Highlights from the year in PAI & LittleSis

It’s been a busy year for LittleSis.org and the Public Accountability Initiative (PAI, the non-profit behind LittleSis). Below are some highlights from our first full year in business, ranging from the development of new expert editing tools to the release of high-impact investigative research reports.

But first, a note about a strategic shift for PAI and LittleSis.org in 2010. PAI developed LittleSis in order to arm journalists, activists, and watchdog researchers with a new tool for monitoring and researching power centers. This year, we began using LittleSis to engage in more of this research ourselves, programmatically and in partnership with organizations seeking to hold large and powerful institutions accountable. This research has garnered major headlines, has had real and lasting public policy impact, and has further demonstrated LittleSis.org’s usefulness as a tool for power analysis and investigative research. Expect to see this research program expand in 2011 and integrate further with LittleSis and user groups such as this one.

Without further ado, some highlights from the year in LittleSis (& PAI):

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Celebrating Ten Years of Derivatives Deregulation

Today marks the tenth anniversary of President Clinton’s signing of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA). At passage, the bill was said to establish “legal certainty” for derivatives. In other words, the bill assured bankers that they wouldn’t face any legal consequences in the United States when they manipulated, defrauded, and colluded their way to billions in profits using financial derivatives that no one understood.

The CFMA led to serious consequences for the rest of us, including the exacerbation of the housing bubble and the subsequent bank bailouts and foreclosure crisis; the California electricity crisis; periodic food and energy price spikes that have hit consumer pocketbooks hard; and, of course, the continued reign of an unaccountable shadow banking sector over the economy.

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