Dirt Diggers Digest No. 39
July 11, 2003

Editor: Philip Mattera

1. New Toxics Release Inventory finally released
2. Website monitors Big Brother and Big Business
3. Update on accessing Trade Adjustment Assistance records
4. Tips on searching federal lobbying registrations
5. Study looks at executive compensation in Europe
6. Common Cause tallies PhRMA's political investments
7. Forbes introduces Global 2000 list

1. New Toxics Release Inventory finally released

The beleaguered U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finally
gotten around to releasing the new annual version (covering 2001 data)
of the Toxics Release Inventory, one of the most important sources of
information on the pollution impact of U.S. business. The entire TRI
is now online and can be accessed at <http://www.epa.gov/tri/>.
The TRI Explorer mapping tool is at <http://www.epa.gov/triexplorer/>.
Also be sure to look at the press materials page at
<http://www.epa.gov/tri/tridata/tri01/press/press.htm>, which has
items such as lists of total releases by industry and rankings of the
facilities and counties with the highest levels of releases. The TRI
data are also available on the website of the Right-to-Know Network

2. Website monitors Big Brother and Big Business

of a recent Washington Post story
about a project called Government Information Awareness (GIA) that has
been launched by a student at the MIT Media Lab. The project was "inspired"
by the Pentagon's controversial Total Information Awareness data collection
program (since renamed Terrorism Information Awareness). GIA, created by
graduate student Ryan McKinley, is an attempt to turn the tables on the
powers that be by collecting data on public officials, corporations and their

McKinley has seeded the GIA website <opengov.media.mit.edu> with
info from public sources such as official biographies and campaign
contribution data, but he is urging others to submit less well-known
information such as the fact that a certain legislator and a major campaign
contributor were fraternity brothers.

Note: The GIA website has been experiencing very heavy traffic. Your
editor was able to view the material describing GIA but not the actual
data pages.
3. Update on accessing Trade Adjustment Assistance records

Rick Rehberg submitted the following item:

The US Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration
administers the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, which
provides aid to workers who lose their jobs due to imports.

The TAA program has existed since 1974. A NAFTA-TAA program was
established to aid workers who lost their jobs specifically because of
imports from Canada or Mexico (or because their jobs were exported
to those countries). Under the 2002 TAA Reform Act, NAFTA-TAA
was merged into the existing TAA program.

Both workers and employers can apply under the program, and the
Employment and Training Administration's determinations since 1997
can be found at <http://www.doleta.gov/tradeact/determinations.asp>.
Unfortunately it is necessary to search both the TAA and NAFTA-TAA
Petition Determination databases separately. Both databases allow
searches by employer name, state or SIC Code.

The databases only reveal whether a petition was approved or denied.
For details on the circumstances of the layoffs and the amount and
types of assistance provided to workers, it is necessary to obtain the
paper background file from the Department of Labor. DC area
researchers can simply walk into the office below and photocopy the
case files; others should call for instructions or send a written request:
U.S. Department of Labor, Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance
200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room C-5311
Washington, DC 20210
Phone - 202-693-3560
Fax - 202-693-3584, 3585

4. Tips on searching federal lobbying registrations

Rick Rehberg also submitted this item:

The US Senate has made Senate lobbyist registrations available online
at <http://sopr.senate.gov/>. The database is searchable by lobbying
firm name, lobbyist name or client name.

Lobbyist registrations have long been available through the Center for
Responsive Politics' database at
<http://www.opensecrets.org/lobbyists/index.asp>. Each database has
its pluses and minuses:

Senate Pluses -- Lobbyist registrations 1998-2003, images of the
registration forms.
Senate Minuses -- Includes only Senate lobbyists. Some lobbyists
may be registered with the House only.
CRP Pluses -- Includes all lobbyists and allows more sophisticated
searches (i.e. lobbyists by industry).
CRP Minuses -- Only has lobbyist registrations to 2000, does not
include scanned images.

5. Study looks at executive compensation in Europe

The European Corporate Governance Institute <www.ecgi.org> has
published a study of executive compensation practices in Europe,
including the issue of disclosure. The report, "Executive Remuneration
in the EU: Comparative Law and Practice" (available online from the
ECGI website), finds that disclosure requirements are most advanced
in the United Kingdom and Ireland, thanks to 2002 revisions to the
Companies Act.

6. Common Cause tallies PhRMA's political investments

Common Cause has put together the numbers showing how
the pharmaceutical industry used lobbying and campaign
contributions to come out a winner in the recent Congressional
debate on Medicare prescription drug coverage. Common Cause's
report <http://www.commoncause.org/action/070103_phrma_report.pdf>
found that the drug industry has spent at least $558 million over
the past decade in its long-running (and now apparently successful)
effort to thwart price controls on its wares. The report also has
useful tables such as one showing the top recipients of drug
industry PAC contributions (Nancy Johnson R-CT in the House
and Orrin Hatch R-UT in the Senate).

7. Forbes introduces Global 2000 list

In the latest foray in the never-ending battle of the lists among
the leading business magazines, Forbes has introduced the
Global 2000. This is a ranking of the world's largest companies
by sales, profits, assets and market value. U.S.-based firms
dominate the list with 776 entries, followed by Japan with 331.
The electronic version of the list can be found at


Philip Mattera

Director of the Corporate Research Project

Good Jobs First