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

Karilyn Gower, Press Officer
w. (202) 588-7779

David Rosen, Press Officer, Regulatory Affairs
w. (202) 588-7742

Symone Sanders, Communications Officer, Global Trade Watch division
w. (202) 454-5108

Other Important Links

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

Follow us on Twitter


Jan. 16, 2013

What Obama Can Do to Make Up for His Poor Decision to Take Corporate Money for the Inauguration

Statement by Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Obama’s decision to reverse policy from his first inaugural and permit corporations to fund this year’s festivities is deeply disappointing.

Corporations do not fund events like the inauguration out of a sense of civic pride. They make donations because they expect something in return. It's not a matter of quid pro quo bribery, but they do expect their calls to be returned a little faster, their proposals to be reviewed a little more kindly. It’s the kind of deep, everyday corruption of our politics that, rightfully, infuriates Americans.

The presidential inauguration is the symbolic pinnacle of American democracy. We should celebrate with pageantry, parades and parties. But for this quintessentially public and democratic event, we should celebrate corporate-free.

As he looks out over the hundreds of thousands of real people – not corporations masquerading as artificial people – who will gather on the National Mall to hear his inaugural address, we can only hope that President Obama makes amends for his poor decision about inaugural funding by calling for far-reaching campaign spending reform: full disclosure of campaign donors, public financing for public elections and a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and related decisions. He can join the call to get Money Out, Voters In, coupling the urgent demand for campaign spending reform with the equally compelling need to end voter suppression efforts and guarantee voting rights for all.

Note: To view a video of Robert Weissman speaking about corporate funding of the inauguration, visit http://pubc.it/V5m6xP.

Copyright © 2015 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.