even a non-government organization to sell a product, a policy" or rehabilitate an image. In the center's view, many enterprises labeled green don't deserve the name.
—Jack Shafer, "Green Is the New Yellow: On the excesses of 'green' journalism," Slate.

"As a journalist frequently on the receiving end of various PR campaigns, some of them based on disinformation, others front groups for undisclosed interests, [CMD's SourceWatch] is an invaluable resource."
Michael Pollan, author of The Botany of Desire

"Thanks for all your help. There's no way I could have done my piece on big PR and global warming without CMD [the Center for Media and Democracy] and your fabulous websites."
—Zoe Cormier, journalist, Canada

"The dearth of information on the [U.S.] government [lobbying] disclosure forms about the other business-backed coalitions comes in stark contrast to the data about them culled from media reports, websites, press releases and Internal Revenue Service documents and posted by SourceWatch, a website that tracks advocacy groups."

—Jeanne Cummings, 'New disclosure reports lack clarity," Politico.

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Disclaimer: SourceWatch is part of the Center for Media and Democracy—email the publisher of SourceWatch, CMD's Executive Director, Lisa Graves, via lisa AT prwatch.org. You can also contact our Editor, Friday Thorn, via friday_thorn AT prwatch.org.

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