Public Citizen

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Founded 1971 by Ralph Nader in the US
Type Think tank
Focus Consumer advocacy
Location
Area served
Nationwide (US)
Method Research, lobbying, litigation and appeals, media attention, direct-appeal campaigns
Key people
Robert Weissman, President
Mark A. Chavez, (Foundation Chair)
Jason Adkins, Inc. Chair
Joan Claybrook, emeritus President
Revenue
$15.468 million (2014) [1]
Website http://www.citizen.org

Public Citizen is a non-profit, consumer rights advocacy group and think tank based in Washington, D.C., United States, with a branch in Austin, Texas.

Lobbying efforts[edit]

Public Citizen advocates before all three branches of the United States federal government.[2] Its five divisions include: Congress Watch; Energy; Global Trade Watch; the Health Research Group; and Public Citizen Litigation Group, a nationally prominent public interest law firm founded by Alan Morrison and known for its Supreme Court and appellate practice.[3]

Broadly speaking, Public Citizen favors robust corporate accountability and strong government regulation, particularly in the areas of transport, healthcare, and nuclear power. The organization's priorities range from campaign finance reform to drug and auto safety and financial reform. The unifying theme is an effort to curb the impact of corporate power on American democracy.[2]

Public Citizen's pro-regulatory stance has been criticized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.[4]

Organization and history[edit]

Public Citizen's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Founded by Ralph Nader in 1971,[5] Public Citizen is funded by dues and contributions from its members and supporters, foundation grants, and publication sales and does not accept government or corporate funds.[6]

Public Citizen's slogan is “Corporations have their lobbyists in Washington, D.C. The People need advocates too.” As explained on its website, its overarching goal is “to ensure that all citizens are represented in the halls of power.” It is a nonprofit organization unaffiliated with any partisan political activity, and it does not endorse anybody running for public office. It survives on donations from its 80,000 supporters and on other income, and it does not accept donations from governments or corporations.

Disassociation from Ralph Nader[edit]

In the aftermath of Ralph Nader's role in the 2000 presidential election, Public Citizen disassociated itself from its founder. Progressive magazine Mother Jones wrote about the so-called "rank-and-file liberals" who saw Nader negatively after the election and pointed that despite being the organization Nader founded in 1971, Public Citizen had a new fundraising problem in its own founder, citing a drop in contributions. Mother Jones also cited a Public Citizen's letter sent out to people interested in Nader's relation with the organization at that time, with the disclaimer: "Although Ralph Nader was our founder, he has not held an official position in the organization since 1980 and does not serve on the board. Public Citizen—and the other groups that Mr. Nader founded—act independently."[7]

People associated with Public Citizen[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Public Citizen Annual Report" (PDF). Public Citizen. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b About Public Citizen
  3. ^ Courting Change: The Story of the Public Citizen Litigation Group
  4. ^ Kendall, Brent (2009-04-29). "US Consumer Groups: Public Opposes Forced Arbitration By Cos". Dow Jones Newswires. Retrieved 2009-06-04. [dead link]
  5. ^ Staff report (June 2, 1971). Nader Forums Unite To Seek Donations. New York Times
  6. ^ "Public Citizen's Annual Report and 990s". Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  7. ^ "Nader Unrepentant". Mother Jones. 2013-07-27. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 

External links[edit]