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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

New Report Identifies Most Troublesome Private Lenders to Students

Thousands of American students are using the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) public Consumer Complaints Database to settle disputes about private student loans.

Sallie Mae, the student lending giant, generated the most private student loan complaints nationally, and ranked first or tied for first in every single state. Student loan borrowers in the U.S. carry $24,803 on average in total student loan debt.

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Private Loans, Public Complaints

This report is the second of several that will review complaints to the CFPB nationally and on a state-by-state level. In this report we explore consumer complaints in the private student loan sector with the aim of uncovering patterns in the problems consumers are experiencing with their student loans.

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News Release | Tax

JPMorgan Shouldn’t Get Tax Break for “London Whale” Settlement

“On Wednesday, reports emerged that JPMorgan Chase will agree to admit to wrongdoing and pay a $100 million penalty for improper market manipulation that led to a multibillion dollar trading loss. Yet unless the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) explicitly forbids it, the bank could write off the settlement as a tax deduction, forcing taxpayers to shoulder some of the cost of JPMorgan’s admitted reckless behavior.

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Media Hit | Transportation

On the Move: New technology leads to less driving

It seems like the younger generation does just about everything online: shop, watch movies and even find dates. A new study shows that online services are even helping people drive less.

Public interest research group Maryland PIRG found that transportation apps and vehicle-sharing apps such as Zipcar have made it easier for Americans to drive less.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

CFPB Report Shows Credit CARD Act Works | Ed Mierzwinski

Last week, the CFPB released a report showing that the landmark PIRG-backed Credit CARD Act of 2009 is saving consumers billions of dollars by helping them avoid penalty fees and unfair interest rate increases. We joined CFPB director Richard Cordray and others in Chicago to discuss the report's findings.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Democracy

Activists, Citizens, Lawmakers Come Together To Oppose Citizens United

Annapolis- Marylanders gathered today to voice their support for an amendment to over tune Citizens United, the controversial court decision that led to the rise of super PACs and unlimited independent political spending in our elections. Lawmakers and activists spoke out against the decision and its corrosive effect on democracy.Annapolis- Marylanders gathered today to voice their support for an amendment to over tune Citizens United, the controversial court decision that led to the rise of super PACs and unlimited independent political spending in our elections. Lawmakers and activists spoke out against the decision and its corrosive effect on democracy.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG and Demos | Democracy

New Report Shows Impact of Big Money in the 2012 Election

AnnapolisIt took just 32 billionaires and corporations, giving an average of $9.9 million apiece to Super PACs, to match every single dollar that small donors gave to the Romney and Obama campaigns, according to Billion Dollar Democracy, a new report by Maryland PIRG and Demos. Those small donations, which amounted to more than $313 million, came from more than 3.7 million individuals.

 

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News Release | US PIRG | Tax

Subsidizing Bad Behavior

January 3 – A report released today spotlights a common practice where corporations that commit wrongdoing and agree to financial settlements with the federal government, go on to claim such settlement payments as tax-deductible business expenses. The new study, released by the Maryland Public Interest Research Group (Maryland PIRG), follows a record year of corporate settlements, while many more settlements relating to banking, environmental, and consumer safety issues are expected.

 

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Tax

First Step to Avoid the Fiscal Cliff: Close Offshore Tax Loopholes

With Congress scrambling to agree on ways to reduce the deficit, Maryland PIRG joined with MaryPIRG Students and a concerned College Park student  today to point out a clear first step to avoid the “fiscal cliff”: closing offshore tax loopholes. Many of America’s largest corporations and wealthiest individuals use accounting gimmicks to shift profits made in America to offshore tax havens, where they pay little to no taxes. This tax avoidance costs the federal government $150 billion in tax revenue each year.  Maryland PIRG released new data illustrating the size of this loss with 16 dramatic ways $150 billion could be spent.

 

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

Survey Finds Dangerous Toys on Store Shelves

This morning Maryland PIRG Foundation released the report, revealing the results of laboratory testing on toys for lead, cadmium and phthalates, all of which have been proven to have serious adverse health impacts on the development of young children.  The survey also found small toys that pose a choking hazard, extremely loud toys that threaten children’s hearing, and toy magnets that can cause serious injury.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Transportation

squandering the stimulus

America’s dependence on oil has become increasingly painful. Two thirds of oil in the United States goes to transportation, with the largest share consumed by cars and trucks. As the rising price of gasoline makes driving more expensive, Americans have sought alternatives by driving a little less and riding public transportation more.

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Toxic Baby Furniture

Furnishings containing formaldehyde – a toxic chemical linked with allergies, asthma, and cancer – can contaminate indoor air within Maryland homes. Babies and young children are particularly vulnerable to harm.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Public Health

Toxic Baby Furniture

To evaluate the potential dangers children face, Maryland PIRG Foundation purchased 21 products intended for use in a baby’s nursery and hired a professional laboratory to test them. Six of the products produced high levels of formaldehyde vapor. In particular, several brands of cribs and changing tables emit formaldehyde at levels linked with increased risk of developing allergies or asthma.

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Report | Higher Ed

The Campus Credit Trap

Credit card lending is enormously profitable. According to annual Federal Reserve Board of Governors’ (FRB) Reports to Congress, it is the most profitable form of banking. But the credit card industry is saturated. The average adult had nearly five credit cards in 2006 and the average household received 5.7 credit card solicitations monthly in 2004, according to the 2007 FRB report.

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A Better Way to Go

America’s automobile-centered transportation system was a key driver of the nation’s economic prosperity during the 20thst century. Rising fuel prices, growing traffic congestion, and the need to address critical challenges such as global warming and America’s addiction to imported oil all point toward the need for a new transportation future.

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