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Lawmakers Urge FTC to Investigate 'Dark Money' Group Attacking Consumer Watchdog


Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Some lawmakers are trying to find out who's paying so-called "dark money" for ads attacking the watchdog group Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).Protect America's Consumers, a political lobbying group, has spent nearly $58,000 on cable TV and online ads disparaging the nearly 5-year-old government agency, according to a report by the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan group that advocates for open government. One of the ads includes quotes from Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, and Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, who say they were taken out of context to try to undermine the consumer agency they actually support.The three Democratic lawmakers wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, urging an investigation of the ads.In a statement provided to ABC News, Rep. Waters said, "The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been so successful protecting consumers and providing relief to millions of Americans that its opponents have had to resort to secretive and dishonest tactics to try and undermine its critical work. I am deeply concerned with the way Protect America’s Consumers is taking our words out of context in TV ads and online in an effort to attack the Bureau. We are working with the FTC to identify those who are responsible and to take whatever steps necessary.”The representatives complained that their quotes appear like endorsements for the political group's attempts "to ultimately dismantle the bureau." For example, one ad quotes Rep. Ellison with the words, "The CFPB does need to clean up its act." Ellison's full quote from a House financial services committee hearing in 2014 is, “It so happens that the CFPB does need to clean up its act as every other federal agency does, proving that even a stopped clock can be right twice a day.”The ads argue that the bureau's rule-making over the financial services industry isn't "accountable" to Congress or President Obama. Protect America's Consumers states on its website that it has tax-exempt 501(c)(4) status, which means it must spend less than half of its money on politics, such as political advertising, and it doesn't have to reveal its donors. Donations to 501(c)(4) groups are unlimited, but the use of those donations is limited when it comes to politics. Records show it was incorporated in Warrenton, Virginia, in November 2015 with the same address as that of law firm Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky. The law firm did not respond to a request for comment. In 2012, the firm was tied to groups that spent millions on that year's election, including Karl Rove's American Crossroads, Bloomberg reported. Attempts to obtain a record of Protect America's Consumers' tax-exempt status and to reach a spokesman of Protect America's Consumers were not successful.One of the ads accuses the agency of being "plagued with scandal and corruption," while pointing to its "luxurious new office," though one report from Bloomberg said the estimated building renovation costs were exaggerated.The CFPB was created in 2010 to "protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices and take action against companies that break the law," according to its website. The bureau's authority to supervise non-bank financial services, which includes auto lending and leasing, has been the target of some Republican lawmakers and the financial services industry who argue the agency may be too aggressive with its enforcement actions against banks. Ohio's former attorney general Richard Cordray became the agency's first director over the objections of a number of Republicans who hoped instead to place a five-member commission over the bureau.Libby Watson, staff writer with the Sunlight Foundation, underscored the difficulty in determining who is behind the ads."I do this full time and I found it really hard to find out who these people are," Watson said. "The public –- people with actual jobs -- would have no hope finding out who these people are. They’re attacking the CFPB for not being accountable. The problem is these people aren’t accountable to anybody, because we don’t even know who they are."A spokeswoman for the CFPB declined to comment about the ads.A spokesman for the FTC declined to comment.Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao, Silicon Valley Female Leaders Urge Tech Firms to Me


Marla Aufmuth/Getty Images for Massachusetts Conference for Women(SAN FRANCISCO) --  Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao and other female tech leaders have shared some do's and don'ts for companies to improve inclusion and diversity in their industry, including specific recommendations.Project Include was launched Tuesday by the eight women, including engineers from Pinterest and Slack Technologies. The group shares seven recommendations, detailing how tech companies, big and small, can make improvements in training and resolving conflicts.When Pao was the CEO of Reddit, she eliminated salary negotiations, which she said can be detrimental to women. Last year, Pao lost her lawsuit against her former employer, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, with accusations of gender discrimination.Project Include's recommendations also touch on harassment. The group recommends making one of the first 25 hires within a company a human resources person and have a clear anti-harassment policy.Among the group's recommendations is to measure diversity and inclusion for the sake of accountability.Here are some other do's and don'ts that Project Include shares when it comes to these metrics:Don't inflate numbers:Some companies include non-engineers in their definitions of engineering teams, Project Include notes. Therefore, they are "artificially inflating their diversity numbers with groups that are usually more diverse," according to the group's website.Don't have bad surveys:"Poorly designed surveys can not only produce incorrect results but, even worse, be offensive or damaging," Project Include states. "Employee distrust of company-administered surveys, particularly around sensitive questions, can skew results due to misrepresentation or lack of response. Running surveys too often can create survey fatigue, lowering participation rates and similarly skewing the data."Do consider using existing metrics:"There’s a lot to recommend when it comes to using existing metrics definitions and surveys, particularly on third-party survey platforms that can aggregate results across organizations," Project Include states on the website. "Doing so automatically accommodates many of the best practices recommended below. It also means that data is immediately comparable across companies."Do share your results:Not all metrics need to have the same level of transparency, Project Include says. The group recommends companies with 50 or more employees to publish diversity reports at least yearly, and for "high-growth companies that are hiring rapidly," at least twice yearly. "Introducing Project Include" by @bethanye @EricaJoy @TheRealFreada @laura @sw @triketora @hutchamachutch and me https://t.co/VIBcbkbsTG— Ellen Pao (@ekp) May 3, 2016Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Takata Airbag Recall Will More Than Double in Size


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today will announce a major expansion of the Takata airbag recall, more than doubling the number already under recall, a source familiar with the planned expansion told ABC News.An additional 35 to 40 million driver- and passenger-side airbags are expected to be added to a list of 28.8 million airbags already under recall, the person said.The bags -- manufactured by Japan-based Takata Corp. and installed in many auto brands, including Honda, BMW, Ford, Toyota, GM, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Daimler -- are prone to rupture, spewing metal shrapnel from the bag into the cab. Dramatic new video shows a defective #Takata airbag inflator explode: pic.twitter.com/PR9tNCJglO— Erin Dooley (@erindooley) October 22, 2015 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed last month the 10th U.S. fatality from a ruptured Takata airbag: 17-year-old Human Hanif, who was found with a metal fragment lodged in her neck after her airbag exploded during a minor rear-ender. Hanif's airbag was under recall, Honda confirmed, but in a news conference, her brother asserted the family had never received a recall notice."Takata is deeply sorry for all fatalities and injuries that have occurred in any case where a Takata airbag inflator has failed to deploy as intended," the company said in a statement following the incident. "Takata continues to support all actions that advance vehicle safety and is in constant and close coordination with NHTSA to enhance consumer awareness."The Takata recall is the largest in U.S. history, and only 8 million of the 28.8 million recalled airbags have been repaired. To check if your car is under recall, go to safercar.gov. Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Crying Babies Mean Free Flights During JetBlue Flight


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  Parents flying with small children have two main fears: One, that their child will misbehave during the flight, and two, that the other passengers will hate them for it.Just in time for Mother's Day, JetBlue has released a video that may make those flying without kids a little more patient with those who are.On one special flight from JFK in New York City to Long Beach, California, the airline rewarded passengers with discounts of 25 percent on future flights each time a baby cried. Four cries = free flight.  So, instead of the nasty looks parents often get on board, the passengers smiled at the crying babies and their moms.It's a reminder to be kind to each other, and be patient with families in flight.As the video says: "Next time, smile at a baby ... for crying out loud."Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Facebook Rewards 10-Year-Old Boy With $10,000 After Finding Instagram Bug


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  This is one precocious programmer.Facebook rewarded a 10-year-old Finnish boy with $10,000 after he discovered a bug that allowed him to delete other people's Instagram comments.Reports from teenagers are not uncommon, however, the boy's age makes him the youngest person yet to receive a reward from Facebook's bug bounty program, according to the company.The schoolboy was identified by Finnish newspaper Iltalehti only by his first name, Jani. He shared his plans for spending the money, saying he'd like to treat himself to a soccer ball and a bicycle.Facebook, which owns Instagram, has paid more than $4.3 million to more than 800 researchers around the world since the program began five years ago. Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Company Expands Voluntary Recall to Include All Frozen Vegetable and Fruit Produ


iStock/Thinkstock(PASCO, Wash.) — CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington, has expanded a voluntary recall for some of its products, which included organic and non-organic fruits and vegetables because of the risk of Listeria, according to the company's statement.The voluntary recall is being made in cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.See the fuller list.CRF Frozen Foods expands recall. All CRF frozen vegetables & fruits have Listeria potential. Affects 358 products. https://t.co/rk199qN80z— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) May 3, 2016"CDC has informed CRF Frozen Foods that the government has identified seven people from three states who became ill and were hospitalized due to Listeria, " the company statement said. "Some of these illnesses have been linked to consuming CRF-manufactured or processed products."Products being recalled may have been purchased in all fifty U.S. states and the following Canadian Provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, the company said.Scientifically named Listeria monocytogenes, the bacteria was found during a routine testing of the food by Ohio health officials. It can cause serious and sometimes fatal harm to infants, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, according to the statement.The recall includes all of the frozen organic and traditional fruit and vegetable products manufactured or processed in CRF Frozen Foods' Pasco facility since May 1, 2014. The Pasco factory was the only one found with the bacteria risks.The FDA said consumers who purchased the products in question can return them to the store where they were purchased for a refund, or discard them.Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Puma Unveils Runner Racing Robot


CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — “Everyone runs faster when there's something to beat." That's the idea behind athletic company Puma's new Beat Bot -- a tiny, shoebox-sized rolling robot that's designed to do for runners what that little electric rabbit does for racing dogs.The 'bot has a simple job -- it makes runners chase it -- but it's packed with technology that not only enables it to perfectly follow a track's lines, but also lets an athlete use a smartphone to customize it.As a promotional video claims, you can race your own best time, your rivals' best time, or even Usain Bolt's record-shattering, gold medal-winning best. The Beat Bot can also be programmed to jog alongside you for long-distance runs, like a jogging buddy -- minus the chit-chat. Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Takata Airbag Recall More Than Doubling in Size, Source Says


KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Takata's airbag recall could more than double in size.A source familiar with the planned expansion confirms to ABC News that on Wednesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will announce an expansion of the Takata airbag recall, adding 35 to 40 million passengers and driver side inflators to the recall.The expanded recall for the Japanese automotive parts company would more than double the current recall of 28.8 million, which is already the largest auto recall in history.The source told ABC News the recall would not happen immediately, but would be phased in through 2019.News of the expanded recall comes as NHTSA will announce they are confirming a root cause for the airbag problem-- the combination of time, temperature, and humidity causing the ammonium nitrate propellant to explode with shrapnel.Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Google Chrome Named Top Internet Browser


Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Google Chrome has become the top browser in the world, beating out rival Internet Explorer, according to new data.Net Market Share, an analytics firm, said Google's browser had 41.71 percent of the market share in April compared to Microsoft Internet Explorer's 41.33 percent. In third place was Firefox at 10.06 percent, followed by Apple's Safari at 4.47 percent.Chrome was already crowned the winner back in 2012 according to another measure by the tracking group StatCounter. At the time, Firefox came in second and Internet Explorer was third.The reason for the different results is that the two companies measure web traffic differently. Net Market Share counts unique visitors, instead of page views, per day. Another huge difference is that Net Market Share analyzes more than 40,000 websites, according to a description of its methodology. StatCounter says that it tracks more than 3 million sites around the world.While the war of the browsers has been competitive over the years, it hasn't been cutthroat.Internet Explorer and Mozilla teams have sent cakes to one another to celebrate various achievements."We started this tradition when we sent them a cake for Firefox 2. It was probably the best damn cake I've eaten," Internet Explorer engineer Jacob Rossi said of one marble chocolate vanilla confection, according to a Reddit AMA forum in 2014.Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Stocks Tumble After Weak China Growth Data


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street lost its gains from the day before as oil prices tumbled and investors worried about China's slow growth.The Dow dropped 140.25 (0.78 percent) to close at 17,750.91.The Nasdaq fell 54.37 (1.13 percent) to finish at 4,763.22, while the S&P gave up 18.06 (0.87 percent) to close at 2,063.37.Crude oil tumbled over 2 percent with prices hitting about $43 a barrel.China: A private gauge of China's manufacturing industry fell in April, despite a government stimulus, reviving fears that the world's second-largest economy is not rebounding. According to Caixin Media Co., factory activity levels in China fell to 49.4 for the month from 49.7 in March. Anything above 50 would indicate growth and anything below the 50 level means contraction. According to the China National Bureau of Statistics, China's official purchasing manager’s index (PMI) reading released Sunday said the PMI in April fell to 50.1 compared to 50.2 in March.Google: Google and Fiat Chrysler have signed a deal to make 100 self-driving minivans. According to a statement, Google hopes the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans will be on the road by the end of the year."This collaboration with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is the first time we’ve worked directly with an automaker to create our vehicles," Google said. "FCA will design the minivans so it’s easy for us to install our self-driving systems, including the computers that hold our self-driving software, and the sensors that enable our software to see what’s on the road around the vehicle."The statement said the self-driving car could "take you from A to B with the touch of a button."Martin Shkreli: "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli could face additional fraud charges, prosecutors said Tuesday in a New York court. Shkreli first came under fire as "The Most Hated Man in America" when he significantly raised the price of a drug called Daraprim. The drug treats a parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis, which most often occurs in those with compromised immune systems due to cancer treatments or HIV infection. The former pharmaceutical CEO was arrested in December on multiple charges of securities and wire fraud related to a different company he founded.Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Powerball Jackpot Swells to $348 Million for Wednesday's Drawing


Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Some lotto players are scrambling to get tickets ahead of Wednesday's Powerball drawing now that the jackpot has swelled to an estimated $348 million.It's the biggest Powerball jackpot since the record $1.586 billion jackpot in January was split three ways. Never mind that the chances of winning the grand prize are 1 in 292,201,338, according to the New York Lottery.If there's no winner for Wednesday's pot, the prize will grow for the next drawing this Saturday. Powerball drawings take place on Wednesday and Saturday nights at 10:59 p.m. ET.The last winning numbers on April 30 were: 3, 12, 16, 32, 34 plus the Powerball of 14. The cash value of Wednesday's prize is $226.1 million.The jackpot has grown over the last 17 drawings since the last Powerball winner claimed the prize on March 2.January's winners included a couple in Florida and a couple in Tennessee. There was a winner in California, but that ticket holder has not yet been identified. Each winning ticket was allotted roughly $528 million.If you buy a ticket, there are a few things you should remember to do, including making sure you keep it in a safe place and sign the back.Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli May Face Additional Fraud Charges


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Former pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli may face additional fraud charges, prosecutors said Tuesday in a New York court.Shkreli initially came under fire for significantly raising the price of a drug called Daraprim that treats a parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis, which most often occurs in those with compromised immune systems due to cancer treatments or HIV infection. He was arrested last December on multiple charges of securities and wire fraud related to a different company he founded.Shkreli appeared in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn Tuesday alongside his attorneys. He sat in the court with his arms folded as prosecutors said they would decide within a month whether or not to issue a superseding indictment, which would lead to additional charges.Shkreli will be back in court on June 6.Shkreli's lawyer, Ben Brafman, told reporters he thought the hearing was a "good day" for his client."We do not believe this indictment will...affect Martin Shkreli in a negative fashion and we still believe the charges in this case are very defensible," said Brafman. "We plead not guilty and we intend to proceed to trial."The former CEO of Turning Pharmaceuticals took to Twitter in recent weeks to thank supporters and proclaim his innocence.Robert Capers, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, told reporters in December that Shkreli allegedly defrauded investors in two hedge funds, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare, and also plundered Retrophin, the biopharmaceutical company he ran as its CEO, in an effort to pay back debts related to the now-defunct hedge funds.Prosecutors allege that Shkreli lost all of the investments in MSMB Capital but continued to provide inflated and false performance updates to its investors.Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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