Press Releases

Franklin Center president Erik Telford comments on the King v. Burwell Supreme Court decision

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Date: June 25, 2015
Contact: Breyana Franklin
breyana.franklin@franklincenterhq.org
571-385-2926

Alexandria, VA — Earlier today, in 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that it is legal for the Obama administration to award insurance subsidies in states with federally-run exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. The court’s decision in King v. Burwell not only paves the way for the president to borrow and spend $849 billion in taxpayer money over the next decade to subsidize the insurance exchanges, but it also sets a dangerous precedent by allowing the Supreme Court to essentially rewrite the law under the pretense of interpreting it. As Justice Antonin Scalia noted this in his dissent, “Words no longer have meaning” if by exchange established by the State, the Affordable Care Act actually means exchanges established by the State or a Federal Government. “We should start calling this law SCOTUScare,” Justice Scalia decries.

Obamacare does nothing to alleviate rising medical care costs or the high cost of health insurance, and it still leaves tens of millions of Americans uninsured while penalizing them for it. Millions of Americans, including more than 50 Franklin Center employees, have lost their employer provided health plans because of Obamacare, causing tremendous anxiety and unrest. Obamacare is and always was just a major handout to insurance companies. It is a very flawed piece of legislation that Congress should continue to fight to repeal, even in the wake of today’s unfortunate decision by the court in King v. Burwell.

Franklin Center president Erik Telford comments on Innovation Act

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Date: June 11, 2015
Contact: Breyana Franklin
breyana.franklin@franklincenterhq.org
571-385-2926

Alexandria, VA — The Innovation Act represents everything that’s wrong in American politics today. It’s discouraging and disappointing to see members of Congress capitulating to President Obama’s efforts to advance the interests of his Silicon Valley cronies, like Google and his other campaign donors, to push legislation that will severely undermine American innovation.  That is why voices across the ideological spectrum have spoken out against the attempts to rush passage of this so-called reform.   The solutions being proposed are like demolishing your house because your dishwasher is broken. To be sure, there are necessary reforms which can and should be made to target nefarious actors in the patent space. The Innovation Act, however, like the Senate’s PATENT Act, would irreparably weaken America’s patent system, discourage innovation, and wipe out entrepreneurs. We must protect property rights through policies that advance the interests of all American inventors, driving economic growth for our own country, not those of rivals like China.

###

The Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity is a leader in non-profit journalism. It was founded in 2009 to address falling standards in the media as well as a steep falloff in reporting on state government and provides professional training and assistance with a mission of exposing waste, fraud, and abuse in government.

 

Franklin Center president Erik Telford comments on patent legislation

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Date: April 29, 2015
Contact: Breyana Franklin
breyana.franklin@franklincenterhq.org
571-385-2926

Alexandria, VA — The Senate patent legislation introduced today is nothing more than another crony kickback for Google, Obama’s second largest political donor, advancing the interests of China and rival economies at the expense American innovation. Google has lobbied the Obama Administration and Congress hard for legislation that weakens our patent system and pulls the rug out from under inventors, small business and innovation.  China would like nothing more than to see legislation pass that weakens U.S. patent protection and property rights so even more of American invented products can be ripped off.  Both the House and Senate legislation looks more like it was written at Google headquarters or in Beijing and will deliver a devastating blow to innovation and property rights.

###

The Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity is a leader in non-profit journalism. It was founded in 2009 to address falling standards in the media as well as a steep falloff in reporting on state government and provides professional training and assistance with a mission of exposing waste, fraud, and abuse in government.

Franklin Center Names Erik Telford President

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

“The Franklin Center has enjoyed much success in recent years, but with Erik now taking charge of a great team, we are convinced that its best and most influential days lie ahead.”

ALEXANDRIA, VA. – The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, publisher of Watchdog.org, has named Erik Telford as president, following a vote of the board of directors. Telford joined the organization in 2011, having previously served as Senior Vice President. Erik is a leading digital strategist, and has been recognized as a “Rising Star in American Politics” by Campaigns & Elections, as well as one of the “Top 10 People Who Are Changing the World of Internet and Politics” by Politics Online. A native of Connecticut, he holds a B.A. in Political Science and American Studies and an M.A. in Political Management, both from The George Washington University.

The Franklin Center was founded in 2009 to address falling standards in the media as well as a steep falloff in reporting on state and local government. In addition to operating the Watchdog.org network of state-based investigative and political reporters, the organization provides professional training; research, editorial, multimedia and technical support; and assistance with marketing and promoting the work of allied reporters and affiliate news operations.

“We are proud to announce that Erik Telford is the new president of the Franklin Center,” said Franklin Center Chairman of the Board John Miller. “Under his leadership, the Franklin Center and its Watchdog.org websites will strive to keep citizens informed about their state and local governments at a time when the mainstream media continues to abandon its coverage. The Franklin Center has enjoyed much success in recent years, but with Erik now taking charge of a great team, we are convinced that its best and most influential days lie ahead.”

Jack Fowler, Publisher of National Review and Franklin Center board member, said, “Erik is one of the top exceptional young talents in the pro-freedom movement. He is skilled, honest, wise, diplomatic, has a vision, has a winning personality — all of which, when combined, make for a great leader. And that is what Franklin and Watchdog now have at its helm.  The board is excited to have this unique individual fulfill and expand Franklin’s important mission.”

Prior to joining the Franklin Center, Telford served as Director of Membership & Online Strategy at Americans for Prosperity, and is the founder of AFP Foundation’s RightOnline Conference, an event which brings together industry leaders in the fields of new media, information technology and advocacy communications.

“The Franklin Center’s mission to deliver political and investigative journalism in state capitals across the country has never been more important. I am honored and humbled that the board has given me the opportunity to lead this tremendous organization. I look forward to working with the board, the Franklin Center staff, and our Watchdog.org journalists to ensure that policymakers are held accountable to the voters, taxpayers, and citizens that they serve,” said Franklin Center President Telford.

###

 

The Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity is a leader in non-profit journalism. It was founded in 2009 to address falling standards in the media as well as a steep falloff in reporting on state government and provides professional training and assistance with a mission of exposing waste, fraud, and abuse in government.

http://franklincenterhq.org/about/mission

Watchdog.org’s Virginia bureau takes home 7 statewide awards

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Date: April 20, 2015
Contact: Breyana Franklin
breyana.franklin@franklincenterhq.org
571-385-2926

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Watchdog.org’s Virginia bureau built upon last year’s successes to take home four first-place awards and three second-place awards in the Virginia Press Association’s 2014 News/Editorial and Advertising Contest.

Investigative reporter Kathryn Watson earned four first-place awards in the categories of in-depth or investigative reporting; education writing; health, science and environmental writing; and public safety writing. She also took home a second-place award for government writing.

Virginia bureau chief and national correspondent Kenric Ward earned two second-place awards in the categories of health, science and environmental writing; and in-depth or investigative reporting.

“It’s an honor to receive this recognition, but it’s even more of an honor to get to tell stories that matter,” said Watson. “Whether it’s the Navy veteran dad who can work again because of a story I wrote, or watching Congress end federal funding for automatic license plate readers after many stories like mine were published, it’s a privilege to tell meaningful stories that make a difference in people’s lives.”

Watson’s winter 2014 investigative series revealed serious flaws in accountability and auditing capabilities for welfare dollars in Virginia, and her stories on local police use of automatic license plate readers gained attention from coast to coast.

Ward’s reporting on a new gas pipeline coming to Virginia raised important questions about eminent domain and property rights, and his stories on duplicate voters in Virginia spurred other stories and editorials across the commonwealth.

“Watchdog’s in-depth and investigative reporting is flipping the narrative in Virginia. ‘News’ isn’t about propping up the political and bureaucratic status-quo, it’s about exposing the waste of tax dollars and the abuse of taxpayers,” said bureau chief Kenric Ward. “We’re pleased that the judges honored this distinction in bestowing these awards.”

 ###

Erik Telford responds to the FCC’s Net Neutrality ruling

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

February 26, 2015
Contact: Breyana Franklin
breyana.franklin@franklincenterhq.org
571-385-2926

Alexandria, VA — I’m disappointed to hear about the FCC’s decision today to achieve so-called net neutrality by regulating the Internet as a Title II public utility. The FCC’s party line vote mirrors President Obama’s proposal, reflecting blatant partisanship and making eleventh hour revisions to gratify the wishes of special interest groups such as Google and Free Press. This type of policymaking fails to provide a comprehensive road map for the online space that aims for the best interests of both businesses and consumers. Rather than follow the spirit of the federal court ruling that made this decision necessary in the first place, it uses a back door through a Great Depression-era law to subvert the court’s ruling and bring the Internet under an unprecedented level of government control.

Under the guise of openness and fairness, this decision to subject the Internet to stifling new regulations and government scrutiny will result in greater costs for broadband consumers, harm investment, and hamper technological innovation. I hope the FCC will choose to release its entire plan to the public immediately. And I call on those who support a truly free Internet to continue advocating for the principles of liberty to be applied in the online space in order to ensure a better future for us all.

###

Franklin Center statement on terrorist attack in Paris

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

January 7, 2015
Contact: Michael Moroney
michael.moroney@franklincenterhq.org
571-385-0774

Alexandria, VA — In response to the senseless murder of 12 people in the offices of Charlie Hebdo, Jason Stverak president of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity released the following statement:

“This morning the world awoke to the horrific news that Islamic extremists stormed the offices of the French publication Charlie Hebdo in Paris, murdering at least 12 people. This heinous act was an assault on the freedom of the press – an attack on free people and the values western civilization cherish deeply.

This senseless, inhumane act will not prevent journalists who understand the significance of a free press to a free society. The journalists at Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity stand with our colleagues in Paris and the people of France. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”

The Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity is a leader in non-profit journalism. It was founded in 2009 to address falling standards in the media as well as a steep falloff in reporting on state government and provides professional training and assistance with a mission of exposing waste, fraud, and abuse in government.

###

Jason Stverak speaks out against Sen. Marsh’s attempt to define journalists

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

December 9, 2014
Contact: Michael Moroney
michael.moroney@franklincenterhq.org
571-385-0774

Alexandria, Virginia — Alabama State Senator Adelbert Marsh has come out in support of defining which journalists and news organizations should be credentialed to cover the state legislature. In response to his editorial posted in the Montgomery Adviser, Jason Stverak president of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, has released the following statement:

“As the president of a national news organization – and an advocate of a free press – I strongly oppose Alabama State Senator Adelbert Marsh’s scheme to determine which news outlets and reporters should be credentialed to cover the legislature from the press rooms.

It’s ironic that Sen. Marsh would seek to address the very real problem of misinformation by suppressing new-media press organizations.

There’s also irony in the fact that the senator’s initiative comes at a time when news outlets around the country are allocating fewer resources to critical statehouse coverage. Journalists from nontraditional news outlets – like those supported by the Franklin Center – who wish to keep the public informed should be granted the unimpeded access already granted their counterparts in legacy media organizations.

Defining who is and isn’t a “journalist” leads to the creation of arbitrary barriers and limits press freedom. It also raises serious constitutional, political and ethical questions: Who gets to create that definition? What narrow political forces help shape their decision-making?

I hope Sen. Marsh will reconsider his plan and work toward a more powerful, more truly American goal: lower the barriers to all journalists so that we may hold government accountable. We need more people covering our state legislatures – not reporters licensed by the people they cover.”

The Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity is a leader in non-profit journalism. It was founded in 2009 to address falling standards in the media as well as a steep falloff in reporting on state government and provides professional training and assistance with a mission of exposing waste, fraud, and abuse in government.

### 

Remembering Ben Bradlee

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

By Jason Stverak

Credit: The Washington Post

Credit: The Washington Post

It’s impossible to look back to the golden age of newspaper journalism without thinking of Ben Bradlee – the tenacious editor of the Washington Post who guided the paper through Watergate and made it one of the nation’s premier news sources. His instinct for quality news and ethics were unmatched. But more important than that, he had the unbridled enthusiasm and wit that makes this industry a joy to work in. He understood that for reporters to tell good stories they had to have some fun. Journalists everywhere – regardless of the publication they write for – are deeply indebted to his legacy and mourn his passing.

 

The Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity is a leader in non-profit journalism. It was founded in 2009 to address falling standards in the media as well as a steep falloff in reporting on state government and provides professional training and assistance with a mission of exposing waste, fraud, and abuse in government.
### 

Watchdog.org’s Texas Bureau in Print

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

October 8, 2014
Contact: Michael Moroney
Michael.Moroney@franklincenterhq.org
571-385-0774

Houston, Texas — This week,  Watchdog.org’s Texas Bureau is excited to announce a new initiative to distribute some of our best investigative content in print straight to Texans’ doorsteps. Over the past year, Watchdog.org reporter Jon Cassidy has worked feverishly to uncover a Texas-sized scandal between lawmakers and officials at the state’s flagship university. With the launch of Watchdog.org’s print initiative, we’ll deliver readers highlights from Cassidy’s investigative series, Trouble in Texas, exposing government abuse in the Lone Star State.

Even in the digital age, there’s still a desire and need for investigative, honest print journalism—we believe stepping into this medium will help us keep thousands more informed about what their government officials are up to.

Click here to get a copy of the Watchdog Newspaper delivered to your home!

Early this month, Watchdog announced it’s new Watchdog Radio, an ambitious new project that will bring our top-notch statehouse journalism to listeners all over the country, and Watchdog Opinion, a new online hub for top newsmakers, analysts, economists, and policy makers to join the debate and make their voice heard.

The Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity is a leader in non-profit journalism. It was founded in 2009 to address falling standards in the media as well as a steep falloff in reporting on state government and provides professional training and assistance with a mission of exposing waste, fraud, and abuse in government.

###