The Checks and Balances Project
In an age when big money drives lobbying, politics and too many decisions in government, the traditional watchdog function of the news media is being downsized. Too many decisions that affect American taxpayers are now being made behind closed doors, often to the benefit of those with the biggest checkbooks or the most lobbyists.
In fact, lobbying has become an over $3 billion a year industry, with thousands of former government officials basically selling access and connections to get things done for powerful special interests.
Sadly, it doesn’t stop there. Often, millions of dollars are routed to pundits and organizations that position themselves as neutral, intellectually honest “think tanks” or “institutes” to promote lobbying masked as “objective” good policy. Many of these organization and “experts” for hire not only push a lobbying agenda of industries or companies, but they also spread disinformation about their clients’ competitors.
It’s not a new phenomenon, but these trends have created a fully integrated influence peddling-disinformation industry. Its dramatic growth isn’t a sustainable trend. A free society can’t work unless there is some check on concentration of power and true transparency, and now, more than ever, society needs more of the most powerful check on concentrations of power – public scrutiny.
That’s why we have launched the Checks and Balances Project. It’s designed to be a small, investigative and oversight project designed to get to the bottom of how and why decisions are being made that affect taxpayers and consumers.
Our focus is on holding government officials, lobbyists, and corporate management accountable for their actions related to energy, government spending, public health, and the environment. Through fair research and reporting we’re going to ask the hard questions, to pursue the answers, and to ensure transparency so that people have the facts when important decisions are made and the interests of American taxpayers are at stake.
The Checks and Balances Project is a government and industry watchdog group. Gabe Elsner’s work to bring transparency and accountability to the oil and gas industry is supported by Renew American Prosperity, Inc. Ellynne Bannon’s work to bring accountability in the western energy and public lands debate is supported by the New Venture Fund, a 501(c)3 public charity that also supports innovative public interest projects in global health and development, conservation, health, education and other critical sectors. Individuals and groups interested in supporting our work should contact us at email@example.com.
Learn more about: The team