Transparency and Human Rights Archives

August 8, 2005

Farewell, PUHCA

lightbulb.gifWhen George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 today, what may be the most important part of the bill received scant attention. Neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post mentioned it; in fact, it's noted by very few of the Google News sources talking about the Energy Policy Act. Yet it's this section of the Act, far more than subsidies for oil exploration or a few bones tossed to renewables, will likely have by far the greatest impact on the daily lives of Americans for years to come.

Today, PUHCA was repealed.

PUHCA -- the Public Utilities Holding Company Act -- was a part of the New Deal legislation, passed in 1935 in response to corruption and scandals in the energy companies of the time. PUHCA was meant to protect consumers against business dealings that could threaten the reliability of the energy utilities. As of today, some 70 years after PUHCA was passed, those protections are gone.

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October 20, 2005

Corruption Perception Index, 2005

cpi2005.jpgTransparency International released its annual Corruption Perception Index today (we also covered the 2004 Index). Iceland just edged out last year's least-corrupt nation, Finland, with a transparency score of 9.7 out of 10; Finland and New Zealand tied at #2, with Denmark and Singapore rounding out the top five. The UK remained at #11, Canada dropped from #12 in 2004 to #14, and the US remained at #17, just ahead of France and just behind Germany. As was found last year, the majority of nations remained hampered by serious corruption, with more than two-thirds of the countries scoring less than 5 on the 10 point scale:

“Corruption is a major cause of poverty as well as a barrier to overcoming it,” said Transparency International Chairman Peter Eigen. “The two scourges feed off each other, locking their populations in a cycle of misery. Corruption must be vigorously addressed if aid is to make a real difference in freeing people from poverty.”

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