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June 17th, 2016 at 12:23 pm
The 2016 Wacky Warning Label Contest
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with Bob Dorigo Jones, Senior Fellow at the Center for America, discusses how out-of-control lawsuit abuse hurts families, communities and job providers, and the finalists in the annual Wacky Warning Label Contest.

Listen to the interview here.

June 10th, 2016 at 10:28 am
Video: The Dark Side of Green Energy
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In this installment of the Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses a proposed new “green energy” rule by President Obama’s Fish and Wildlife Service that would permit wind energy companies to kill or injure up to 4,200 bald eagles per year without incurring significant penalties, an increase of nearly four times the current limit.

June 10th, 2016 at 7:18 am
The Time to Rebuild Our Military is Now
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Justin T. Johnson, Senior Policy Analyst for Defense Budgeting Policy at The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for National Security and Foreign Policy, discusses the 2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength, the National Defense Authorization Act and the dangers that lie ahead if the U.S. military remains dangerously weak and unprepared.

Listen to the interview here.

June 7th, 2016 at 6:10 pm
Who Authored Puerto Rico’s Self-Serving Audit Report?
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Last week, ahead of this week’s vote on the PROMESA bailout legislation for Puerto Rico in the U.S. House of Representatives, a commission appointed by Puerto Rico’s government released a preliminary report charging that the Commonwealth violated its Constitution in issuing billions of dollars of its $72 billion debt.  If the bonds were in fact sold illegally, the report insinuates, then the government shouldn’t have to pay them back.

In other words, they would punish lenders for the Puerto Rican government’s own mistakes.

So not only would Puerto Rico’s government get a free pass from its obligations after illegally issuing some of its debt, it would effectively be allowed to stiff good faith bondholders.

It’s worth emphasizing that the legislative body that created this commission, whose membership includes Puerto Rico legislators with obvious conflicts of interest, authorized the very same bond sales that it now seeks to repudiate.

That is morally and logically backward, and sounds like a plot characteristic of a lawless dictatorship.  And for very good reason:  Shenanigans like this are a tried and true tactic of leftist Latin American countries, rooted in the rhetoric of Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro from 30 years ago.  It has been attempted with varying degrees of success by governments or factions in Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador.  More recently over in Europe, a similar government-appointed commission made nearly identical claims in Greece.

Conspicuously, Puerto Rico’s government has not directed any funding toward this commission that it created a year ago.  So that raises an obvious question:  Who is behind this report?

Well, we already know that SEIU was heavily involved in the drafting process, and was one of a number of “stakeholders” to provide “in-kind labor contributions.”  The SEIU, of course, has a vested interest in ensuring that its members receive preferential treatment over good faith bondholders in Puerto Rico, even if Congress has to rewrite the rules to make that possible.

It also has been reported that SEIU has deep ties to consulting firms retained by the Garcia Padilla Administration.  It also is tied directly to the Administration through former president Dennis Rivera, who came under fire earlier this year for running a questionable non-profit in Puerto Rico whose only paid employee is the governor’s brother.

What about those “other stakeholders” who contributed?

We can’t know for sure, but there are commonalties between Puerto Rico and other governments that have attempted similar tactics.  For example, they all had a common ally in Jubilee, the leftist religious organization that has fought to wipe out bondholders in debt disputes across the world, and which has been a staunch advocate before Congress of doing the same to the American savers who lent money to Puerto Rico.

Ecuador, Argentina and Greece also all at one point retained the same counsel as Puerto Rico, which has built a reputation helping leftist governments to avoid repaying the money that they’ve borrowed.

One thing is clear:  The Commission’s report amounts to a political and negotiating ploy.  It’s designed to give Puerto Rico enormous leverage over the innocent people from whom it borrowed, threatening them with the prospect of the all-powerful PROMESA control board invalidating 100% of their debt.

Members of Congress should, at the very least, understand the lengths to which Puerto Rico’s government is going to escape its obligations.

June 3rd, 2016 at 12:45 pm
The Puerto Rico Governor’s New Slush Fund
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

While Congress debates a bailout for Puerto Rico, a different – but related – debate rages among legislators in the Commonwealth over Governor Garcia Padilla’s final budget proposal for the Puerto Rican Government.

The proposal has been met with justified criticism, as noted in part by Puerto Rican publication El Vocero, that should come as no surprise. The Governor’s proposal, which includes nearly $1 billion in increased expenditures for a Commonwealth that otherwise claims it “cannot pay” its debts, is a veritable goodie basket for Garcia Padilla allies.

Of the $973 million in increased expenditures, some $522 million would be diverted into the Garcia Padilla Administration’s new slush fund, something called the Financial Advisory Authority and Fiscal Agent of Puerto Rico (FAAFA). FAAFA will assume the role of the Governor’s old slush fund, the long-unregulated and now insolvent Government Development Bank.

Also included in the budget is $91 million for an unprecedented discretionary fund, an extra $215 million to bail out bankrupt municipalities, and an increase of $69 million for the “professional services” of the very expensive consultants and lobbyists.

All of this spending comes despite the fact that, for the first time, the budget makes no appropriation for the payment of principal and interest on payments to general obligation debt.  That’s a clear violation of Puerto Rico’s Constitution, which affords explicit priority over all other government expenses to the savers who invested in those bonds.

We’ve long warned that, given the cover of the legal stay and cramdown mechanisms included in the Congressional PROMESA legislation, it’s inevitable that Puerto Rico would default on the money it owes to bondholders, walk away from negotiations, and begin to frantically divert its resources to friends and allies on the island.

Now, in plain terms, the Governor has promised to do precisely that.  While the Governor fills the coffers of his new slush fund and lines the pockets of his army of consultants and Big Labor cronies, the Puerto Rican people, the municipal lending market and America’s seniors and savers will pay the price.

The question is whether Congressional conservatives are watching and ready to act accordingly.

June 3rd, 2016 at 6:44 am
The Iran Nuclear Deal and A Failure of Leadership
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Tzvi Kahn, Senior Policy Analyst with the Foreign Policy Initiative, discusses how the White House has virtually failed to hold Iran accountable for nuclear deal violations and how growing threats to U.S. national security demand a renewal of American leadership.

Listen to the interview here.

May 31st, 2016 at 11:05 am
Exposing the Real Intent of the Obama-Labor Dept. Overtime Rule
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Trey Kovacs, Policy Analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, discusses Obama’s new overtime rule, why it was never intended to raise wages, and how it threatens flexible work arrangements and paths to success.

Listen to the interview here.


May 26th, 2016 at 1:20 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: TSA Lines
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

May 17th, 2016 at 2:34 pm
Coalition Urges Congress to Reject Department of Labor Overtime Rule
Posted by CFIF Staff Print
In a letter sent to Congress today, the Center for Individual Freedom (”CFIF”) joined a coalition of 17 organizations to express “strong support for S. 2707 and H.R. 4773, the Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act (PWAOA), and all efforts to defund, block, and otherwise nullify the Obama Administration’s effort to change our nation’s overtime rules.”

The letter, which was organized by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, reads in part, “The bills, sponsored by Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Congressman Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), respectively, would nullify the Department of Labor’s proposed overtime regulation. Specifically, the legislation requires the U.S. Secretary of Labor to conduct a thorough economic analysis on how updating overtime rules would affect small businesses and take into consideration cost-of-living differences across the country, among other research before proposing another overtime rule.”

Read the entire letter here.

May 13th, 2016 at 7:09 am
The Suppression of Conservative Speech
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Mario Lopez, President of the Hispanic Leadership Fund, discusses the concerted, cross-country campaign to force private organizations to hand over to the government their donor lists, a recent federal court ruling in California that vindicates donor privacy and the allegations of suppressed conservative speech by Facebook.

Listen to the interview here.

May 10th, 2016 at 1:13 pm
CFIF Joins Massive Coalition Opposing EPA Ozone Standard
Posted by CFIF Staff Print
The Center for Individual Freedom this week joined with a coalition of 60 conservative organizations, led by Americans for Prosperity, on a letter to the chairmen of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, urging them to take action against the Environmental Protection Agency’s Ozone Standard and change the rulemaking process under which it was adopted.

The coalition specifically endorsed the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016 (H.R. 4775, S. 2882), legislation that would force the EPA to consider the costs of tightening ozone standards when it proposes such rules and will soften the burden on states to comply with new standards now and moving forward, among other things.

The coalition letter reads in part:

On behalf of the 60 organizations listed below and the millions of Americans represented, we urge you to take action on the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for Ozone and to reform the rulemaking process for ozone and other pollutants regulated under NAAQS. Without changes to the ozone regulation and reform of the rulemaking process, economic activity could be brought to a standstill in many areas across the country.

Read the entire letter here.

May 9th, 2016 at 4:27 pm
This Week’s “Your Turn” Radio Show Lineup
Posted by CFIF Staff Print
Join CFIF Corporate Counsel and Senior Vice President Renee Giachino today from 4:00 p.m. CDT to 6:00 p.m. CDT (that’s 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. EDT) on Northwest Florida’s 1330 AM WEBY, as she hosts her radio show, “Your Turn: Meeting Nonsense with Commonsense.”  Today’s guest lineup includes:

4:00 CDT/5:00 pm EDT: Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President for Legal and Public Affairs; President Obama, the Economy, and Free Enterprise;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT: Rachel Greszler, Senior Policy Analyst at The Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity at The Heritage Foundation: Puerto Rico;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT: Mario Lopez, President of the Hispanic Leadership Fund: First Amendment Victory in California Case, Disclosure Laws, and Partisan Criticism;

5:20 CDT/6:20 pm EDT: Sarah Westwood, Watchdog Reporter for the Washington Examiner: Inside the Beltway News; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT: Robert L. Johnson, Founder of Black Entertainment Television, Founder of The RLJ Companies, and Chairman of Caribbean CAGE Gaming Company: A Call to Eliminate Illegal Gambling and Generate Taxable Revenue in Puerto Rico.

Listen live on the Internet here.   Call in to share your comments or ask questions of today’s guests at (850) 623-1330.

May 4th, 2016 at 2:35 pm
“Climate Hustle”
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Bonner R. Cohen, Ph.D., Senior Policy Analyst at the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, discusses ”Climate Hustle,” a movie released this week that reveals the history of climate scares, explores the question of whether there is a genuine scientific consensus on the issue and examines the science on both sides of the debate.

Listen to the interview here.

April 28th, 2016 at 3:36 pm
Coalition Supports Vote to Block Obama Labor Department Fiduciary Rule
Posted by CFIF Staff Print
In a letter sent to Congress today, the Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF) joined a coalition 30 organizations and individuals in urging a vote in support of H.J. Res. 88, which uses the Congressional Review Act to disapprove of the Department of Labor’s so-called fiduciary rule and prevent it from going into effect.

The letter, which was organized by the Competitive Enterprise Insitute (CEI), can be read here.

April 25th, 2016 at 3:47 pm
This Week’s “Your Turn” Radio Show Lineup
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Join CFIF Corporate Counsel and Senior Vice President Renee Giachino today from 4:00 p.m. CDT to 6:00 p.m. CDT (that’s 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. EDT) on Northwest Florida’s 1330 AM WEBY, as she hosts her radio show, “Your Turn: Meeting Nonsense with Commonsense.”  Today’s guest lineup includes:

4:00 CDT/5:00 pm EDT: Katharine Stevens, Research Fellow in Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute: Does Pre-K Work?;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT: Hans von Spakovsky, Senior Legal Fellow at There Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and Former FEC Commissioner: Electoral College;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT: Bonner R. Cohen, Ph.D., Senior Policy Analyst with Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow: “Climate Hustle”;

4:45 CDT/5:45 pm EDT: W. James Antle, III, Washington Examiner’s Politics Editor: 54 Delegates Who Could Pick the GOP Nominee;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT: Tom Schatz, President of Citizens Against Government Waste: 2016 Congressional Pig Book; and

5:30 CDT/6:30 pm EDT: Lawrence Schonbrun, Nationally Acclaimed Class Action Legal Reformer: Excessive Attorneys’ Fees.

Listen live on the Internet here.   Call in to share your comments or ask questions of today’s guests at (850) 623-1330.

April 20th, 2016 at 4:41 pm
The USS No Repect
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

April 15th, 2016 at 8:22 am
Podcast: Corporate Inversions and Tax Reform
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Michi Iljazi, Communications and Policy Manager for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), discusses so-called corporate inversions, what they are and why the outdated U.S. tax code must be reformed to cure the underlining problem, as well as TPA’s latest Tax Day video.

Listen to the interview here.

April 14th, 2016 at 2:56 pm
‘Dear Doctor Obama: Cure the disease instead of focusing on symptoms’
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an op-ed published yesterday in The Hill, CFIF’s Timothy Lee explains why President Obama and the Treasury Department are wrong on corporate tax inversions and the only way to prevent them is to enact comprehensive tax reform now.

The simple reality is that our corporate tax rate of 35% – the highest among OECD nations – jeopardizes every domestic corporation’s very survival in an increasingly competitive global economy. Moreover, because public corporations remain under a legal fiduciary duty to their shareholders to run the most efficient operation possible, America’s unsustainably high tax rate leaves them with little choice but to explore inversion opportunities.

Tragically, even President Obama understands that reality. On several occasions, he has called for comprehensive tax reform that included lowering the corporate tax rate to a more globally competitive level. It defies logic and experience that the president called for lower tax rates out of some sentimental affection toward American corporations. Rather, he clearly understands that cutting America’s corporate tax rate allows domestic businesses a better chance of growing and competing on the international stage.

To remedy the situation, Congress must take concrete steps towards comprehensive tax reform now…There is still enough time in 2016 to achieve a deal.

Read the entire op-ed here.

April 13th, 2016 at 11:37 am
CFIF’s Response to House Natural Resources Committee re: PROMESA
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Linked here and below is a letter to House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop, which serves as our response to his invitation for CFIF’s Timothy Lee to testify at today’s legislative hearing regarding HR 4900, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA).

Read the letter here (PDF).

April 8th, 2016 at 7:49 am
Video: FCC Parties Like It’s 1994
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses the absurdity of the Federal Communications Commission’s cable set-top box proposal.