GOVERNMENT REFORM

» Government Ethics and Lobbying Reform

» Money in Politics

» Open Government

» Stealth PACs

» Public Protections

Sign Up

To receive regular updates on our campaigns for government accountability. 

Recent Reports

June 24, 2014 - A Rising Tide
Jan. 14, 2014 - Part 2: Beware of a Naive Perspective
Jan. 7, 2014 - Part 1: Beware of a Naive Perspective
June 12, 2013 - The Perils of OIRA Regulatory Review
More - See More Government Reform Reports

Super Connected

Super PACs’ Devotion to Individual Candidates Undercuts Assumption in Citizens United That Outside Spending Would Be “Independent”

October 24, 2012 — The Supreme Court’s chief rationale in its decision to permit unlimited corporate spending to influence elections in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was its judgment that third-party expenditures do not threaten to cause corruption because they are independent. But many of the “Super PACs,” which have arisen in the wake of Citizens United and are allowed to accept unlimited contributions, cannot plausibly be deemed independent. Public Citizen’s analysis shows that 60 percent of Super PACs active in this election cycle (through Oct. 16) are devoted to supporting or defeating a single candidate, and many of these single-candidate Super PACs are founded, funded and/or managed by friends and political allies of the candidate they support.

The close relationships between these Super PACs and the candidates they seek to assist indicates that contributions to single-candidate Super PACs are virtually the same as contributions to candidates themselves.The Super PACs' activities are making a mockery of campaign finance laws that limit the size of contributions directly to candidates.

Copyright © 2014 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.


Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation

 

Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.

 

To become a member of Public Citizen, click here.
To become a member and make an additional tax-deductible donation to Public Citizen Foundation, click here.