Reports

Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Budget

Forgiving Fraud and Failure

For this report, we reviewed hundreds of records and found numerous cases of contractors with questionable records receiving contracts without competition or sufficient time to determine the extent of the problems identified.  While the report outlines specific contractor practices, it is as much an indictment of the process as it is about any single company. 

Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Funding Clean Elections

The spiraling cost of campaigns, high-profile scandals and voter distrust of Congress have fueled an effort for fundamental reform of the way we fund congressional campaigns. As a result, many federal decision-makers have been working on proposals to create a Clean Elections model for publicly financing congressional campaigns. As a part of the effort to build support both within the Democratic caucus and across party lines, it is important to know how much the program will cost and options to pay for that cost. This briefing paper looks at options to pay for a federal Clean Elections program.

Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Breaking Free With Fair Elections

Fair Elections – systems with full public financing of elections – would help improve the openness, honesty, and accountability of government. They would also free public officials to respond to the interests of voters without worrying about hurting their ability to raise money from deep-pocketed donors.

Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Honest Enforcement

Some argue that last year’s scandals, which led to the conviction of two congressmen and several top aides, are evidence that ethics enforcement in Congress works. The actual facts leading up to the convictions, however, are more an indictment of the current process than a testament to its success. A whistleblower who took his case to the media and the U.S. Department of Justice—not the House and Senate ethics committees—uncovered the dealings of lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Neither the House nor the Senate ethics committee has indicated publicly that they looked into the matter or considered if other members of Congress broke any Senate or House rules, regardless of whether outside laws were broken. Among the many concerns, the secrecy of the process provides no assurance to the American people that members take these scandals seriously.

Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Higher Ed

Exposing The Textbook Industry

The cost of textbooks is not just a drop in the bucket of tuition and fees; the average student spends about $900 per year on textbooks, which is nearly 20% of tuition and fees at a four year public institution. Moreover, textbook prices are rising at about four times the rate of inflation.

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