**Read our new analysis on oil company profits’ ties to gas prices at the pump**

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. It’s not a new phenomenon, but the dramatic growth in the influence peddling industry isn’t a sustainable trend. A free society can’t work unless there is some check on concentration of power, and now, more than ever, there needs to be a lot 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 so that people have the facts when important decisions are made and the interests of American taxpayers are at stake.

Our current investigations include:

  • The oil and gas land-leasing processes that are often tied to industry interests instead of protecting taxpayer interests and public property.
  • Natural gas drilling practices that are risking permanent contamination of our nation’s water supplies.
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