Learn more about our policy experts.

Media Contacts

Angela Bradbery, Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7741
c. (202) 503-6768
abradbery@citizen.org, Twitter

Barbara Holzer, Broadcast Manager
w. (202) 588-7716
bholzer@citizen.org

Karilyn Gower, Press Officer
w. (202) 588-7779
kgower@citizen.org

Ben Somberg, Press Officer (regulatory matters)
w. (202) 588-7742
bsomberg@citizen.org, Twitter

Other Important Links

Press Release Database
Citizen Vox blog
Texas Vox blog
Consumer Law and Policy blog
Energy Vox blog
Eyes on Trade blog
Facebook/publiccitizen

Follow us on Twitter

 

Feb. 3, 2010

Public Citizen to Congress: Strong Responses Needed to Offset the Corporate Onslaught Expected from the Citizens United Decision

Public Citizen Submits Testimony to Congressional Committees

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A strong shareholder protection act, robust public financing of elections and a constitutional amendment are three powerful and necessary steps to counter the recent Supreme Court decision unleashing unlimited corporate spending in local, state and federal elections, Public Citizen told congressional lawmakers today.

In testimony submitted to three congressional committees, Public Citizen applauded them for recognizing the danger and conducting hearings on how best to respond to the expected corporate flood of money in the 2010 congressional elections and beyond.

The Senate Rules Committee, House Administration Committee and House Judiciary Committee have conducted hearings this week examining the ramifications and potential responses to the court ruling, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

“Corporations are not people, they do not vote, and they should not be able to influence election outcomes,” Public Citizen President Robert Weissman said. “It is time to end the debate about the freedom of speech of for-profit corporations by amending the Constitution to make clear that First Amendment rights belong to natural persons and the press, and do not apply to for-profit corporations.”

Several members of Congress have expressed support for a constitutional amendment as a decisive response to the court, including Reps. Donna Edwards (D-Md.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), and Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Arlen Specter (D-Pa.).

“Swift and decisive legislative responses to unlimited corporate spending in elections must include public financing of elections, such as the Fair Elections Now Act, to provide candidates with the resources to answer corporate attack ads,” said David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.

Another important way to rein in corporate political spending is a strong shareholder protection act. Legislation introduced by Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) would require that corporate political expenditures be approved by all shareholders and disclosed to the public.

“Corporate executives should not be able to take other people’s money - corporate funds from investors and shareholders, including funds that citizens invest into retirement accounts - and spend it to further their own political agenda without shareholders’ consent or even knowledge,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen.

On the day the Citizens United decision was announced, Public Citizen launched a petition drive for a constitutional amendment. More than 27,000 people have signed. For more information about the amendment and the petition drive, visit www.DontGetRolled.org.

READ Public Citizen’s testimony.

 ###

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.